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October 26, 2008Even though there were an onslaught of miscues the Bruins were able to get the game to the fourth quarter before having to pay in full for a mistake riddled. UCLA's first play from scrimmage portended of things to come.
After a 30 yard return by Terrence Austin to the Bruin 35, UCLA quarterback Kevin Craft threw his first of four interceptions when cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson deflected the ball and Bear safety Marcus Ezeff was there to pick the ball off. Ezeff returned the ball to the Bruin 41 yard line making the UCLA defend another short field.
The Bruin D was able to hold the Bears to a Gior Tavecchio 26 yard field goal even the defense prolonged the drive by getting a personal foul called against Bruin senior safety Bret Lockett/
With the Bruins winning the field position game their defense was stout the rest of the quarter forcing three straight three and outs.
The Bruin offense meanwhile couldn't anything going either and the first quarter ended with the Bears in the lead 3-0.
On the very first play of the second quarter Bruin freshman Sean Westgate blocked a Bryan Anger punt and Bruin redshirt freshman Glenn Love pounced on the loose ball in the end zone to give the Bruins their only lead of the day 7-3.
The Bears responded with an outstanding offensive drive where they dominated the Bruin defense on a six play, 70 yard drive capped off by a 34-yard run on a reverse by Jahvid Best for a touchdown.
The Bruins responded with their best offensive drive of the day though the shot themselves in the foot on the opening play with an illegal block penalty, this young team did what they have done all year and that is fight back.
Craft hit freshman wide receiver Taylor Embree for 18 yards and a first down. It was their first offensive first down of the game coming 10:10 left in the second quarter.
The Bruins were able to move the ball into Cal territory when lightning struck twice. Craft threw his second interception of the day to Ezeff again and he returned the ball 69 yards for a Bear touchdown making the score 17-7, Cal.
Once again the Craft shows the moxie that Bruins like about him. He bounced back and led the Bruins on a 10 play 71 yard drive only to throw his third pick of the day, but this one was in the red zone.
Like much of the season when given a long field to work with the defense forced Cal to punt after just five plays.
Austin returned an Anger punt 35 yards to the Cal 26 yard line, but there was a penalty on the return taking some of the good field position away. The Bruins ended up settling for a Kai Forbath field goal to bring the Bruins close trailing only by a touchdown at the half.
The Bears opened the half when Jeremy Ross returned Jimmy Rotstein's kickoff 47 yards to the Cal 49 and once again the Bruin defense was forced to defend a short field, but the Bruin defense was on their game and forced Cal to a three and out to open the half, due in large when Brian Price sacked Kevin Riley for a six yard loss.
Anger's punt pinned the Bruins back to their own 11 yard line and the field position became even worse when Craft was sacked on first down by Bear defensive end Tyson Alualu for a nine yard loss to the Bruin two.
The Bruins were forced to play this close to vest and still they almost had a safety called against them when Kahlil Bell was tackled for a one yard loss and barely got out of the end zone.
Perez, who had a very good day, launched a 55 yard punt to give the Bruin defense some breathing room in which to work with, yet on another short field, but Korey Bosworth was called for a personal foul.
The Bruin defense was aided by another sack by Price and two holding penalties and the Bears punted the ball back to the Bruins with UCLA starting play on their own 15 yard line.
Craft led the Bruins on a 13 play drive totally 65 yards that took almost six minutes off the clock, but the drive stalled at the Cal 20 yard line and once again the Bruins settled for a Forbath 38 yard field goal and that's where the score stood at the end of three quarters with the Bears leading, 17-13.
One of the main things all season for the Bruins is to keep the game close until the fourth quarter and once again this team overcame three turnovers up to this point to this point and still only trailed by four points going into the fourth quarter.
The Bears continued the drive they started late in the third quarter and put the first points on the board when Tavecchio culminated an 11 play drive for 53 yards with a 42 yard field goal to get the lead back to a touchdown.
This is where the wheels fell off the wagon.
UCLA saw their drive stall on their own 31 yard line and were faced with a fourth and 23. The Bruins made a gutsy call and instead of punting Perez threw the ball to a wide open Courtney Viney who came up a yard short giving Cal the possession of the football at the Bear 47.
Cal had a trick play of their own up their sleeves and went for it on first down. They pulled out one of the many versions of the flea flicker and the Bruin secondary bit and Riley just got the ball off and threw a deadly strike to wide receiver Nyan Boateng for a 53 yard touchdown.
UCLA's next drive was a disaster fit for a Halloween horror flick. Craft threw his fourth pick of the day and his second pick for six this one went into the waiting hands of Mike Mohamed who returned it 19 yards for another Bear touchdown.
Even a team that is as mentally tough as this young Bruin team this would be too much to overcome. The Bruins and Bears would exchange touchdowns to make the final score Cal 41, UCLA 20.
The defense played an outstanding game and kept the team in the game. The Bears scored 17 points on turnovers and another seven on a fake punt play that didn't work that essentially was like a turnover.
Not too many teams will football games with that many mistakes to overcome. It is back to the drawing board for the Bruins as this roller coaster season will start again when November rolls around.
The Bruins will have a bye week to lick their wounds and get healthy before taking on the Oregon State Beavers on November 8th at the Rose Bowl.