December 6, 2008

UCLA finishes season with loss

The Bruins closed out their season like they have all year and that was with solid effort and heart. Alas effort doesn't always equate into wins, but is an ideal building block for the future. USC won the city crown once again 28-7. The score was closer than the experts thought.

The story was the same the defense fought and tried to keep the game close by bending, but not breaking, however USC had too much fire power on both sides of the ball for the outcome of the game to end with anything other than a USC victory.

UCLA drew first blood in the first quarter when senior punter hit one 56 yards putting USC deep its own territory.

On first and 10 from the USC 14, Bruin sophomore defensive tackle Brian Price stripped USC sophomore C.J. Gable of the ball and Bruin junior defensive end Korey Bosworth pounced on the loose pigskin on the USC 20 yard line giving the Bruins a huge lift of momentum.

It appeared that the Bruins weren't going to be able to move the football. Kahlil Bell was held to a minus yard on two running plays.

Then the Bruins pulled out some razzle dazzle that they have been holding onto for the whole season. It was fake reverse pass with sophomore wide receiver Dominique Johnson throwing the ball and senior running back Kahlil Bell made an outstanding play and catch for the score.

In what is perhaps the most telling of what kind of season the Bruins had offensively, Johnson's 21 yard hookup to Bell was UCLA's longest touchdown of the season.

"We had the play for the entire year," UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel said. "The play is called Tennessee because it was designed for the Tennessee game, but we didn't have the opportunity to use it in that game. We used it today, and it worked and got us off to a good start."

The Bruins didn't do much after that play offensively as they had a total of seven first downs for the whole game, two of which, were because of USC penalties.

UCLA only had 157 yards for the entire game as their offense was totally dominated by a USC defense that some feel is the best in college football. USC's offense had 80 plays opposed to 50 for the Bruins. You don't need to be a mathematician to figure out who the winner of this game was.

The Bruins could only muster up seven first downs the whole game, two were on penalties on USC.

"Defense was key today," USC coach Pete Carroll said. "We played great and we only gave up one play, and it was a great play designed by them (UCLA)."

Now Rick Neuheisel's first year as head coach of the school, he played for and was an assistant coach at that started his coaching career. He was knew what the Bruins have to do to be a better football team next year.

"Offensively we have a ways to go," Neuheisel said. "We played with too many guys who hadn't played enough on the offensive line.

"Some of the guys we ended up choosing were not developed enough at this level. In being so limited, without being able to run the ball effectively, it became a very difficult game to play. It resulted in too many turnovers."

"The marching orders are easy," Neuheisel said. "We've got to become a better offense."

The Bruins will have until September of 2009 to figure out how.

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