You probably missed the (9) Oregon/UCLA game on Saturday. It was regionalized by ABC, so essentially only the West Coast saw the entire game. West Virginia/UConn and Georgia/Georgia Tech were the other games and ABC affiliates jumped from the WVU blowout to the Georgia game instead of the Oregon/UCLA game. Turns out they did everyone a favor.
Keep in mind, before 72,434 people, the unranked Bruins were in the process of upsetting and shutting out the No. 9 ranked team in the country. Oregon hadn’t been shut out in 22 years*. UCLA, in the midst of a three-game losing streak, was on its fourth quarterback of the season, Osaar Rasshan, who was making only his second career start. Obviously, Oregon wasn’t the same without Dennis Dixon and a fully-healthy Jonathan Stewart, but they still should have outclassed the Bruins on talent alone. UCLA didn’t even play well and still won the game easily 16-0.
That doesn’t tell the full story. Despite being an upset of a top ten team by an unranked team and a game with fairly major BCS implications, what happened at the Rose Bowl on Saturday may have been the worst game ever played in modern football. Why the worst? There were no statistical records for futility set, but that’s the point. The game was so ugly and so bad that the teams couldn’t even suck with style.
Consider: combined, the UCLA and Oregon offenses gained only 368 yards. 148 for Oregon and 220 for UCLA. That’s right, the Bruins won a game in which they gained 220 yards on offense. Oregon, a dominant rushing team, rushed for 43 yards on 39 attempts, a 1.1 yard per carry average. UCLA was only slightly better at 3.1 yards per carry. Combined, the teams averaged 2.21 yards per carry (199 yards on 90 attempts). On third down, the teams were a combined 7 of 39 and 0/3 on fourth down. Amazingly, Oregon actually gained more first downs (12) than UCLA (10).
But that’s not all, folks. Five different quarterbacks threw passes in this game and were a grand total of 15/56 for 169 yards, 5 interceptions and no touchdowns. UCLA starter OsaarRasshan was 0/7 with an INT in the first half before being pulled in the second half in favor of Ben Olson (4/10, 64 yds, 1 INT). In Oregon’s defense, Brady Leaf was injured in the first quarter, but when he went out he was just 4/11 for 45 yards. The average pass play in this game averaged 2.7 yards. I can’t believe ABC didn’t show this game!
What, you thought we were done? UCLA won the game 16-0, mostly on the back of three field goals by kicker Kai Forbath, including a 54-yarder. But UCLA’s four scoring drives were as follows: 4 plays, -5 yards, 7 plays, 14 yards, 4 plays, 6 yards, and 4 plays, 31 yards (20 of which was on the touchdown run by Craig Sheppard).
Now for the coup de grace: the punters. Clearly they were busy in this game, since both offenses were barely FBS-worthy. Oregon’s punter Josh Syria punted 12 times for 505 yards and UCLA’s Aaron Perez punted 10 times for 464 yards. They had 9 punts stopped inside the 20 yardline between them, mostly because neither team crossed the 50 very much. When starting in their own territory, the Ducks and Bruins only crossed the 50 yard line with the ball six times – not counting times they were given the ball inside opposition territory – out of 32 possible possessions. UCLA crossed the 50 four times and Oregon twice … in the entire game.
In summary, Oregon and UCLA exhibited a not-so-entertaining level of ineptitude, and the hapless Bruins even managed to disappoint UCLA fan, including our legal adviser and resident UCLA alum, Booter (see his take in the weekly picks), even further because the win means Karl Dorrell may keep his job after all. Not that they’re sorry to see the Bruins win, it’s just their coach obviously sucks and now the only way he’s leaving is if UCLA keeps winning and “Koach Karl” gets the Nebraska job or something. All told, this was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad game. All it needed was a few flames and a guy with a pitchfork and finally it would have all made sense.
Now, let’s never speak of it again.
*Fixed the typo, thanks for the correction in the comments