UCLA Football 2012 Bowl Capsule

UCLA Bruins


What Jim Mora, Jr. has done was unexpected, if not remarkable.  In his first year at UCLA he found a way to get people’s attention in early season games and slay the city giant in USC (in admittedly a down year).  UCLA has been aching to overtake USC in a city that is divided right down the middle.  They clinched a berth in the Pac-12 title game before the last weekend of the season.  It is a well-balanced attack with a superstar in the making in quarterback Brett Hundley.  The future looks bright in Westwood and USC does not appear to have Los Angeles locked down like it once did for such a long time.  The rivalry in Southern California looks like it will be a hot one for years to come.

2012 Record: 9-4, 6-3
Coach: Jim Mora
Coach Bowl Record: 0-0

Big Wins: 9/8 Nebraska (36-30), 11/17 USC (38-28)
Bad Losses: 9/22 Oregon State (20-27), 10/6 at California (17-43)

This offense is top notch.  Brett Hundley is dynamic as the signal caller.  Only a freshman, he eclipsed 25 touchdowns in his first season as a starter.  That’s not to mention his work running the ball into the end zone with his nine additional touchdowns rushing.  Senior running back Johnathan Franklin is one of the best in the Pac-12.  He has certainly eased Hundley’s transition into the starting role at quarterback.  Franklin surpassed 1,500 yards and reached double-digit touchdowns.  They are not Oregon, but UCLA is third in the conference in offensive production and second in scoring behind the Ducks.  That is 12 points more per game than they had scored last year.  UCLA has not sniffed 500 yard-per-game average in years, and this year they came close.  On defense, they are not world beaters, but they are strong in certain areas that create opportunities for the team.  They are ranked fifth nationally in sacks at nearly 3.5 per game, keeping opponents in long down-and-distance situations.  They parlay that into a furious rush into the backfield and average over seven tackles for loss per game.  

The Bruins could still use a little work on defense.  Though they have a solid pass rush, they are not solid at stopping the pass.  They are among the bottom teams in the conference and in the nation at defending receivers.  They give up nearly 265 yards per game through the air.  The Pac-12 is a strong offensive conference, so those numbers might be skewed a bit.  Still, overall they allow nearly 420 yards per game of total offense from opposing teams.  That is asking to be involved in a shootout.  Even with an offense as good as UCLA’s, Mora and company do not always want to have to rely on outscoring people in order to win.  They allow 25 points per game, but they have allowed 40 points twice this season and 30 points or more five times.  Hundley is a little inexperienced but maturing game by game.  He sometimes tries to do too much and ends up on his back.  His offensive line has had some spotty protection, and scrambling creates opportunities for the defense.  They are in the bottom 10 in the country in sacks allowed.  That is why Johnathan Franklin has been so valuable to them this season.  Protection will need to be better in the bowl game.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Johnathan Franklin, RB, 1,700 yards
Passing: Brett Hundley, QB, 3,411 yards
Receiving: Shaquelle Evans, WR, 795 yards
Tackles: Eric Kendricks, LB, 137
Sacks: Anthony Barr, LB, 13.5
Interceptions: Andrew Abbott, S, 4; Sheldon Price, CB, 4

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 196.17 (34th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 279.50 (32, 5)
Total Offense: 475.67 (21, 3)
Scoring Offense: 36.00 (25, 4)
Rushing Defense: 153.25 (53, 5)
Pass Defense: 263.75 (98, 10)
Total Defense: 417.00 (77, 8)
Scoring Defense: 25.83 (55, 8)
Turnover Margin: 0.42 (40, 6)
Sacks: 3.33 (5, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 3.58 (118, 10)

Recent Bowl Appearances:
2011    Fight Hunger Bowl    Illinois (14-20)
2009    Eagle Bank Bowl    Temple (30-21)
2007    Las Vegas Bowl    BYU (16-17)
2006    Emerald Bowl        Florida State (27-44)
2005    Sun Bowl        Northwestern (50-38)

*all team stats through 11/24


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