Just One of Those Days

The lowest point of Texas's 34-12 loss to UCLA Saturday likely came well after the game was sealed.

The Bruins, attempting to run out the clock on a double-digit road win, ran the ball off tackle on a third-down play. And, as had happened throughout the game, the Longhorns (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) missed tackles, allowing running back Derrick Coleman to rush for a 29-yard cherry on top of the cake touchdown, giving the Bruins (2-2, 0-1 Pac-10) their 22-point margin of victory.

But what happened just after that really summed up the day. On the ensuing kickoff, returner D.J. Monroe booted the ball forward, where it was recovered by the Bruins. Kevin Prince then took a knee to end the game.

It was just one of those days for the Longhorns, who out-gained UCLA by more than 50 yards but turned the ball over five times and failed to convert fourth downs on two other occasions.

"This one is embarrassing for me," Texas coach Mack Brown said after the game. "As a head coach, I'm responsible for everybody in this program – from the trainers, to the managers, to the walk-ons, to the kids, to the coaches, everybody."

Brown called the game "a rear-kicking" and went on to say that the loss was "very similar to Kansas State a few years ago when we looked awful."

The victory marked Texas's first loss in Darrell K Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium since the 2007 season, and marked the first time UCLA has beaten a ranked team on the road since 2001.

But the game didn't start off badly for the Longhorns.

Keenan Robinson and Aaron Williams gave Texas its first scoring opportunity when they popped UCLA running back Jonathan Franklin. The ball popped up into the air and into the arms of Texas defensive end Sam Acho at the UCLA 19. Williams received credit for the forced fumble. The turnover led to a 31-yard Justin Tucker field goal.

Texas gave away a fumble of its own when Curtis Brown tried to field a punt inside the five. Sean Westgate knocked the ball loose, and Dalton Hilliard recovered it for the Bruins. UCLA then took the lead when Kevin Prince hit receiver Ricky Marvay for a one-yard score and a 7-3 lead. The Bruins extended that lead to 10-3 a few minutes later. After stuffing Texas on a fourth-down play, UCLA drove down the field, thanks to back-to-back 19-yard runs from backs Derrick Coleman and Jonathan Franklin. Kai Forbath ended the drive with a 39-yard field goal. Forbath booted a 49-yarder less than two minutes later after Texas turned the ball over on a fumbled exchange.

UCLA took a 13-3 advantage into halftime, though it could have been worse: Forbath missed a 49-yard field goal attempt and Williams snuffed another likely Bruin scoring drive when he stripped Prince just before the half. Emmanuel Acho fell on the loose ball.

But the Bruins continued that momentum after the half, taking the second-half kickoff and marching 80 yards in eight plays and taking a 20-3 lead on an 11-yard run from Franklin.

Texas finally responded, breaking the 20-point UCLA run when Tucker kicked his second field goal, this one from 34 yards out. It took all of three plays for the Bruins to answer. A big kick return by Josh Smith put the ball at the 50, and on UCLA's third play, Prince kept the ball on an option and ran 38 yards untouched for another touchdown and a 27-6 lead.

The Longhorns scored a late touchdown to cut into that lead, but missed the two-point conversion, setting up UCLA's final clinching score.

The yardage for each team was deceptive. Texas put up nearly 350 yards, but 80 of it came on Texas's touchdown drive late in the game, with Texas trailing 27-6. At the same time, UCLA had just 291 yards, but 214 came in the second half, including 193 second-half rushing yards on just 32 carries. Brown attributed that part to fatigue from spending too much time on the field, though the players weren't willing to bite.

"That wasn't a factor at all," said defensive end Eddie Jones.

Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp said he wasn't worried about the yardage.

"I'm worried about winning and losing," Muschamp said. "And we lost the game."

Brown blamed himself, though he said he didn't think it was an issue of preparation.

"I thought we were ready," Brown said. "I just thought we played poorly.

"I don't feel like right now, we're very good at anything."

Scoring Summary

UT – Justin Tucker 31 FG, 0:27 1Q

UCLA – Ricky Marvay 1 pass from Kevin Prince (Kai Forbath kick), 11:07 2Q

UCLA – Forbath 39 FG, 5:32 2Q

UCLA – Forbath 49 FG, 3:55 2Q

UCLA – Jonathan Franklin 11 run (Forbath kick), 11:25 3Q

UT – Tucker 34 FG, 2:14 3Q

UCLA – Prince 38 run (Forbath kick), 0:46 3Q

UT – James Kirkendoll 5 pass from Garrett Gilbert (pass failed), 2:28 4Q

UCLA – Derrick Coleman 29 run (Forbath kick), 0:53 4Q

Game Notes

* When searching for positives, several players cited the fact that the team didn't quit, playing hard until the cannon sounded. Another positive was the play of Aaron Williams, who kept Texas in the game through the first half by twice stripping UCLA players of the ball. He created Texas's first-half field goal by hammering the ball away from Bruin back Jonathan Franklin, then stopped a probable UCLA scoring drive just before halftime by stripping quarterback Kevin Prince.

* As much as the offense and the defense struggled, Texas's worst unit might have been its special teams. The Longhorns struggled in nearly every phase, fumbling away both a punt return and a kick return. The kick coverage team allowed a big return from Josh Smith that led to UCLA taking a 27-6 lead. And the punt return team gave away another possession when it was flagged for illegal substitution on a fourth-down play.

* The Longhorns must now get ready for next Saturday's rivalry game with Oklahoma. Mack Brown said he was worried about how the loss would damage the Longhorns' confidence, though all of the players said they were standing by the 24-hour rule.

"We're going to get over this game," Williams said. "UCLA will be behind us by tomorrow."

Horns Digest Top Stories