Just how bad of a boss is Barry Alvarez?! In a game that Jake Hall will never forget, the Bruins eased past the worst team in the league. It was over pretty much the second the automatic Ka’imi Fairbairn kicked the field goal to put UCLA up 3-0, though by our garbage time calculations the Beavers held out all the way to the opening drive of the second half. Statistically, it was easily the most dominant defensive performance of the Pac-12 season for the Bruins, and once it got in gear the offense played slightly better than it had in any game so far (even the Arizona game). After the Bruins had a ton of trouble with the second-worst team in the Pac-12 last week, it was nice to get an uneventful blowout win in inclement weather on the road going into the Divisional Quarterfinals of the UCLA Personal Rose Bowl Championship Playoff.
As always, we use:
- Yards Per Stop to measure efficiency
- Yards Per Play to measure explosiveness
- Points Per Drive to measure scoring
- Points Per Trip Inside the 40 to measure drive finishing
- Field Position Margin to measure field position
- Turnover Margin to measure turnovers
It took a little while, but once the UCLA offense got in gear it pounded Oregon State, with both long drives and lightning strike big plays. 130 Yards Per Stop was 5 yards more than the Bruins have managed in any previous games this season. After being forced to punt on the opening two drives, the Bruins scored on 7 consecutive drives and put the game out of reach. Kalani Sitake is a very good defensive coordinator, but this ain’t 2014 Utah (or even 2013 Utah).
As bad as Oregon State is, this was the best offensive performance by any team against the Beavers this year by some margin. Washington State dropped 104 Yards Per Stop on the Beavers and Arizona averaged 8.0 Yards Per Play, but Josh Rosen and company were able to best even those lofty marks. As we enter the business end of the season, the UCLA offense looks ready to roll as a very good, Top 25-level unit.
Facing their third quarterback with no throwing ability of the season (UNLV and Arizona’s backups being the other two), the UCLA defense was every bit as dominant as the Bruin offense. A week after allowing the mediocre Colorado offense to be pretty efficient, the Bruins held the Beavers to 18 Yards Per Stop and only one drive before garbage time of over 33 yards. Even mighty Michigan was unable to hold the Beavers below 20 Yards Per Stop, so this was a very good bounce back efficiency prevention effort.
The UCLA defense continued their modus operandi of taking away the big play, as Oregon State couldn’t even break 4 Yards Per Play. Only Michigan and Arizona held OSU below the 3.9 Yards Per Play the Beavers averaged against UCLA, so this was a very good performance even adjusting for the opponent’s level. Oregon State’s one pre-garbage time sojurn into scoring position ended in a fumble. Despite the injuries, the Bruin defense is now pretty solidly a Top 50 level unit.
Somehow despite the Bruins’ dominance on both sides of the ball, the Average Starting Field Position was exactly even. Ka’imi Fairbairn did a great job of kickoffs and the coverage teams did a good job keeping Victor Bolden in check, while Ishmael Adams had a very good return on the one Oregon State kickoff of the game.
The Bruins made it into the positive turnover margin for the season, taking advantage of Nick Mitchell’s mistakes to go +4 in this game. The Bruins were probably a little lucky to pick off 3 of the 6 passes they got their hands on (the national mean suggests that teams average an interception/passes defensed rate of 20%, though there is a pretty wide range).
Remember a few years ago when an inclement weather game against a mediocre team was maybe a 50/50 shot at best? Things are pretty good. Things can get a lot better if the Bruins can handle pirate/native american enthusiast and moderately successful author Mike Leach on Senior Night in the Rose Bowl.
Questions? Comments? Meet us on the Premium Football Forum or tweet us @Bruinalytics.