Here are three instant impressions from UCLA’s 24-17 win over Washington on Saturday night at Husky Stadium.
Getting run over
It was no secret that UCLA was going to try to beat Washington by running the ball, and still the Huskies couldn’t stop the Bruins from running.
That was particularly evident after UCLA intercepted a pass at its own 4 with 4:50 remaining in the game. The Bruins rushed for three first downs and Washington never got the ball back.
UCLA rushed for 237 yard on 40 carries for an average of 5.9 yards a carry and that was the difference of the game.
The effort is there … but the talent?
For years, the Huskies have been the more talented team in a majority of games they have played, and if things went as predicted, the Huskies would win. But that talent edge has not been the case this season, beginning with the shocking loss to Montana.
That has meant the margin for error for the Huskies has greatly diminished. It’s much harder to overcome a first-quarter interception, like the one they had against UCLA, or a ball snapped over the quarterback’s head, like what happened in the second quarter, or a close call that goes the wrong way, like on UCLA’s fourth-and-goal touchdown run to give the Bruins a 17-3 lead.
The Huskies showed resilience in battling back to tie the game, but UCLA was the better team in the fourth quarter. It’s easy to blame schemes and strategy when things aren’t going well, but the biggest problem for the Huskies seems to be this: They just aren’t that good.
The Huskies had an extra week to prepare for UCLA and to possibly reset their season after the disappointing 2-3 start. That Washington could not take advantage of the bye week, losing their second straight game, has made it clear that Washington’s string of 11 straight winning seasons is in big jeopardy. The Huskies should be able to beat a poor Arizona team Friday night, but they don’t look like a team that will go 5-1 or 4-2 in the second half of the season to get to at least 6-6 and a possible bowl berth.