Saturday, June 26, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
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For the past decade UCLA has played in the shadow of a bigger, better tam in its own city. USC has dominated the scene when it comes to football in LA for years. Even in a down year of 2009, the Trojans were still the more prominent story in the City of Angels. UCLA took a step forward to passing the Trojans in 2009 with a decent 7-6 record. That was an improvement over a bad 4-8 record the year before. With the recent off the field troubles USC has had, the Bruins could make a move in 2010. They appear to be getting better, while USC appears to be getting worse.
UCLA's offensive statistics were modest as they shuffled quarterbacks for much of the season. Kevin Prince had the best numbers with 173 completions for 2,050 yards and eight touchdowns, but Kevin Craft was in the discussion for most of the season, Craft graduated when the year was done, however, handing the reigns over to the freshman Prince. Prince did not have much help in the running game either. Johnathan Franklin was the team's leading rusher, but he had less than 600 yards and only five touchdowns on the season. This was far from a potent offense, and it showed.
UCLA showed some early promise with three straight wins to start the season. They were good wins too. They came against solid competition that was not within the Pac-10 and two of the wins were over teams from BCS conferences. A victory over San Diego State (33-14) was a nice win in the opener before UCLA went to Tennessee. That long road trip proved fruitful as the Bruins knocked off the Vols in SEC country 19-15. UCLA then returned home to beat Kansas State from the Big 12 23-9.
Once the Pac-10 season started, the season was nearly an unmitigated disaster. Even with a good 3-0 record, UCLA began conference play by losing their first five games to Stanford (24-16), Oregon (24-10), California (45-26), Arizona (27-13), and Oregon State (26-19). Those struggles made it plain as tot eh type of team UCLA could beat. All five of those teams played in postseason bowl games from the conference, while the three later victories came over teams that did not go bowling. The Burins at least could rest in the knowledge they were competitive in those games. That hard work would pay off on November 7th when Washington visited.
The Huskies struggled all season long and the Bruins used their defense to close out a 24-23 win. UCLA took the lead on the first play of the fourth quarter and used its defense to close the game out. UCLA then beat lowly Washington State 43-7 and Arizona State 23-13 to salvage bowl eligibility after the 0-5 start in conference play. A cross town loss to USC (28-7) ended the regular season, but UCLA did get to play Temple in the EagleBank Bowl in Washington D.C. Once there, the Burins clinched a winning record with a nice 30-21 win.
Writer and editor, Freddie Brister, is a former high school football coach of 25 years. His love of the game of football is reflected in his words and memories of growing up in the South and playing football in the back yard with his brother, cousins and neighborhood friends. His biggest thrill is watching former high school players he has coached play at the college level. His favorite pastime is watching college football on TV and attending the games in person every chance he gets. Freddie Brister is a huge fan of the SEC and college football.