By: Travis Halopoff
Well, the final score was much as everyone predicted it to be – UCLA 42, CU 14. UCLA covered the spread and continued on their way to PAC-12 South champion contention, while CU lost a game where they appeared to give up in the second half.
I don’t really know yet how I feel about this one, as the score indicates a solid pummeling. Even so, there were a few bright spots, and even moments where the game could have shifted in Colorado’s favor.
The game started with a CU three-and-out, but a UCLA fumble on the ensuing drive allowed Buffs’ fans some hope for a momentum-building early lead. Unfortunately, Colorado blew their short field opportunity (due to a big Anthony Barr sack), and CU was forced to punt.
Colorado gave up a TD on the following possession, highlighted by a 28-yard Jonathan Franklin run (complete with a demonstrative stiff arm) and a Garrett Hundley 12-yard touchdown scamper. A few drives later, Hundley was passing for a score, and the lead was 14-0 early in the second quarter.
Colorado amassed less than fifty yards on their first four possessions, but they seemed to gain some momentum after realizing the game was still within reach. CU cut the UCLA lead to seven on a 17-yard Jordan Webb–Dustin Ebner connection, and a UCLA punt on the next possession had the crowd back in the game. Unfortunately, UCLA’s defense kept coming up with big stops, led by Datone Jones and Damien Holmes. A Stephen Manfro (possibly one of the sickest last names I’ve ever heard) punt return to the 45 gave UCLA the opportunity to score again before the half on another Hundley TD run.
The first-half stat line was skewed in UCLA’s favor, but a 2 TD deficit at home was not so insurmountable that Buff fans were completely giving up. UCLA did outgain the Buffs 285-122 in the first half, but the CU defense had little chance to rest. In my opinion, they hadn’t been playing half-bad.
The Buffaloes were driving in the third quarter, when Tony Jones got stuffed on fourth-and-1 at midfield. I found that an interesting use of personnel, as Christian Powell is 246 pounds and much more suited to pounding the interior defense. CU’s next two drives ended in turnovers, and UCLA scored on their next three possessions.
The first of those two turnovers was the backbreaker that sealed the game. Vincent Hobbs pulled in a long pass, broke a tackle around UCLA’s 40, and then got the ball punched out by Bruin safety Tevin McDonald. The momentum—and desire—was completely sucked out of Colorado.
It was difficult coming up with a specific angle to take for this game. While CU played well enough to stay in the game for a time, one could not help but feel that the game went somewhat according to the universe’s plan. UCLA came out and played as if they knew that eventually they were going to win. CU played predictably in the first half, before committing to the air against a UCLA team that struggled to defend the pass against Oregon State. After three 2nd-half turnovers, though, Colorado gave up all hope, and UCLA took full advantage.
Next Week: Bye.
Thank God. Colorado needs a week to focus on who is going to step up on both sides of the ball. The following game on Oct. 11th is a winnable Thursday night matchup against Arizona State, and the week off should help Colorado prepare. We need a victory in order to have any hope of salvaging this season. After ASU, the Buffs have six remaining PAC-12 games, four of them against teams currently ranked. While I’m still stoked we’re not going winless, I would still like to get to three or four wins.
At least basketball starts soon.