As UCLA traveled to the Coliseum to take on their crosstown rivals in the annual Victory Bell clash, the Bruins would end up doing more than just winning this game. Dominated, destroyed, manhandled… whatever adjective you want to use, that’s what the Bruins did to the Trojans in this matchup.
I’m not particularly surprised that UCLA won this game, but I am a bit surprised at just how dominant they were. The Bruins dropped a sixty burger on USC, finishing with a 62-33 victory. There were all sorts of records and benchmarks that came from the win, but perhaps most important was this: UCLA got their first win at the Coliseum since 2013. It was their first victory over USC since 2018, and their first seven-win season since 2018. It was also the most points ever scored by UCLA in the series.
Since the LSU win to start the season, UCLA hasn’t been a particularly impressive football team. They’ve lost against the good teams and slept-walk against the bad ones. That all changed this past Saturday. Let’s take a look at the top performers in this massive win.
DTR started off the game with two interceptions on consecutive pass attempts. But one area he has greatly improved on in his senior season is his ability to bounce back from mistakes. After those two interceptions, DTR would go on to complete 16/20 passes for 349 yards and 4 passing touchdowns. That’s 17.45 yards per attempt. Those are video game numbers. It was bombs away all day for this kid, and he was not only attempting the tough throws; he was competing them. Add 46 rushing yards and 2 rushing touchdowns on 11 attempts, and it’s clear that DTR has grown up in his four years at Westwood.
Charbonnet had 167 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries, good for 6.0 yards per attempt. That’s especially impressive when you consider that his partner in crime, Brittain Brown, did not play. Charbonnet has lived up to and exceeded expectations in Westwood just about all season.
Kyle Philips once again did what Kyle Philips does: be quick, reliable, and elusive, make plays in the short and intermediate areas of the field, and generally be DTR’s best friend in the passing game on the way to a win.
Allen was a big-play threat in the passing game and the kick return game. He finished this game with two touchdowns, 38.3 yards per reception, 40.8 yards per kick return, and almost 300 all-purpose yards. Again, video game numbers.
The senior leader of the defense came up with an early interception, his second of the season. The Bruins defense has now forced a turnover in six straight games.
It would sure be nice if Dulcich was used more. He only had 2 receptions on the day and didn’t have any touchdowns, but he’s absolutely a beast running down the seam. He’s got the catch-ability and speed of a receiver with the size of a tight end. His two receptions went for 75 yards. He’s absolutely dominant to watch play.
For at least a week, Chip Kelly’s name will be off the hot seat. For all his struggles in Westwood, this was old school Oregon Chip Kelly. Brutalizing and out-physicalizing your opponents, explosive plays in the passing game, and running up the score and racking up yards until the final whistle. It was sheer dominance by the Bruins in this one. Little brother, no more.
It’s easy to forgive a missed field goal in a 62 point win, but Nicholas Barr-Mira is now 12/19 on the season and has missed a field goal in five straight games. Barring a massive improvement over the offseason, UCLA will have to bring in competition next year.
Fans That Want Chip Kelly Fired
Despite this performance, there is still a pretty good case that Chip Kelly is not the guy for the Bruins long term. Perhaps the best argument is simply the record: Kelly is 17-25 in four years at Westwood with only two wins against teams that finished with a winning record. That’s worse than what Jim Mora did here. Last week’s result was great, but a lot of the season has been a disappointment. Is this just another temporary peak on the Chip Kelly rollercoaster? If you feel like Kelly is not the guy to get the Bruins playing consistent, winning football, then the USC win sure felt like winning the battle but losing the war. With this dominant win against your rival and a Bowl Game on the way, UCLA is unlikely to fire Kelly this year.
Football is a week-to-week game, but for the very least, UCLA fans can at least rejoice for a little bit with this win. Up next, the Bruins return to the Rose Bowl to host the Cal Bears for, shockingly, the final game of the regular season. Until then, I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!