In a nail-biting face-off at the Rose Bowl, the UCLA Bruins locked horns with the Colorado Buffaloes, providing spectators with a defensive spectacle that pivoted on the tussle between the teams’ quarterbacks and defensive lines.
With 71,343 attendees, a record under Chip Kelly, the stadium buzzed with anticipation as both teams sought to outdo each other in a game that eventually highlighted UCLA’s defensive prowess.
UCLA vs Colorado: UCLA’s Dominant Defense Leads Bruins To Victory
A Dominant UCLA Defense
The game kicked off with UCLA’s Laiatu Latu showing a remarkable display of tenacity, securing a sack early on by bulldozing through a double team on the line to get to Colorado’s QB, Shedeur Sanders. The Bruins’ defensive line, particularly Latu, who later notched 2 sacks, and Gabriel Murphy, were relentless in putting pressure on Sanders throughout the game. This pressure amounted to a whopping seven sacks on Sanders by the end of the night, showcasing UCLA’s defensive power.
Latu’s versatility was on full display as he lined up in various positions, including outside linebacker, defensive end, and defensive tackle, keeping the Colorado offense on its toes.
On the other side, Shedeur Sanders showcased commendable pocket presence amidst a complex UCLA defense, making substantial efforts to read the field and keep the chains moving. His mobility was a highlight, aiding him in navigating the Bruins’ aggressive defense. However, the relentless pressure from UCLA’s front five eventually took its toll, with Sanders often seen running for his life behind his offensive line.
Post-game, he put all the blame on himself and refused to throw his line under the bus. Coach Prime even mentioned the lack of execution from his Offensive Line.
Colorado’s offense had its moments, fairing well in the screen game, and driving down the field with some ease at times. Their offensive line, however, struggled against the consistent rush from UCLA’s defense, which seemed to have dominated the majority of snaps, rushing four for most of the game.
A Struggling UCLA Offense
UCLA’s offense had its own struggles, with QB Ethan Garbers showing inconsistency on deep balls but compensating with notable mobility, including a few good rushes that kept drives alive. The offense under Garbers seemed to pivot more towards play action and short intermediate passing, differing from the previous approach with Dante Moore who was more run and deep-pass oriented.
The turning point came post-half when Garbers connected with Moliki Matavao for a touchdown, igniting a spark within the UCLA offense.
The Bruins’ running back rotation kept the Colorado defense guessing, while their own defense continued to suffocate the Buffaloes’ offensive efforts.
Logan Loya had an outstanding game, racking up over 100 yards which further propelled UCLA’s offense. Loya has had a pretty under-the-radar year and is sneakily the team’s leading receiver.
UCLA’s Season Will Depend On The Defense
The UCLA defense shone brightest in the red zone, stifling Colorado’s attempts to put points on the board. This defensive wall proved to be the linchpin, keeping UCLA competitive despite some offensive missteps including four turnovers before halftime.
As the game reached its climax, UCLA’s defensive line continued to demolish Colorado’s offense, while their own offense found some rhythm, albeit with room for improvement especially on third down conversions (2 of 8). The shifting to a cover 2 in the 4th quarter by UCLA demonstrated a strategic defensive adjustment that further stifled Colorado’s offensive operations.
The bout at the Rose Bowl displayed a defensive clinic by UCLA, whose D-Line was undeniably the star of the show, dictating the pace and ultimately leading to a hard-fought victory.