But the good fortunes didn't last, as the Bruins found new life in the second stanza. "When we turned that ball over in the first series of the second half, it gave them some life that they hadn't had. They really hadn't earned a touchdown, yet they were in the game 16-14. After that, we never stopped them. I felt like we were rolling down a hill and couldn't get the breaks on."
On the Huskies ensuing drive, they marched right down the field and again disaster struck. "We had a chance to take the lead with a beautiful drive, then we jumped offsides and ended up throwing an interception for no points." The ball bounced off of Zach Tuiasosopo right into Rodney Leisle's hands. "Pretty much after that, the game was over," said Gilbertson.
Reggie Williams only had two catches in the second half, but it wasn't by design. "We had a lot of stuff called to him. He wanted the ball and it just didn't get there," said Gilbertson. "I didn't see any new things from UCLA's defense in the second half. There were some routes that I thought were wide open and the ball should have gone there, but I'm not playing quarterback. Cody was as sharp as a tack in the first half, but we couldn't buy one in the second half. It was very frustrating."
Also adding to the demise in the third quarter was the Huskies' field position. "We really struggled with field position. We were backed up a lot."
According to Gilbertson, one of the keys for the Huskies going in was to keep WR Craig Bragg under control. "He had a big catch in the first half, then he got the big streak in the second half. That was just a beautiful catch. He had a big night."
Another source of frustration for the head coach was not being able to stop UCLA in third and long situations. "We could not get them out of drives. They controlled the second half, totally, since the turnover (after halftime)."
Gilbertson thought they had a good plan going in, reiterated how well his team played in the first half, but stressed the devastating effect of turning the ball over in the endzone. Speaking of that fumble in the endzone, Gilbertson tried to explain what happened. "We blew our safest protection. We don't have a safer protection than the one we were in. I'm not sure why."
After controlling the first half, the Huskies were still only up by 9 points. "I am very upset about our red zone performance tonight. We've got to get touchdowns out of those drives that are very efficient. You can't get just field goals, you have to get the ball into the endzone," said Gilbertson.
He also mentioned the amount of penalties that were called and, sometimes, not called. "It seemed like every time they threw a flag that would've worked for us, the referees picked it up."
Focusing on next week, Gilbertson warns next week is a huge game. "I told our players that you can either go in the tank or you can crank it up. It looks like with all the scenarios that the non-conference record is going to be very important."
As far as what went wrong, the coach wants a closer look. "We need to get a good look at this video and find out why this thing unraveled like it did when we were just totally controlling this game.