Analysis: UCLA 38, USC 20

    E-mail Rich Cirminiello Follow me … @RichCirminiello It’s taken almost three months. But the UCLA team that everyone expected to see in 2014 has finally

    November 23, 2014

    E-mail Rich Cirminiello 
    Follow me … @RichCirminiello

    It’s taken almost three months. But the UCLA team that everyone expected to see in 2014 has finally emerged. And it may have occurred just in time to win the Pac-12 South and put a scare into Oregon two weeks from now at Levi’s Stadium. 

    This Bruin team, the one that used crosstown rival USC as a 60-minute welcome mat, can hang with the Ducks, despite the lopsided nature of their initial meeting back on Oct. 11. UCLA is confident and peaking, winners of five straight, including the last three by double-digits. 

    For the first eight games, the Bruins were Florida State’s distant cousin, too often winning ugly against inferior opponents. But ever since October became November, the light suddenly turned on in Westwood, particularly for Jeff Ulbrich’s maligned defense. 

    The D was the difference tonight in the Rose Bowl. Where was this unit all season? UCLA began the night with 16 sacks to rank next to last in the Pac-12. But the Bruins got to Cody Kessler six times to go along with a bunch of other pressures and hits that successfully neutralized the effectiveness of the Trojan’s two best offensive weapons, RB Javorius Allen and WR Nelson Agholor. 

    The Bruin offense is in good hands, with QB Brett Hundley and RB Paul Perkins providing the attack with the right mix of the run and the pass. If the defense can build off tonight’s breakout performance, look out. UCLA just might be capable of matching the runaway offseason hype after all, even if it took a couple of months longer than proponents anticipated. 

    E-mail Phil Harrison
    Follow me @PhilHarrisonCFB

    The balance of power has clearly shifted in Los Angeles. No longer is USC king — instead the UCLA Bruins are the prince of the City of Angels after three straight over their crosstown rivals.

    Behind head coach Jim Mora and quarterback Brett Hundley, UCLA has moved into the limelight of the Pac-12 and appears to have a bright future going forward. The Trojans are now relegated to playing catch up in recruiting and on the field.

    The win now sets up an interesting matchup next week against Stanford. If the Bruins can get past the Cardinal, it’ll find itself vying for a Pac-12 championship against Oregon. And with the way UCLA is playing, its probably the best shot at knocking out a Duck squad on the fast track to the College Football Playoff.

    Yeah, Oregon and UCLA played more than a month ago with Oregon getting the upper hand, but this Bruin team is a much different than the one that went down on October 11. Brett Hundley is playing much better, the defense has improved, and there’s a swagger that wasn’t there before after five-straight wins.

    If only the Bruins could a mulligan against those darn Utes. Maybe then, we’d be talking about even bigger things. But first things first, time to get ready for a Stanford team that will do anything but roll over.

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