- UCLA won this game despite both the coaching staff and the officiating. Every decision Karl Dorrell makes is the wrong decision. He's simply in over his head as a game coach. How on earth do you burn a timeout to set up a fourth and one play, then run the crappy "try to draw them off" BS that they ended up running? The man is not a good head coach, and he should have been fired right after that play.
- The officials were awful. First they needed 10 minutes to review a play that never should have been reviewed in the first place. They called UCLA for an offensive pass interference call that even the guys in the truck couldn't find on a replay. They handed Berkeley a touchdown on a play where Desean Jackson never actually caught the ball. And somehow six referees didn't see a trip in full speed that a million viewers did. It was the most obvious trip call I've ever seen. It cost UCLA a first down, possibly a touchdown, and almost the game.
- The run defense was awesome. They dominated Justin Forsett for the majority of the game, and Berkeley really only ran the ball well out of the shutgun. The run defense was one of the major difference makers today.
- There's something about Pat Cowan that just makes the team play better. I can't explain it. Apparently it doesn't come through in practice. It may have nothing to do with his physical ability, but there's something about the way the team plays when he's in the game that works better than when Ben Olson is in the game. I really like Ben Olson, and I was jazzed when he committed to UCLA, but the team simply moves the ball better with Cowan. And it's probably just coincidence, but the defense seems to have played better when Cowan's been in there as well.
- Berkeley is a very good team, but they run a pro-style offense, which the Bruins can handle. It's the tricky stuff that gets them, and today, the defense won the game. Although the turnover battle was relatively even, Berkeley's were bigger, and obviously the ATV interception return at the end was the difference. The Horton pick was nice, but unnecessary.
- I don't have the numbers in front of me, but it seems that one big difference today from what we've seen lately were negative plays, or a lack thereof. Cowan excelled today in two key areas: he didn't turn the ball over with ill-advised throws, or tipped passes that become picks, and at worst, he got the ball back to the line of scrimmage. It's a little thing, often overlooked, but there's a big difference between 2nd and 10 and 2nd and 15, especially with their limitations when it comes to gaining yards in chunks. Cowan gets the ball back the line of scrimmage, and that makes a big difference.
- Like or not, the Bruins are 4-0 in conference, though they close with their three toughest games. I'd love for them to win the Pac 10 and go to the Rose Bowl, but it probably means Dorrell will come back. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I mean, I want him gone, but I can't root for the Bruins to lose. Maybe they'll face the Illini, who will then kill UCLA and get Dorrell fired. That may be the best possible end to the season. I could live with that.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
UC Berkely 21; UCLA 29
Thought I'd get some thoughts down on this one before I get too drunk to remember what happened: