PASADENA, Calif. — UCLA came into this game on a high horse after defeating crosstown rival USC last week but were brought back to earth losing their final Pac-12 game, 33-7, to Cal.
UCLA (7-5, 4-5 Pac-12) played one of their worst games of the year at home against Cal (6-6, 4-5 Pac-12). This loss mirrored their performance a couple weeks ago against Arizona State.
It all started during the first drive when starting quarterback Ethan Garbers went down with an injury to his throwing arm. The Bruins were driving down the field for a potential score. The very first play freshman Dante Moore entered the game he threw an interception.
“Ethan is a really, really good football player and a tremendous competitor. I thought on the first drive we moved the ball really well, and then when Garbs went down, we’ve got to move on. That’s football,” said coach Chip Kelly. “You cannot make an excuse because we lost a player. It’s just the way the game goes sometimes, and you have to have next-man-up mentality. That is what we’ve done.”
Moore and the offense struggled throughout the game. The running game could only muster up 81 yards while Moore finished 23 of 38 for 276 yards with a touchdown and turned the ball over three times (two interceptions & one fumble). He was also sacked six times.
The Bruins actually led the game in the second quarter after star defensive end Laiatu Latu intercepted a pass and returned it to Cal’s eight-yard line. Three plays late Moore threw his only touchdown when he found senior wide receiver Logan Lola for a five-yard score putting UCLA up, 7-6. Loya was one of the positives for UCLA on offense as he finished with nine catches for 88 yards with the touchdown.
Thats all the success the Bruins would see the rest of the game.
“Yeah, we obviously didn’t – special teams tonight had a kickoff return for a touchdown. We fumbled a kickoff. From a special teams standpoint and an offensive standpoint, again, we moved the ball but we didn’t convert that into points. I think that we wasted a really good effort from our defense” said Kelly.
Cal would go on to score 27 unanswered points surprising the Rose Bowl crowd with the convincing victory.
This loss will increase speculation about Chip Kelly’s future despite last week’s victory over USC. Kelly is 34-34 in six seasons in Westwood.
“I don’t worry about that. I don’t worry about the dynamic. I know that this team has gone 24-13 in the last two years, and they’ve competed every single day. I am proud of every single kid in that locker room, and I think they represent this school the right way,” said Kelly.
The Bruins now await to see where and who they will matchup with for their final bowl game representing the Pac-12.