I'm not really sure what there is to say that hasn't already been said. There's an old addage (and if there's not, then I'm going to make one up) that says when you play not to lose, you usually end up losing. Well guess what? After a fourth down stop with just over two minutes to go, the Bruins decided the best course of action was to put money on the Irish not having enough time to drive the length of the field. Bad decision.
As with any typical UCLA loss, mistakes played a major role, and this game was no different. Lost in the hoopla of the impending victory and sudden defeat was the fact that the winning margin was a field goal made, then missed by Justin Medlock in the first quarter, the successful attempt called back on a false start. But otherwise, the game was suprisingly mistake, well, not quite free, but let's just say there weren't too many mistakes. Only two turnovers on offense, and very few penalties in a tough building in which to play. The defense generally picked up the slack after turnovers.
But in the last few minutes, Karl Dorrell and DeWayne Walker (who really looked like a genius all day), decided to tense up, play conservative, and hope ND wouldn't wake up. Dorrell's three straight "just don't fumble" running plays, and Walker's prevent defense awoke the sleeping giant, and the rest, as they say, is history.
A couple other stats really stand out. Neither team ran the ball all that well, but UCLA completely shut down Darius Walker, and sacked Quinn five times. Their defensive line was very impressive. But the stat that I have yet to hear anyone mention is 4-5. That was Notre Dame on FOURTH down conversions. When you stop an offensive as strong as ND's on three plays, you HAVE to get the ball back, and UCLA continually allowed ND to extend drives that they should have ended.
In the end, two coaches called plays like they were concerned about what they'd read in the paper the next day. Go conservative. Play not to lose. It's what any coach would do, right?
There's no points for trying hard.