The Mighty Bruins continued their excellent season this past Saturday with a 50-36 win on the road against The Arizona State Sun Devils. The win brings them to 8-1 on the year and up one spot in the AP poll to 9th. They are just two weeks away from the Victory Bell showdown against USC at the Rose Bowl, a game that will almost certainly determine the Pac-12 Championship.
How did UCLA get it done at Arizona State? Simple. They ran the damn ball. Like, really well. UCLA had a whopping 402 rushing yards on the day. They did so spreading the carries around as well: DTR, Kazmeir Allen, Keegan Jones, and Colson Yankoff were all efficient and all scored touchdowns on the day.
It was an explosive running game, with the aforementioned ball carriers rushing for 12.5, 12, 8.2, and 6.0 yards per carry, respectively. DTR and Kazmeir Allen were both over 100 yards rushing on the day. It was perhaps UCLA’s most dominant rushing performance on the season, which makes it even crazier that it was done without Zach Charbonnet.
When UCLA’s run game gets going, it’s tough to stop. It’s crazy to watch how far downfield the offensive linemen get on some of their blocks. The lanes to rush through in this game were enormous, and the ball carriers explosive. When you mix in tempo, spread, and misdirection with the physicality and speed of this team, these are the results you get.
This game started somewhat close; the score was 14-10 UCLA at the end of the first quarter. After that, the Bruins took off. UCLA had leads of both 35-10 and 42-18 before Arizona State put together a late rally to bring the score all the way to 42-36. UCLA would then put up one more drive to finish things at 50-36.
UCLA definitely slumped to the finish line in this one. It’s definitely easy to scoff at the defense letting Arizona State all the way back into the game. And yes, the defense is an issue. UCLA probably needs to win with style points to get a shot at the CFP, and incomplete performances like this will not help their cause.
However, I will say that I cautioned last week that Arizona State had been a different team with Trenton Bourguet at quarterback. He’s been phenomenal since taking over the starting role, so I’m not surprised that he played well in this one. UCLA shouldn’t have let it get back to one score with those leads, but they did finish the game when they needed to.
At the end of the day, this win is just another step towards UCLA’s goals on the season: A high stakes Victory Bell matchup, The Pac-12 Championship, and perhaps even a CFP playoff berth. Though they weren’t perfect, they’re right on track for where they need to be.