While the UCLA football program is still running without any players as a result of tracking down contact with the coronavirus, the team has found a successful balance where offense and defense complement each other.
In the event of an attack, UCLA’s backfield has borne most of the burden for the past two weeks, while starters like quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson stay out.
The duo of Demetric Felton and Brittain Brown have kept the attack forward on the field and on the scoreboard.
Felton has set record highs in his career in several hasty categories in the past two games, including the 206 yards he had against Arizona on Saturday.
“I was very happy for (Felton),” said Kelly. “He has worked really hard since switching to running and has really turned himself into a quality back.”
Brown scored two touchdowns for the Bruins, including a 16-yard reception on a pass from quarterback Chase Griffin, which produced the lead they wouldn’t give up for the rest of the evening. It was only the second touchdown catch in the grad transfer’s career, with the first coming in 2018 when he played with Duke.
Kelly is also impressed with the way others have contributed to helping the duo move the ball across the field.
Griffin, made his second start in a row for the Bruins and managed to take the offensive in the win.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Griffin. “As a quarterback I play in every situation, but I have two backs that are really ready to go, and an offensive and tight line ends up in front that are ready to block, and receivers on the outside that are ready to play, it makes it it’s a lot easier. ”
Arizona defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads, who spent the past two seasons as the Bruins ‘defensive back coach, was well aware of the Bruins’ potential on attack.
“(Rhoads) made some really good adjustments at half time,” said Kelly. ‘They’ve done a few things. And then we had to thwart their countertops. ”
The Bruins scored 20 points in the first half, but were eliminated in the third quarter and held on to seven points in the fourth, which came on UCLA’s last possession of the game.
“We shut them down until that last run,” said Arizona linebacker Anthony Pandy. “(Rhoads) made the adjustments we needed. He is a great (coordinator). And we came out and played hard. ”
Pandy was the Wildcats’ second best tackler with nine tackles. The Rhoads defense yielded three tackles for a defeat, but failed to sack against the Bruins on Saturday.
The Bruins’ defense faced an unexpected situation beyond what they had been preparing for all week, after Arizona’s starting quarterback Grant Gunnell was injured in the first play of scrimmage. Freshman Will Plummer would finish the rest of the game for the Wildcats, but it didn’t change what the Bruins did defensively.
“I think the way they used Plummer was the same as Grant,” Kelly said. “They weren’t afraid to put him in and put him in the mix.”
The Bruins put pressure on Plummer during the game, causing him to scramble. He finished the night with 49 meters and was the second leader of the Wildcats.
“They were under pressure from a lot of rim pressure, corner blitzes, internal pressure,” said Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin. “It’s clear his mobility helps him escape in those situations and he’s taken advantage of that.”
Defensive back Obi Eboh and linebacker Mitchell Agude each picked up a bag on Plummer. Agude also forced two fumbles.
The secondary also took advantage of airborne opportunities, intercepting two of Plummer’s passes in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.