UCLA Surprises with Youth Movement and Stellar Play
By G. Montgomery, Staff Writer –
There are a lot of ways to look at the Bruins 31-13 victory over the Houston Cougars on Saturday night.
Rick Neuheisel, as usual chose to look at it as a sign of good things to come. When asked what he said or did to produce such an astonishing turnaround in just one week.
Neuheisel said. “What happens when you suffer a demoralizing loss like we did to Stanford, you have to remember that you’re in a foxhole with a bunch of guys you can count on. The only way to get out is for everybody to grab a shovel and start digging.”
Just one short week ago nearly half of the Bruin faithful adjourned to the parking lot before half-time. A week later the entire crowd of 54,407 stuck around for the evening. UCLA improved in every category. Second year quarterback Kevin Prince, rushed on designed rollout plays for a total of 64-yards on 10 carries and kept the Cougars’ defense gasping.
Prince also threw for 99- yards. Although his passing performance was not stellar, it should be noted that he had no interceptions after a multipick performance against Stanford.
Allowing Prince to scamper out of the pocket opened lanes for sophomore running back Jonathan Franklin who rushed for 158-yards on 26 carries. No Bruin running back had topped 150-yards since Chris Markey accomplished the feat against woeful Washington in the 2007 season.
Ricky Marvray added to the youth movement with a electrifying 22-yard grab that sustained and early scoring drive.
Marvray a Red shirt freshman from Corona Centennial had 3 catches for 34-yards.
The defense was equally impressive, holding the powerful Cougar offense to only 3 points in the first half.
Houston entered the game leading the nation in scoring with 61 points per game and ranked 23rd nationally.
Heisman hopeful, Case Keenum led the nation in passing and total offense in 2009. Junior running Bryce Beal was Conference USA Player-of-the-week coming off a 195-yard rushing performance last week.
Expectations for UCLA were not very positive given the Cougars incoming resume. “No one gave us a chance,” said Junior Strong Safety Rahim Moore. I told myself before the game, I just want to win. I don’t care about stats. I’m just going out there and fly around and make plays. And the plays came to us.” Moore’s interception of Keenum early in the second quarter and subsequent 42- yard return essentially finished the Cougars and sealed the deal for UCLA. Moore has 15 career interceptions.
Bruin junior linebacker Akeem Ayers also picked off what would be Keenum’s final pass. The Houston Quarter hurt a knee attempting to make a tackle on the runback and left the game with a season ending injury.
The Cougars would also lose their second string quarter Cotton Turner with a broken collar bone.
Saturdays win was the first time UCLA has beaten a ranked opponent since winning in Tennessee in September 2008. The Bruins face #7 ranked Texas in Austin this weekend. This will be the Bruins opportunity to prove Neuheisel right about things to come.