I had a chance to go to the Rose Bowl today to catch the BYU cougars take on the ucla bruins. My brother married a mormon girl who's entire family are BYU alums, so they bought some tickets for us in the BYU section.
Usually when I go to the Rose Bowl, I deck myself out in full USC attire and try to fly my USC flag proudly in enemy territory. This year was no exception. I expected to get the usual expletives thrown at me, but to my surprise, the bruins were pretty mild today. Maybe they were on their good behavior for all those nice LDS people from Utah.
First off, sitting the in BYU section was fun. They are a spirited bunch, and even in defeated were cheering their team on for a valiant effort.
My observations on the game:
Ben Olson was flat. He has a decent arm, but was easily rattled when pressured, and when the BYU crowd started chanting his name. He is not a threat to scramble the way Cowan was. The bruins made a mistake with this guy as the starter. Give him time and he can make a play, pressure him and he falls apart. Maybe he will turn things around, but I think Cowan is the more dangerous QB of the two. If you don't cover Cowan, he can take off and burn you for 5-8 yards. Ben Olson's slow feet will never be a threat like that.
The ucla running game was nothing flashy. The rushed for over 100 yards, but were stopped from making some key first downs in the 3rd quarter.
The receivers had a few dropped balls, but were nothing special. There were no touchdown passes in the game.
Rushing defense was awesome. BYU was completely shut down on the ground. If you want to put up big numbers on ucla, you're going to need to pound out some yardage on the ground, and 44 yards just isn't going to get the job done for any team.
Passing defense was doing all the hard work since BYU had to abandon their running game. The bruins got lit up for roughly 400 yards in the air, and Max Hall played about as well as he could for his 2nd college start. I don't know if the bruin secondary is a weak link, or if they just were tired from being attacked all night long, but you can move the ball on them.
ucla special teams-
The punter was not good. He was kicking the ball 40 yards, and had a couple of good bounces.
The field goal unit was perfect on the day, but really wasn't tested from long distances.
None of the kickoffs landed in the endzone, so their kickoff guy has a pretty average leg. Their coverage was good, so BYU didn't have any big returns.
ucla's offense probably isn't going to put up big points on the ranked opponents that it faces. Their offense is the weak link on their team. It all depends on whether or not Ben Olson and his receivers can really mount an efficient passing attack, or are they just going to do what Dorrell's teams always do, which is ultimately break down, roll over, and die.
ucla's defense is going to win their games for them. They need to get turnovers, and score points for the bruins to make a move to a BCS bowl game. They can stop the run, but can they shore up the holes in their secondary that BYU exposed today.
Basically if we score 20 points on the bruins, I think we will win. I really don't see these guys putting up more than 17 on us.