For the first time since the opener, the Bruins were able to breathe a little easier as they went up to dreaded Pullman and walloped the Washington State Cougars 43-7. The good news is the Bruins did not play their best game yet, and that bodes well for the last two games as UCLA hopes to gain a bowl berth.
"I feel like we're making progress, but there are still things to fix," UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel said. "We are going home to get ourselves ready for possible sixth win.
"We put ourselves in position these last two weeks to have a winning season," Neuheisel said. "Now we got to press the pedal all the way to the floor to get it done."
Probably the most promising development of this game was UCLA's fast start. Even in the opener against San Diego State, the Bruins made their fans stress for the first quarter until they took control of the game.
The game started out brightly for UCLA as sophomore linebacker, Akeem Ayers jumped into the passing lane and picked off his first pass of the day.
UCLA's offense made quick work of Wazzu's turnover when Bruin quarterback Kevin Prince threw a strike to sophomore wide receiver, Taylor Embree for a 27 yard touchdown.
The Cougars were their own worst enemy as they turned the ball over again this time it was Rahim Moore picking off the pass, his ninth of the season, but the Bruins weren't to capitalize because of issues that have plagued them all season long, drive killing penalties, as the Bruins were called for holding.
For a moment it looked UCLA's defense was going to succumb to the big play as they gave up a 24 yard run by Dwight Tardy, but Brian Price would have nothing of that on the very next play, he tackled Tardy for a two yard loss.
That was followed, by Cougar quarterback Marshall Lobbestael's third interception of the game and the second to Ayers who once again jumped into the passing lane for the pick giving the Bruins excellent field position at the Cougar 32.
UCLA once again made the Cougars pay on Chane Moline's first of three touchdowns on the night.
You knew things were aligned right for the Bruins when, Prince broke off the team's second longest run of the season when he raced 68 yards for a score.
It was very apparent the rout was on. The Bruins were able to get two more points when sophomore Sean Westgate blocked a punt out of the end zone for a safety making the score 23-0.
With the clock at 1:22 left in the first half, Prince orchestrated an outstanding two minute drive marching the Bruins down the field setting up a Kai Forbath 37 yard field goal with only two seconds left on the clock.
Not all was true, blue for UCLA as they allowed another big play to allow the Cougars score their only points of the contest on a Kevin Lopina 46 yard touchdown pass to Jeffrey Solomon, but that was it as the Bruins dominated the rest of the way.
The Bruins had 28 first downs against the Cougars paltry seven. The Bruins had a total of 556 offensive yards and held the Cougars to a mere 181. The Bruins had 82 offensive plays opposed to the Cougars 47.
UCLA still needs to do a better job playing a cleaner game. They ended up with nine penalties for 70 yards. That kind of stuff tends to cost you games in a tight contest.
Prince ended up throwing for 314 yards and a touchdown and was very efficient. It was also a good sign that he didn't throw a pick, though there were still a couple of throws that he wished he didn't throw, but his growth as a quarterback is very apparent and the very key for success the rest of the season.