As the UCLA Bruins head into a well-deserved bye week, they stand at 3-1, just outside the AP top 25 poll, despite briefly gracing that prestigious list in Weeks 3 and 4. The most recent game, a showdown against Utah on the road, presented a formidable test for the Bruins, particularly on the offensive front.
Throughout the game, the UCLA offense struggled to gain positive yardage consistently. Quarterback Dante Moore often found himself under relentless pressure from the Utes defense. However, in the midst of offensive woes, the Bruins’ defense stood tall, allowing only one offensive touchdown by the Utes.
The defensive unit has been a consistent stronghold for UCLA this season, holding opponents to just 13, 10, 7, and 14 points in their four games. Their impressive numbers paint a picture of a formidable defensive force. They currently rank eighth in opponents’ points, seventh in opponent yards, first in opponent yards per play, fourth in opponent red zone scoring, and fourth in opponent rushing yards.
Despite these promising indicators, a couple of Bruin insiders are still suspect of the Bruins’ defense as they approach the bye week. While the defense has shown flashes of being a great defense, they recognize the need to maintain this level of performance consistently, especially against Pac-12 opponents and beyond.
And they have a point; the Utah offense wasn’t the offense we’ve become accustomed to the past two years, and their previous opponents weren’t juggernauts either. The true test of their mettle will come when they face off against the 16th-ranked Washington State in their next matchup at the iconic Rose Bowl.
“I say they’ve played well; let’s say they’re better than the defenses in recent UCLA history. I came into the Utah game thinking that the entire team was still a bit untested and unproven. I’m still gonna go with that a little on the defense; that’s still a little untested and unproven. The Utah offense was not a potent one. So that’s where I’m sitting right now as we go into this bye week.”
As the season unfolds, we’ll eagerly watch to see if this Bruins team can continue their impressive defensive showing and rise to the occasion against tougher adversaries on the horizon.