Saturday, September 01, 2007


...Is Stanford that bad or UCLA that good? I'm guessing a little bit of both. The offense looked very good. Indeed, Ben Olson threw for five touchdowns, and if his 289 yards sounds less than impressive, it probably because as a team, the Bruins ran for 338 yards, 195 of which were accumulated by Khalil Bell. They were extremely efficient, averaging about eight yards per play. Olson found nine different receivers, none of whom were Osaar Rashaan.

On the other side of the ball, for the first few drives that I saw, I was left unimpressed. Of course, I happened to miss a good first quarter, and tuned in during the lackluster second quarter - or rather, Comcast pre-empted the beginning of the game to bring us Cubs post-game. The line wasn't getting a ton of pressure, and Trey Brown made some nice break-ups that were borderline interference, which isn't to say he was lucky they weren't called. Rather, the point is that college officials, especially Pac Ten officials, suck, and they'll often call interference on those plays.

But in the second half, the defense really picked up. Stanford never got anything going on the ground, finishing with only 52 yards for the game. T.J. Ostrander had Bruins in his face for much of the game, and his 330 yards passing were more a function of one big play, and a UCLA offense that put enough points on the board to force Stanford into a game of catch-up.

Ultimately, it's an excellent start. It's hard to judge just how good a team is before they play a few games, at which point we can evaluate their opponents as well. And with Michigan's huge blunder, and Notre Dame's embarrassment, the Bruins aren't likely to make a splash in the media. But they'll move up in the polls, and they've done nothing to show that they are somewhere other than where they belong. The defense faces a sterner test next week against BYU at the Rose Bowl.

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