One loss didn’t eradicate UCLA from Pac-12 title rivalry, and it may not have had any bearing on a brand new thriller goal that emerged Monday.
“We have way bigger goals than that,” quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson stated when requested about competing for the convention championship, “and I personally think we can still accomplish those if we just do our jobs on a weekly basis.”
The apparent follow-up query: Does greater targets imply the School Soccer Playoff semifinals?
“I won’t get into the goals, that’s more of a team, personal matter,” Thompson-Robinson stated, “but yeah, it’s definitely way bigger than that, I can tell you that for sure.”
Some guesswork left just a few prospects.
A Pac-12 title comes with a Rose Bowl look — at a minimal — so it’s conceivable Thompson-Robinson meant profitable a Rose Bowl, one thing the Bruins haven’t executed since 1986.
Extra seemingly, he meant making faculty soccer’s ultimate 4. That’s going to be significantly more durable after UCLA dropped to No. 12 within the Related Press ballot following its 45-30 loss to Oregon on Saturday at Autzen Stadium.
The Bruins (6-1 total, 3-1 Pac-12) are nonetheless in prime place to qualify for the Pac-12 title sport on Dec. 2 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Assuming they don’t stumble in any of the video games through which they are going to be decisively favored, together with Saturday evening in opposition to Stanford (3-4, 1-4) on the Rose Bowl, the Bruins might seemingly get there with a house victory over No. 10 USC on Nov. 19.
UCLA has considerably extra work to do to make the Pac-12’s first look within the CFP since Washington did so in 2016. There’s no margin for error, and the Bruins may want substantial assist. Six unbeaten groups are positioned forward of them within the rankings, and there’s at all times the specter one — or extra — of one-loss groups qualifying from the mighty Southeastern Convention.
UCLA coach Chip Kelly stated he reminded his gamers that that they had not misplaced in nearly a yr — 357 days, to be actual — earlier than the Oregon sport, however now all that issues is what the Bruins do over the subsequent 39 days ending within the Pac-12 championship. Kelly identified that his group responded to its final defeat with a nine-game profitable streak.
“This is a really good football team,” Kelly stated. “We didn’t play up to what we should have played on Saturday and we’ll move on and we’ll see how the rest of the season turns itself out, but our whole mantra since the beginning of the season is, ‘Pick your head up in December and we’ll see if our body of work is good enough for us to have an opportunity to continue to play after December.’ ”
There have been a number of nods to the urgency of the second Monday. A number of hours after Van Halen’s “Right Now” blasted over audio system through the opening minutes of observe, Thompson-Robinson come across an analogous theme when talking with reporters.
“If there’s a time to fix things, it’s now,” Thompson-Robinson stated. “We know that, we’re a mature enough group, we’re grown men to be able to go in there, look at ourselves in the mirror and say what we did wrong and come out here and fix it on Monday. So I think that’s where we’re at.”
With out mentioning specifics, Thompson-Robinson stated the group had slipped in its habits through the week earlier than dealing with the Geese.
“It’s always a culmination of things and things adding up that you don’t really notice until it gets you,” he stated. “So I think that’s what we’ve gotta go back to, is just making sure we’re doing every little thing right, and if it still doesn’t work, then we’ll go from there. But, you know, those six games that we won, everything that we’ve done before those six games really, really showed up on Saturday for us.”
Thompson-Robinson endured his worst sport of the season whereas dealing with a relentless move rush, heaving one move into double protection that was intercepted and lacking just a few shorter throws that he usually makes, however far greater points emerged on the opposite aspect of the ball. UCLA’s protection was gouged for a season-worst 545 yards.
“Defensively, there were breakdowns at all three levels,” Kelly stated.
These failures had been maybe finest illustrated by free security Mo Osling III ending with a career-high 17 tackles, together with a handful that saved touchdowns.
“I don’t think that’s a recipe for success as you move forward unless you’re blitzing your free safety every play and he has 17 tackles, then that’s a good thing,” Kelly stated, “but we weren’t blitzing Mo every single play, so we need to get a little bit more production [from others] and get those tackles evened out.”