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SMQB: Notes on UCLA's Win over North Carolina Central
Thoughts on video game numbers, Dante Moore, Carson Steele and the Bruin defense.
So, after welcoming everyone to the Bruin bandwagon last Sunday, I’m leaning towards cautioning everyone after yesterday’s win.
To be sure, there’s a lot for UCLA to be proud about from yesterday. The first of which is scoring the game-winning touchdown on their second offensive play of the game as well as scoring 59 points on 56 offensive plays.
But, let’s be real.
Yesterday’s stats are video game numbers. You can’t expect to see anything like them moving forward in the final season of Pac-12 play.
Sure, they count towards the season statistics. But you can’t really arrive at any real conclusions about this year’s Bruin team on the basis of yesterday’s game.
What we have seen through three weeks, though, is that the potential is there for this season to be a very good one. And, of course, let us not forget how we’ve seen some recent Bruin teams rattle off as many as five or even six wins in a row to start a season only to stumble down the stretch.
So, don’t go booking a trip to the national championship game quite yet.
Dante Moore continues to be impressive.
Moore went to the air on the first play from scrimmage yesterday and threw a 67-yard TD pass. In fact, two-thirds of his 182 yards yesterday came on three pass plays.
His ability to find a man open for big gains will serve UCLA well as the schedule gets tougher down the road.
Then, there’s Carson “Man of” Steele. He’s an absolute character. Not only does he look like Thor, but he has a pet alligator named Crocky-J. But, best of all, the guy is an absolute beast.
Sure, Zach Charbonnet was fantastic, but Steele has certainly played very well in his first three games in Westwood.
After three games, Steele has 243 yards rushing, putting him on track for a 1,000-yard season. If he does that, it would be the fifth 1,000-yard season by a Bruin in six seasons under Chip Kelly.
Let’s shift from offense to defense.
The Bruins are now averaging 69.7 rushing yards per game. That’s ties them with Rutgers for 11th in the nation. They are ranked 24th in the nation in total defense as well.
If that’s not enough, there are only two teams in the entire country who have give up fewer touchdowns than UCLA — Michigan, who has given up just one, and Ohio State, which has given up two. To be sure, five other teams are tied with the Bruins.
One of the teams who have given up just three touchdowns is next week’s opponent, the Utah Utes.
The fact of the matter is that we will learn more about this year’s UCLA football team next Saturday than we have in the first three games combined.
For anyone wondering, the North Carolina Central Sound Machine Marching Band did make the trip to the Rose Bowl yesterday.
Frankly, though, I was disappointed.
For starters, their band seemed…well, small.
Now, to be sure, their performance was certainly long enough. In fact, their halftime show probably lasted longer than any of the Eagles’ drives in the first half yesterday.
It just wasn’t all that impressive compared to the Alabama State Mighty Marching Hornets last season.
The last thing I have today is yesterday’s post-game press conference.
The most interesting part of Chip Kelly’s part of the press conference was his final comment. As he left, Kelly said, “Afternoon football…gotta love it.” It seemed a little odd, given Kelly’s previous statements about the team playing whenever and wherever they’re told to play, but it made it sound like Kelly would really prefer to play day games compared to night ons.
Following Kelly, Dante Moore and yesterday’s leading rusher Anthony Adkins discussed the game as well as the off-the-field camaraderie among the players. Adkins also spoke about his transition from being a fullback at Army to UCLA.
Finally, Choé Bryant-Strother and Dovid Magna offered the perspective of the defense. In addition to speaking about the forced fumble, these guys spoke a lot about how a lot of guys who don’t get a lot of playing had a chance to play yesterday.