UCLA’s defense produced a second half shutout against Colorado in a 44-20 Pac-12 South victory at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, after a first half that started to look eerily similar to their last two games.
UCLA allowed Utah and Oregon’s offenses at least 121 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns respectively in those games.
Running backs Jarek Broussard and Alex Fontenot led the Buffaloes with two touchdowns and 114 of their 155 total first half rushing yards to help establish a 20-10 lead at halftime over the Bruins.
“We felt confident when we were in (the locker room) at halftime,” UCLA coach Chip Kelly said. “There weren’t a lot of adjustments. We just had to play our game and I think all three phases really played their game in the second half.”
The defense held the Buffaloes to 38 total rushing yards in the second half, complementing the 37 unanswered points from the Bruins’ offense, which scored touchdowns on the first four drives after halftime to help turn things in their favor.
“They did a nice job,” Colorado coach Karl Dorrell said. “I take my hat off to them. They made the right adjustments at halftime. We thought we were making the right adjustments, but, of course, it didn’t work out that way.”
“I don’t think they really changed what they were doing,” Colorado tight end Brady Russell said. “They pressured pretty much every play, which is what we expected. Especially with a young guy back in the pocket I think he did a great job. We just have to do a better job protecting him.”
UCLA defensive back Qwuantrezz Knight sacked Colorado quarterback Brendon Lewis in the third quarter before defensive lineman Odua Isibor would sack Lewis twice in the fourth quarter, including one that forced a fumble and was recovered by linebacker Mitchel Agude.
It was Isibor’s first two sacks of the season, and his first since the 2019 conference game against Stanford.
“We felt in the first half we were giving them free points and yards,” UCLA defensive back Stephan Blaylock said. “We went into the lab room and made a few adjustments to come out stronger and faster and play harder. Simple as that.”
Blaylock recorded 11 tackles against Colorado for a second consecutive season, matching his career-high, while Knight and safety Quentin Lake had six tackles each.
“We definitely had a momentum change,” Lake said. “I think we have a different morale on this team in the sense that we’re always going to fight, we’re always going to finish.
“That was kind of the motto going into the second half and we clearly did a good job on that. Thirty-seven points unanswered. I’m proud of how the boys worked and how we came out in the second half so just trying to keep the momentum going into next week.”
The Bruins will play against USC for the Victory Bell, which has been in the Trojans’ possession since 2019.
“We still have two regular season games to go and they’re really important games for us,” Kelly said. “We prepare during the week and compete on Saturdays. We’ll go back over the tape and start our preparation for our next opponent.”
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