Wednesday, June 26

UCLA football ends disappointing season with 36-10 loss to Cal

Sophomore running back Soso Jamabo and the Bruins fell flat in their season finale against the Golden Bears, losing 36-10. The team’s eighth loss of the season ends its chances of a bowl invitation, the first time since 2010 UCLA won't play in the postseason. (Jintak Han/Assistant Photo editor)

Sophomore running back Soso Jamabo and the Bruins fell flat in their season finale against the Golden Bears, losing 36-10. The team’s eighth loss of the season ends its chances of a bowl invitation, the first time since 2010 UCLA won't play in the postseason. (Jintak Han/Assistant Photo editor)

This post was updated Nov. 27 at 12.50 p.m.

Perhaps it was a fitting end to a season that’s seemed to serve up greater depths of disappointment each week.

UCLA fell 36-10 to California Saturday night, the ugly loss erasing any chance the Bruins had of securing a bowl bid.

Though UCLA entered halftime down 12-0, Cal dominated the game from start to finish, outgaining the Bruins by more than 200 yards and holding the ball for over 40 minutes.

“Obviously, this was a disappointing end to what was a disappointing season for us,” said coach Jim Mora. “This was a tough one, and hats off to Cal. We’ll rise again, we will.”

The Bruins produced just 10 points and 260 total yards against a Bear defense that entered the night ranked last and second to last in the Football Bowl Subdivision in points allowed and yards allowed per game, respectively.

They punted on all six of their first-half drives, but were still within striking distance heading into the locker room, down just 12-0 because the Bears, successful as they were at moving the ball down the field, had to settle for four field goals in the opening half.

Early in the third quarter, UCLA looked like it might mount a comeback. Redshirt senior quarterback Mike Fafaul, after going 2-for-11 in the first half, led a six-play, 80-yard drive that ended in a seven-yard touchdown pass to redshirt senior receiver Kenneth Walker.

Cal responded with a quick touchdown, though, and took firm control of the game throughout the rest of the night.

Bear quarterback Davis Webb, the nation’s third-leading passer entering the game, sliced up the Bruin defense, connecting on 32 of his 48 passes for 301 yards. Over half of those yards went to Cal’s star receiver, Chad Hansen, who hauled in 10 passes for 156 yards.

Running back Khalfani Muhammad added 116 yards on 29 carries to help the Bears control the clock.

“We basically dominated the entire game moving the ball,” Webb said. “Everyone in this locker room has heard over the past four years that we haven’t beat an LA team. We ended that tonight.”

Meanwhile, Fafaul struggled in his final game, completing just 12 of his 30 passes for 176 yards.

“He didn’t seem as loose as he has in the previous games and I’m not exactly sure of the reason,” Mora said. “You have to give Cal’s defense credit. We were running the ball pretty well early on and had trouble throwing it. I think he felt some pressure.”

Facing one of the nation’s worst rush defenses, UCLA looked to help Fafaul by establishing the run. It worked somewhat to start the game, as the Bruins tallied 74 yards on 16 carries in the first half.

But the run game regressed in the second half, producing just 10 yards as Fafaul tried to throw the Bruins back into the game.

A couple scoring drives notwithstanding, the quarterback failed to challenge the Cal defense. By the time he threw an interception with just under 12 minutes to go, UCLA was already in a deep hole.

The defense, which had stood up in the red zone in the first half, wore down as the game went on, giving up 24 points in the second half. Webb shredded the Bruins after halftime, going 11-for-16 for 142 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

“They’re a very good offense, you know they’re gonna move the ball,” said defensive coordinator Tom Bradley. “You (figure), ‘Okay, if we can hold them to field goals, that’s okay, just keep them out of the end zone.’ Then we didn’t do that in the second half.”

Bradley lamented after the game the missed opportunities by his defense, pointing to three separate passes that could have been intercepted and possibly returned for touchdowns, only to slip through the hands of a UCLA defensive back.

“We have to make plays when we have an opportunity to make plays,” Bradley said.


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Reddit
Senior Staff

Matt Cummings is a senior staff writer covering UCLA football and men's basketball. In the past, he has covered baseball, cross country, women's volleyball and men's tennis. He served as an assistant sports editor in 2015-2016. Follow him on Twitter @MattCummingsDB.

Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.

  • Rick

    Poor UCLA, rough year !

    The Bruins had better get moving on Quarterback recruits because Rosen ain’t sticking around for a 4th year !!

    Offensive Line, Horrible !
    Running Game in line for worst in the Nation !
    Not a lot of good Receivers !

    Defensive Line pretty good ?
    Linebackers good to okay !
    DBacks, best of the Team !!

    Special Teams average !

    I don’t think the Bruin Fans will stick with Mora for the rebuild because Josh Rosen is less than the hype and could find 2017 not good for his health, at all !!!

    This is a Program in in freefall and it could be years until UCLA finds its footing again ? !

    Jim Mora’s a good guy and a good Man, UCLA fans typically ain’t…

  • Timothy D. Naegele

    Those of us who were at Berkeley for the game suffered all night.

    Guerrero, Mora and Rosen must see their careers end.

    Guerrero has failed year after year. Mora has taken the program nowhere. Rosen is mediocre at best, and cannot run like Bret Hundley did, who is warming the bench at Green Bay.

    Rosen has no future in the NFL; Guerrero’s best years were at UC Irvine; and Mora is shades of Dorrell and Neuheisel, who were failures as Bruin coaches.

    Some of us have “8-in-a-row” mugs honoring eight years of wins against the Trojans. Will we ever see that again?