The UCLA Bruins kicked off their season with an upset loss to the Colorado Buffaloes, 42-48. Despite the loss, there were some major takeaways. Here are some things we learned from the game that could help, and harm the Bruins the remainder of the season.
Takeaways From UCLA Loss To Colorado
Run DTR Run
UCLA’s offense struggled to move the ball in the first half. The passing game was inconsistent throughout. A 65-yard run by Dorian Thompson-Robinson would give the Bruins some momentum to start the 3rd quarter.
The junior QB averaged 12.1 yards every time he left the pocket. He would lead the team with 109 rushing yards by the end of the game. In order for the offense to be a real threat moving forward, DTR has to run the ball more.
The Bruins gave up a big lead early. Momentum would swing their way in the 2nd half as they scored 21 consecutive points. If not for two crucial fourth-down stops then the Bruins could’ve ended the night with a comeback.
A running back/tight end heavy offense was left without two of their biggest contributors from the year prior (Joshua Kelley/ Devin Asiasi). Running back Demetric Felton and tight end Greg Dulcich stepped up big even in a loss, finishing with a combined 229 total yards and 3 touchdowns. Don’t be surprised if DTR leans on these weapons going further in the season.
While I praised his running ability, Thompson-Robinson has to work on his passing game. A shaky 20 out of 40 performance was a key factor in the loss. If opposing defenses are going to pressure DTR, then the playcalling has to be for more short, intermediate routes to move the sticks.
UCLA Run Defense Has To Step Up
The Bruins’ defense gave up a total of 264 rushing yards, 187 of those coming from freshman running back Jarek Broussard, who finished the game with 3 touchdowns. All of but one of Colorado’s scores came from the ground game. Eliminating the run would’ve easily given the Bruins a win.
Four turnovers in the first half alone helped Colorado jump to a huge 28-point lead going into halftime. Two of their turnovers set up Colorado in perfect field position to score. Take away the early turnovers, and UCLA could have jumped into an early lead instead of going down 14-0 in the first 7 minutes of the game.