The Rose Bowl, sort of…

<p>Believe it or not somewhere in this game there was some good football played. That's right, in between dropped passes, penalties, after blown interceptions, and perhaps just by the bad pass protection, there was some well played downs.

Early on senior Jon Beutjer of the Illini didn't look like the Davey O'Brien watchlist player that he was assumed to be. Beutjer tossed up three interceptions, but that's not to say he didn't deliver a few good strikes. Actually to his credit and UCLA's Drew Olson's, both quarterbacks threw several good passes only to have them dropped. Potential stars on both sides of the ball let well thrown balls fall from there hands including WR Craig Bragg, who dropped a deep pass off a blown coverage by the Illini, and in the same respect Kelvin Hayden for Illinois dropped what could have set up a potential score. The pass seemingly hit Hayden in the chest, then his hands and Beujter settling for another incomplete pass. Christian Morton dropped two potential interceptions perhaps proving the weaknesses of the Illini secondary. In addition to that Morton also dropped a punt which the Bruins eventually gained possession of. Morton would be pulled from punt return duties the rest of the night.

However, there were some high points to the game. Just as one would think of a game that was decided by field goals, both defenses were getting the job done when it counted the most. Senior DE Derrick Strong would lead a resurgence of the Illinois defense late in the third quarter with an important sack and tackle for loss in the same possession. The Fighting Illini did allow over 100 yards on the ground, mostly late in the game. Both teams did a good job getting pressure on the opposing Quarterback, as Olson was sacked 5 times, even though Beutjer was only sacked once, his face was in the grass of the Rose Bowl far more often than he have would like. Both teams developed some well thought-out blitz packages, as Junior LB Matt Sinclair of the Illini was in Olson's face more than a few times, and UCLA held the lead rusher of Illinois, E.B. Halsey, to under 3 yards per carry until late in the game. Both teams seemed to resort to short gains as the ball rarely seemed to cross the 30 yard line of either team, Ron Turner accredited the Bruins strong defense for shutting down his normally high scoring offense.

In the end the game was decided by a missed 43 yard field goal by the Illini's John Gockman which had plenty of distance and was wide left, but the game wasn't simply on Gockman's shoulders. The Illini failed to capitalize on good field position several times, and the Bruins seemingly abandoned the run on their last drive despite Manuel White averaging over 5 yards per carry, which gave Illinois the chance, although it was a missed one, to win.

The Bruins pulled out this poor offensively played game in a 6-3 victory over the Illini. Now Ron Turner has to turn his team around as they head home with a losing record (1-2). The Illini need to get a win next week against Cal or they will go into conference play much like they did a year ago.

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