Bruins still a work in progress

September 7, 2018 ▪ By Ray Dozier

Thirty-two years ago after beating UCLA, 38-3, OU linebacker Brian Bosworth exclaimed that the Bruins were a “legitimate doormat.” After losing last weekend, as a two-touchdown favorite, the Bruins look like another legitimate doormat when they come to Norman for a noon kickoff on FOX.

Cincinnati came to the Rose Bowl last Saturday and spoiled rookie coach Chip Kelly’s debut at UCLA with a 26-17 victory. Bruin starting QB Wilton Speight, who led UCLA to a 10-0 first-quarter lead, left the game in the second period with an injury. Speight was 8 of 12 for 45 yards when he was sidelined. Freshman backup Dorian Thompson-Robinson completed 15 of 25 for 117 yards, but neither QB threw for a touchdown. Neither threw for more than 16 yards.

No word on who Kelly will start at QB on Saturday.

The Bruins gained 144 on the ground, but 74 came on freshman Kazmeir Allen’s TD run. The team’s other carries averaged 2.3 per pop.

The Bearcats put up 304 yards—194 from that came on the ground and without starting running back Gerrid Doaks.

UCLA’s senior safety Adarius Pickett led his squad with 15 tackles and sophomore linebacker Jaelan Phillips had 9 stops with a sack. The Bruins totaled 4 sacks in the game.

The Sooners’ offense might be one of the best in the nation in their 63-14 shellacking of Florida Atlantic. OU’s defense didn’t make many busts, especially after the first series.

The offense clicked on all cylinders with Kyler Murray taking over at QB. The offense made 10.5 yards each time it touched the ball. Murray was 9 of 11 for 209 yards and a couple of TDs. He also made a couple of throws threading the needle in heavy coverage, plus he scrambled and weaved his way for 15 yards and a first down in the Sooners’ first series. He will be a great compliment to a list of great skill players this year.

Oklahoma jumped to a 42-0 halftime lead and 56-0 late in the third quarter. The Owls got a couple of touchdowns against the reserve Sooner defense. The D held FAU to 324 total yards, 174 less than its average a year ago. OU’s d-backs didn’t allow Owl receivers to slip by them on many plays.

Corner Parnell Motley led the defense with 7 tackles, but linebacker Curtis Bolton was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week for his effort of 6 stops (3 were unassisted). He also scored a touchdown when Lee Morris blocked an FAU punt for a 14-0 lead in the opening frame.

Robert Barnes got the game’s only interception, and freshmen Ronnie Perkins (DE) and Brendan Radley-Hiles (NB) made everyone happy about the future of the defense.

“We got a group of young players that got viable experience,” Mike Stoops said after the game. “It’s a good team to work from. I thought the preparation was good. It’s going to prepare us for a lot that we see in this league.

“It all starts with effort. We’ve talked a lot about that. That’s where it all starts–your attitude and your effort–and I thought that was all good. Structurally, I thought, for the most part, we were pretty good. There were some missed assignments out there. Overall, I thought we hustled. Tackling was just kind of so-so. That can happen in the first game. We have to tackle better. But overall, pleased with our overall effort against a pretty good offensive football team.”

UCLA is still learning Chip Kelly’s system and isn’t yet a good offense. He needs time to build his team, and it should not be long to see the Bruins making noise in the Pac-12. In four seasons at Oregon, Kelly led Oregon to a 44-7 mark and two Pac-12 titles before falling flat in the NFL. Although UCLA is off to a rocky start, Kelly should have a better team next year when the Sooners invade the Rose Bowl. Oklahoma should still have a great team then, too.

Look for the pistons of OU’s offense to continue firing with a bunch of points Saturday, and the defense to capitalize on its success from last week.

Sooners 52, Bruins 13.

Fast Facts

  • OU leads the series, 3-1.
  • OU is favored by 30.
  • Lincoln Riley is 13-2 (.867) overall; 6-1 at home; 9-1 vs. unranked opponents.
  • Chip Kelly is 46-8 (.852) overall; 0-1 at UCLA; Kelly was 14-4 vs. ranked foes as Oregon’s coach.
  • OU is 5-0 in games played on September 8.
  • UCLA is 4-3 in games played on September 8.
  • OU and UCLA met once on September 8, and the Sooners won, 34-14, in Pasadena.

Articles by Ray Dozier