By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor
Anybody who picked UCLA to roll into Texas and man handle the No. 7 team in the nation, please raise your hand.Seeing none raised, lets all pick our jaws up off the ground and give the Bruins some credit for getting their act together and finally having a defining win in the Rick Neuheisel/Norm Chow era.
Neuheisel and Chow are known as offensive gurus, mainly with the passing game.Nine passing attempts for only 27 yards, on the road, against one of the premier programs, would sound like doom for UCLA.But it was the other way around as the Bruins won the game 34-12.
It was almost like the passing plays were stripped out of the playbook, and UCLA just ran the ball all game long, to the tune of 264 yards on 56 carries.Those types of numbers would make old Nebraska and Oklahoma teams proud, but that is almost unheard of in the PAC 10.
Texas entered the game giving up only 44 yards on the ground per game, but UCLA’s top three rushers all surpassed that.Running back Johnathan Franklin (Dorsey HS) rushed for a game leading 118 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries.Derek Colman rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, and quarterback Kevin Prince rushed for 50 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown.
After a rocky start, UCLA’s pistol offense finally seems to be working.The previous week against No. 21 Houston, UCLA rushed for 266 yards, while only passing for 99 yards, and they put 31 points on the scoreboard, which was 31 more points than they put up the week before that against Stanford.
UCLA’s defense has also woken up.After giving up 31 points to Kansas St. and 35 points to Stanford, they held Houston, who had the nation’s top ranked scoring offense, to only 12 points, and they held Texas to only 13 points.
This Bruin team, who were pretty much left for dead after the humiliating shutout loss to Stanford, may have finally turned the corner, so they better be careful not to trip up on a horrible Washington St. team.
Washington St. will be in the same position as UCLA was going into Texas.They will be heavy underdogs, on the road, with nothing to lose.Nobody is expecting anything out of them, and they are going to want to prove themselves.
The only thing Washington does halfway decent is pass the ball.They are ranked 43rd in the nation passing, but they are 108th rushing, 101st in scoring offense, and 116th in scoring defense.But their passing numbers may be due to playing from behind a lot and having to pass the ball for the bulk of the game.
If UCLA is truly a legit team, they should have no problem with Washington St.UCLA needs to ride the momentum through the rest of the season, and maybe they can find themselves in a bowl game and improve on their seven-win season from last year.