Sunday, 01 October 2017 16:04

Bruins Get Back Into Winning Column

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UCLA CU 2017UCLA (3-2, 1-1) bounced back into the winning column with 27-23 victory over a determined Colorado (3-2, 0-2) team in front of 61,338 fans on a beautiful night in the Rose Bowl.

“I’m proud of these young men for a lot of reasons,” UCLA head coach Jim Mora said after the game. “Number one, through two weeks of tough losses, they have gotten closer. That is what has to happen when you’re going through adversity. It was reflected in the way that these guys came to work — to their practices and meetings every day. The energy that they had, the way they talked to each other, it all reflected in their attitude and their ability to still have fun, yet work hard.”

“Tonight was a culmination of that. We were playing without a guard, so we had to move Poasi [Moala] in at right tackle. We did lose one of our best pass receivers in Caleb Wilson, and we were in a battle there against a really good team.”

“If our young men didn’t have the character that they did, it would have been easy to just fold up the tents. But, they did not do that. So it’s something that I have felt has been growing. That gets lost when you lose. I’m very proud of them, happy for them and it’s a nice way to go into the bye.”

The Bruins were able to take advantage of the strong arm of quarterback Josh Rosen and an improving defense to lead them to victory. Rosen, once again, threw for over 300 yards, 372 to be exact, one touchdown and one interception.

“I don’t know what his [Josh Rosen] numbers were, but I think that he has set the bar so high that we have to be a bit measured in our evaluations of him,” Mora said. “But like with all of our players, Josh will be his own toughest critic. He’ll say that he left a lot on the table. That is one of the things that you love about Josh.”

Though UCLA is still a work in progress on the defensive side of the ball, the Bruins showed enough improvement to hold off a talented Buffalo offense that was showing un-scouted looks.

UCLA tightened up in the red zone forcing field goals instead of touchdowns and of course playing honest defense on Colorado’s fake field goal attempt. A play that loomed large throughout the contest.

“We were good in the red zone and held them to field goals for the most part,” Mora said. “Twice there, their quarterback got the edge on us, on what we call 12 personnel. Guys get hungry and defensive ends collapse, and then the quarterback pulls it and goes.”

“One of our best players on defense made a mistake that he never makes. We have to give these guys better calls, but I was proud of how the defense played. They tackled better. They had a good energy about them. They hung in there. We gave up a few plays and we bowed our neck in the red zone. I was proud of them.”

Now the Bruins head into bye week with a good win on which to build on. Make no mistake, there is a lot of improvement on both sides of the ball to work on during the bye, but is so much better with a win.

“It’s critical, it really is and it’s important,” Mora said about winning and the momentum it could create. “You can take a sigh of relief, but you cannot act like it’s all fixed. There is a lot of work to do. While you’re excited about the win and you celebrate it, you go back on Sunday as a staff and then on Monday as a staff with your players and you have to be just as critical of what you did and the calls that you made. We have to be critical as if we’d just gotten the dog kicked out of us. I love that about these guys, that there is a thirst to get better.”

UCLA will play Arizona in Tucson on Saturday, Oct. 14 time of kickoff will be determined.

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