PASADENA—Bruin Nation is thrilled after UCLA pulled off its biggest victory in five seasons defeating the LSU Tigers, 38-27 on Saturday, September 4 at the Rose Bowl. There seems to be a new wind blowing in Pasadena for the 2021 Bruins football program.
These changes include; a mature Dorian Thompson-Robinson, the Junior quarterback is no longer forced to carry the load. The one-two punch in the backfield of Zach Charbonnet and Brittain Brown, the beefy offensive line and finally, a tight-end who is destined to play on Sunday afternoons.
UCLA posted a disappointing 10-21 record under Bruins head coach Chip Kelly’s tenure. Everything changed overnight as the Bruins open up with a 2-0 record for the first time since 2017. “If we are running the ball well, we’ll stick with what’s right. But I think if you look at the play action passes today, those were huge for us,” said Kelly.
LSU scored a touchdown early in the second quarter to open up A 7-0 lead. DTR responded immediately, on the first play of the drive he executed the perfect play action pass to Greg Dulcich, who shed off would be tacklers with his mighty forearms. Dulcich streaked down the sideline for a 75-yard gallop to the end zone, tying the score at 7-7.
Thompson-Robinson was magnificent after struggling with his accuracy in the opener against Hawaii. Completing 9 of 16 for 260 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, properly managing the game while not creating ghastly turnovers, his Achillies heel. His leadership and development have grown with each game.
DTR has thunder and lightning in the backfield, Charbonnet is the lightning, the Michigan transfer had a dazzling performance securing his second consecutive 100-yard game with 117 yards on 11 carries and 12-yard gallop to the end zone giving the Bruins a 14-7 edge. Thunder is Brittain Brown, rumbling between the tackles with reckless abandon and finished with 78 yards on 14 carries and a late TD in the fourth quarter.
It’s challenging to remember a UCLA defense being so dominant and intimidating. For example, the Tigers were held to a measly 48 yards on the ground. LSU Quarterback Max Johnson was constantly under pressure from the Bruins ferocious line, the unrelenting attack resulted in a Caleb Johnson interception who gave UCLA fantastic field possession returning it to the LSU 17.
Three plays later, DTR fooled the Tigers defense finding a wide open Chase Cota for a 14-yard TD. A total of 68,213 fans attended the matchup, more than double the 32,000 that showed up for the Hawaii opener last week. It’s highly likely when the AP rankings are revealed on Tuesday, UCLA will make the top 25, a first for the Bruins since September 10, 2017.
Next week the Bruins have a bye before facing the Fresno State Bulldogs. Kick off is at 7:45 p.n. at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, September 18.