PROVO, Utah — UCLA improved to 2-1 on the season after its 17-14 win over BYU (1-2) in Provo on Saturday night. Here are the top-five Bruin storylines immediately after the final buzzer.
1. Defense, defense, defense
How good was the UCLA defense? It held BYU without a point until there was 3:07 left in the third quarter, and the second touchdown came with 37 seconds left in the game – long after it was all over. With the returns of redshirt junior defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes, senior defensive end Takkarist McKinley and senior defensive end Deon Hollins stabilizing the unit, the Cougars only managed 23 rushing yards all night.
BYU quarterback Taysom Hill didn’t fare any better, throwing 26-of-49 for 250 yards – many coming in fourth quarter garbage time. Halfway through the fourth quarter, after consecutive bad throws, the Cougar crowd even rained down a couple boos on their quarterback.
2. What can Brown do for you?
Apparently, blitz. Well, defensive coordinator Tom Bradley said that he used senior linebacker Jayon Brown as a QB spy, limiting Hill’s ability to run the ball. The senior linebacker was all over Hill, getting one QB hurry and a sack on back-to-back plays during BYU’s ninth drive. In the fourth quarter, when UCLA needed a stop on third and three at the BYU 28-yard line, Brown blitzed alongside fellow senior linebacker Isaako Savaiinaea to force a rushed throw that was incomplete.
He ended with a team-leading nine tackles, one sack and two breakups. After the game, he was in disbelief that his forced fumble was taken away due to a holding on BYU and also claimed he should have been credited with at least 10 tackles.
3. Rosen’s solid night
Last year, sophomore quarterback Josh Rosen was visibly flustered by the Cougars’ defense – throwing three interceptions in the first half. This year, aside from uneven play in the first half, a few hurries and one interception, Rosen took advantage of the time he got in the pocket.
He started the first quarter a little slow, throwing for 73 yards on a 6-for-12 clip. Rosen finished throwing 26-of-40 for 307 yards. However, he was upset after the game, knowing that he missed multiple receivers and said he left at least 21 points on the field.
4. No Soso, no yards
Sophomore running back Soso Jamabo didn’t suit up for the game tonight, and all coach Jim Mora said after the game was that, “We didn’t play him.”
The running game suffered with the loss of Jamabo, who rushed for 90 yards and scored three touchdowns in the win over UNLV last week. UCLA managed just 50 yards on the ground, with junior running back Nate Starks leading the way with 39 yards on 15 carries.
5. Is Takk ok?
After returning tonight from a groin injury and playing a key role in shutting down the Cougar offense, McKinley collapsed onto the ground after a hard hit late in the fourth quarter. He stayed down for a while before eventually getting up on his own and gingerly walking off the field.
Mora said after the game that McKinley told him he feels great and that he was celebrating in the locker room with the rest of the team. If he truly is fine, then the Bruins will be leaving Provo with both a win and a lucky break.