UCLA (4-7, 2-6 Pac 12) and fellow UC school Cal (4-7, 2-6 Pac 12) have identical records. Both schools had hoped to have better seasons. The Bruins had a chance win every game they played except, perhaps, USC.
The Bruins and the Bears have long storied rivalry. The two teams have met 86 times before with UCLA winning 53, Cal 32 and there was one tie. The Bruins have won three straight in the series including a 40-24 drubbing last season in the Rose Bowl. The last time the two teams met in Berkeley, the Bruins were victors 36-34.
UCLA head coach, Jim Mora wanted to play a more physical brand of football in 2016 and in one phase of the game his team succeeded. The Bruin defense was outstanding and kept them in most games this season. UCLA’s offense couldn’t muster any semblance of a running game, an earmark of physical play.
The Bruins had a hard time replacing their three interior offensive linemen this season, especially at the guard spot. Last year’s starting guards, Caleb Benenoch and Alex Redmond are on practice squads in the NFL. Both players had another year of eligibility left. One can only wonder if having Benenoch and Redmond on the team what could have been.
Without the inside duo, the offensive line didn’t have the cohesiveness in the interior and it showed in the running game.
Now the Bruins have one more chance to get it right on the offensive side of the football. The good news regarding the offensive line, every one will return next season except for Conor McDermott, who has been outstanding his senior season, but Kolton Miller will take over the left side. Miller started the season at right tackle but had a season ending injury giving Andre James experience that will also be helpful next year, but that is next year.
UCLA still has one game left go before it’s time to start to musing on what is going to be in 2017. There are seniors who will be playing their last game as a Bruin, who have done a nice job helping the program move forward and as UCLA head coach, Jim Mora said earlier in the week, “the 2016 record is not indicative of the senior class’ contribution.”
The seniors that will be playing in their last game will be; ATH Ishmael Adams, DL Eli Ankou, DL Preston Awedisean, LB Jayon Brown, DB Charles Dawson, QB Mike Rafael, OL Cristian Garcia, DB Randall Goforth, DB Tahaan Goodman, ATH Willie Green, LB Deon Hollins, TE Nate Iese, TE Jake Jones, LB Cameron Judge, DL Takk McKinley, DB Fabian Moreau, DB Marcus Rios, LB Isaako Savaiinaea, P Adam Searl and WR Kenneth Walker III.
Gentlemen take a bow and now, go beat Cal.