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Dawg Review: UCLA Bruins Stifle #15 Washington State Cougars


Game Recap:

The shootout we were supposed to get never materialized as UCLA used their defense to shut down the Washington State offense en route to a 25-17 win at the Rose Bowl. The Bruin's defense led the way with four turnovers and three sacks while holding the second-ranked passing offense to a total of 216 yards gained. The win brings both teams to 4-1 on the season and 1-1 in the Pac 12.


UCLA running back Carson Steele was a bulldozer, rushing for 140 yards, and wide receiver Keegan Jones added two fourth-quarter rushing touchdowns to seal the win. Freshman quarterback Dante Moore threw for 290 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions to lead the Bruins to their first conference win of the season. After struggling early, Bruins head coach Chip Kelly made some adjustments to get Moore out on the perimeter and allowed him to make plays. Kelly got Moore into a number of designed rollouts to counter the interior pressure from the Cougar's defense. “They ran a lot of internal pressures,” Kelly said. “They got us early in the game with some internal pressures. So we had it in our game plan to get it to the perimeter.”

Tale of the Tape:

The story of the game was the UCLA defense, who pressured Cougars quarterback Cameron Ward all game while holding one of the best offenses in the country to over 300 yards less than their average. Defensive coordinator D’Anton Lynn and his staff came up with a brilliant game plan that earned praise from Coach Kelly. “I think our entire defensive staff, you know, led by him did an unbelievable job, you know, because that was the number two-ranked passing offense in the country,” Kelly said. “To hold them to that and not allow them really to rush it was outstanding.” The Cougars only managed 12 rushing yards on the day.


Washington State entered the game averaging 533.8 yards per game on offense, and 406.0 yards passing. The Cougars were held to 216 total yards with 204 through the air. Quarterback Cameron Ward was under duress all day and completed only 19 of 39 passes for 197 yards with one touchdown. Ward also threw his first two interceptions of the season. The potent Cougars offense could not get it going against the stingy UCLA defense.

Washington State Cougar - MVP

The Cougars MVP was defensive back Kapena Gushiken who finished the game with two tackles, one sack, and an 89-yard pick-six. The pick-six showed both Gushiken’s athleticism and speed as he jumped at the line of scrimmage to catch the ball and then raced down the sideline outrunning Bruins quarterback Dante Moore.

UCLA Bruin- MVP

The UCLA MVP was defensive lineman Laiatu Latu who had three tackles, one sack, and forced a fumble while spending most of the game facing double teams. On many downs, Washington State motioned a blocker in front of Latu because of the havoc he was causing in the Cougar backfield. He still was able to pressure Ward and the Cougar running backs.


The loss gives Washington State their first loss of the season and exposed some issues with the Cougars offense, particularly in the passing game. The offensive line had trouble keeping the UCLA front seven out of the backfield, specifically the defensive ends. Washington State was without leading receiver Lincoln Victor and lost second leading receiver Josh Kelly in the first half due to an injury. Aside from Kelly and wideout Kyle Williams, no Washington State receiver had more than two catches today.



Summary:

The win for UCLA let head coach Chip Kelly know that his team can win games with the defense if the offense is struggling early. The Bruins front seven pressured Cameron Ward all game and created four turnovers. The offense struggled early with turnovers and inconsistencies but still put up 470 total yards today.

Up Next:

The Washington State Cougars return home next Saturday to host the Arizona Wildcats.

UCLA Bruins travel to Corvallis to take on Oregon State next Saturday.

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