The UCLA program appeared to be heading in the wrong direction under third year head coach Rick Neuheisel. The Bruins lost 31-22 in the opener at Kansas State, allowing Daniel Thomas to run for 234 yards and two touchdowns while Kevin Prince went 9 of 26 for 120 yards and two picks. Then there was the 35-0 disaster in the home opener against Stanford. UCLA was so bad they practically were inventing ways to lose the game. After that pathetic showing, I had completely given up on the season and was completely down on the coaching staff.
Two weeks later, it’s redemption time.
The Bruins beat Houston for their first win last weekend, knocking both Houston quarterbacks out of the game. This week, they entered Saturday’s game in Austin as 15-point underdogs to the 7th ranked Texas Longhorns. UCLA (particularly the defense) played like it had nothing to lose in a 34-12 upset win.
UCLA caused four turnovers and took advantage of them for 10 points. The big play was a muffed punt by Texas inside its five that set up an easy Bruins touchdown, giving UCLA a 7-3 lead. The Bruins went into halftime up 13-3 but it should have been much more. Not only did the defense stop a sleepwalking Texas team, but the running game pounded the Horns into oblivion.
The Bruins ran for 263 yards and three touchdowns. The pistol offense showed what it’s capable of despite having zero passing threat (Kevin Prince was just 5-for-8 for 27 yards). Jonathan Franklin ran for 116 on 19 carries, Derrick Coleman added 94 yards on 16 carries, and even Kevin Prince ran for 48 yards. Texas and its vaunted run defense was somehow left helpless against UCLA.
Improbably, UCLA has now outscored Texas 100-15 in two games in Austin. The offense still needs a lot of work, the defense looks good, the Bruins are 2-2, and Rick Neuheisel has himself a signature win. Hopefully the Bruins will build upon this huge victory.Google+