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Familiar Problems Plague Hoos in 34-16 Loss to UCLA

The Hoos fell to UCLA by a 34-16 score. If we're honest, the game wasn't even that close, as UCLA was better in every phase of the game. The Hoos led briefly, 3-0 before being plagued by the same issues that have plagued this team during the 5 years that Mike London has been our head coach.

Smoke broke the 100 yard mark.Receiving, not rushing.
Smoke broke the 100 yard mark.Receiving, not rushing.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Hoos opened the game strong, moving 60 yards on their opening drive and taking a 3-0 lead. They held UCLA to a 3-and-out and got the ball back.

And that is when the UVA we all know and love showed up. A pair of penalties on the Hoos next drive left the Hoos facing 3rd and 19. Surprising nobody, Matt Johns threw a screen pass to Smoke Mizzell and the Hoos were forced punt.

On the ensuing UCLA drive, the Hoos gave up a big pass play on a all-out blitz and a couple of plays later it was 7-3 Bruins. After trading punts, the Hoos had another nice drive, going 72 yards on 8 plays leading to another FG for a 7-6 deficit. The final play of the drive was a 3rd and 3 from the UCLA 15 yard line. The Hoos lined up in the shotgun with 2 RBs in the backfield with Johns. Once again, surprising nobody, Johns handed it off to a RB moving east-west and Albert Reid gained just a yard.

Speaking of Reid, the bally-hooed transfer from Maryland was a non factor. He rushed for just 31 yards on 12 carries. Not that Smoke was much better, rushing for 45 yards on 16 carries. All told, the Hoos rushed for just 98 yards on 34 carries, just a 2.9 yard average. That's not going to get it done. To be fair, UCLA's defensive line is probably the best they'll face all season long. That said, the Hoos OL was not impressive. Neither was Steve Fairchild's playcalling, which continues to be unoriginal, uninspired and unsuccessful. Until or unless he is removed, the Hoos offense will continue to struggle.

Matt Johns wasn't bad early on, but began to struggle once it became clear that the Hoos couldn't run the ball. Overall, he completed 21/35 for 238 yards with a TD and an INT. The TD was a late, garbage time TD to Smoke, who had 8 catches for 100 yards. Canaan Severin was also impressive, catching 5 passes for 58 yards. Redshirt freshman Evan Butts had 2 catches for 42 yards and looked impressive.

The story of the game was UCLA QB Josh Rosen. The true freshman was sensational, completing 28/35 for 351 yards and 3 TDs. He wasn't pressured much, despite the Hoos varying blitz packages. The few times he was pressured, he handled it well. He completed short passes, intermediate passes and deep passes. It will be interesting to see how his season goes from here, but for this day he was tremendous. If he plays like this all season, UCLA is a contender for the Playoffs.

This game is disappointing, but not surprising. UCLA was the better team, and they showed it. Both of their lines are elite in college football right now, and the Hoos simply couldn't compete in the trenches. The Hoos face another very good team next week when Notre Dame comes to Scott Stadium.