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Sunday Morning QB: UCLA Bruins Literally Give Opener to Colorado
In a year of changes, UCLA football looks the same as last year.
Last night, the UCLA Bruins lost their 2020 season opener to the Colorado Buffaloes, 48-42. Three of Colorado’s six, yes, six touchdowns were scored following turnovers.
In other words, UCLA’s inability to hold onto the football cost the Bruins the game. Two of those three scores came after Bruin quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson turned the ball over.
The first turnover of the game occurred on special teams. The Bruin defense had just forced Colorado to punt on the first drive of the game when Kyle Philips muffed a punt which was recovered by the Buffaloes on the UCLA 25. Four plays later, it was 7-0.
When UCLA got the ball back, they started from their own 9-yard line. Things started well offensively. The Bruins converted on third down and they got a new set of downs. After an incomplete pass, DTR threw his first pick of the season — and it was a costly one. Colorado’s Carson Wells returned it down to the Bruin 1-yard line.
The Buffs gave it to Jarek Broussard who made it 14-0, Colorado.
UCLA’s third turnover was a fumble by Thompson-Robinson with the team trailing 21-7. Thankfully, this was the only Bruin turnover the Buffaloes didn’t capitalize on. Here, the defense forced a three-and-out but, on the play immediately following the punt, Demetric Felton fumbled on the UCLA 7. Two plays later, it was 28-7.
You can’t turn the ball over four times in 21 minutes, three of which were deep in UCLA territory and expect to win the game.
To his credit, DTR threw four touchdown passes and ran for one more, a 65-yarder on the second play of the second half. He threw for 303 yards and ran for 109 more to lead the team in rushing.
But it wasn’t enough to make up for those turnovers in the first 21 minutes.
The Bruin defense gave up more than 500 total yards in the game, but it’s hard to place the blame for this loss on the defense. Two of the three turnovers occurred inside the 10-yard line. All three touchdowns the Buffs got off turnovers were no more than 25 yards from the end zone.
You could have the best defense in the world and still give up touchdowns under those circumstances.
Is there still cause for concern for the defense? Absolutely. Colorado’s other three touchdowns came on drives of at least 70 yards, but the story here isn’t a swiss cheese Bruin defense. It’s the turnovers.
While that’s the story for this week, it remains possible that a porous defense will cause UCLA to lose in the games to come, but it’s clear that the first 21 minutes of last night’s game will have Bruin fans everywhere asking that all too familiar November question.
Is it basketball season yet?