After UCLA defeated Tennessee, 27-24, on Sept. 1, the Bruins apparently forgot how to play football, scoring only 10 points in two games since. As a team, the Bruins were outscored 90-10 in losses to BYU (59-0) and Arizona (31-10).
“This is demoralizing,” UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel said in the post-game news conference after the Arizona game. “We have some problems. There are no quick fixes.”
Despite an improved running game and flashes on defense, UCLA indeed had “some problems.” The offense had 196 total yards and punted 11 times. Special teams struggled on punt returns.
Arizona quarterback Willie Tuitama (222 yards, 3 touchdowns) found receivers for huge gains. Bruin quarterback Kevin Craft (15-for-31, 81 yards) struggled to get into rhythm.
Whether UCLA will be able to address these weaknesses before its next home game, Sept. 27 against Fresno State, is questionable.
“I’m optimistic,” Neuheisel said. “There is light at the end of the tunnel.”
NOTE: USC had a bye week, its second and final bye of the season.
Dodgers, Giants Drag Out Playoff Race
The San Francisco Giants hoped to dash the Dodgers’ postseason hopes by wearing them down. After the Giants won Friday 7-1, both teams dueled it out in an epic, four-hour slugfest on Saturday, with the Dodgers winning 10-7.
In Sunday’s rubber match, San Francisco held on to win 1-0 in 11 innings. Neither team scored for more than three hours.
The Dodgers lost two of three to the Giants, but still lead the NL West. The team can thank recently acquired Manny Ramirez, who hit two home runs and had five RBIs on Saturday, for keeping L.A.’s playoff hopes alive.
Ramirez, who during the series became just the fifth player in Major League history to hit 15 home runs for two teams in the same season, just wants to win.
“Every game counts,” he said. “Everyone has to play hard.”
The Dodgers conclude their final home series against San Diego this week before traveling to San Francisco for the final three games of the season.