UCLA football might’ve saved their season this week.
After a despondent 47-30 drubbing in Tucson, Arizona last week the UCLA Bruins had to regroup and host the Oregon Ducks at home this weekend. At 3-3 the Bruins were at a crossroads for their season, another loss and the season was all but lost putting the Jim Mora era on thin ice.
The Bruins responded by playing probably their most complete game of the season to pull out a strong 31-14 win. The Bruins were able to do it by turning a 14-14 game at halftime into a rout by scoring 17 unanswered straight points.
The Bruins were still outmatched on the defensive side stopping the Ducks run game, the Bruins gave up 246 yards on the ground but the Bruins managed to limit the Duck QB Braxton Burmeister to 74 yards in the air.
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The Bruins defense helped out early by recovering a fumble just their second takeaway in Pac-12 play this season, the offense pounced early first on a rushing touchdown after the fumble recovery and then on a touchdown pass by Josh Rosen.
Oregon was able to tie the game on long touchdown drives in the second quarter, the last one with 30 seconds left seemingly giving them momentum going into the second half.
The Bruins clamped down on defense and kept Oregon off the board thanks to two sacks and interception and multiple tackles for a loss in the second half. Rosen and the offense took care of the rest of the game.
Rosen engineered a few long drives and added a second touchdown pass to go along with his 266 passing yards, and Bolu Olorunfunmi punctuated his game high 76 rushing yards with the play of the game. With the Bruins 17-14 Olorunfunmi ran 22 yards for the touchdown getting into the end zone by vaulting over the Oregon defense like an Olympian high jumper.
Another bright spot for the Bruins offense was the play of walk on Christian Pabico had four receptions for 99 yards and a touchdown. Soso Jamabo also contributed with 67 rushing yards and scored the Bruins first touchdown.
Despite not scoring in the game Ducks running back Royce Freeman ran for a team high 160 yards. It was significant because it allowed Freeman to shoot to the top of the all-time leader board in rushing yards in school history and moved him up to third in Pac-12 history.
With the win the Bruins showed they aren’t quite dead yet, but they’ll have to continue to show resolve as they start their next five games by going on the road to face the highly ranked Washington Huskies.
If the Bruins want to save Jim Mora’s job then they’ll have to execute like they did against the Ducks; it remains to be seen if they will do it.