Two things have dogged the UCLA football program for the first three weeks of the season: the coronavirus and sales.
The virus has threatened or affected every game with positive tests, and Bruins’ game against Utah on Nov. 14 had to be canceled.
The Bruins scored their biggest hit on Saturday, losing several players, including starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, but the team held their own. a loss of 38-35 against then-no. 11 Oregon.
Quarterback Chase Griffin managed to make the offense in his debut as a starter, completing 19 of 31 passes for 195 passing yards and one touchdown. He had only three incompleteness in the first half.
Griffin’s plug-and-play, replacing Thompson-Robinson, speaks to the recruitment by Coach Chip Kelly and his staff.
“We try to recruit in that mode,” said Kelly. ‘Our quarterbacks are comparable. The big difference is that Chase had never played, so no one knew what you were going to get, but I was really proud of what he did today. ”
Members of the Bruins’ offense also welcomed Griffin’s efforts to prepare at short notice.
“Chase is a gamer,” said Demetric Felton, running back. “He’s really cool, calm and collected. Nothing really changed for me (and the run game), I trusted him and I knew he would give his best. I am extremely proud of him and I am ready to see what’s next. ”
Felton produced career highs in carry (34), rushing yards (167), and touchdowns (2) against the Ducks.
After his second college appearance, the first to come in relief against Cal on November 15 in the final minutes, Griffin admitted that he should play better when his next chance presents itself.
Griffin’s two interceptions and a fumble were among the four turnovers that turned the Ducks into points and helped secure their 38-35 win.
While looking for the best scenario, taking a lead at half time, the Bruins got the worst scenario.
Oregon returned an interception for a touchdown at the end of the half, giving the Ducks a 24-21 lead at half time.
“We just need to get the coach to stop making bad calls at the end of the first half,” Kelly said of his own playcalling during the post-game interview.
Qwuantrezz Knight fumbled in the first quarter on a 21-yard kick return. Knight would make up for his turnover, with a 20-yard scoop-and-score to level the game at 14 after Nicholas Barr-Mira’s PAT with 13:21 left in the second quarter.
UCLA will have a chance to regroup from coronavirus and revenue concerns against Arizona (0-2) at the Rose Bowl on Saturday (5pm). The Wildcats have lost a program-record of nine consecutive games with Kevin Sumlin at the helm.
The Wildcats’ season opener was canceled due to a coronavirus outbreak within the Utah program and has remained reasonably healthy.