A hush had fallen over the Rose Bowl within the last minute, the boos that serenaded UCLA gamers operating into the locker room at halftime changed by indifference among the many few remaining followers.
Right down to fourth-string quarterback Chase Griffin due to accidents, the Bruins have been compelled to run one final meaningless play in opposition to Arizona State. When Griffin’s cross fell incomplete, a teammate on the sideline threw up his fingers in disgust and turned to depart the sector.
As chants of “A-S-U!” stuffed one nook of the stadium close to the tip of the Bruins’ 17-7 loss, a UCLA fan behind the staff’s bench rendered a distinct verdict.
“Determine it out, Chip!” he yelled.
The phrases begged two questions: How for much longer will Chip Kelly be given? And is he the coach the Bruins actually need to convey with them to the Large Ten?
What simply certified as essentially the most crushing lack of Kelly’s six seasons given the opponent and its personal important points left UCLA (6-4 general, 3-4 Pac-12) with a second consecutive defeat. It additionally renewed considerations about Kelly’s capacity to win within the Large Ten if his staff can’t beat a Pac-12 foe that was so shorthanded it used a operating again and transformed tight finish at quarterback.
Even Kelly’s fame as an offensive guru continued to take a big hit. Going with Collin Schlee because the beginning quarterback for the primary time this season as a result of recuperating counterparts Dante Moore and Ethan Garbers have been accessible solely on an emergency foundation, the Bruins relied closely on their run recreation.
They rolled up 183 yards on the bottom however went 0 for 4 on fourth-down conversion makes an attempt, operating up the center on the primary three. Two of the fourth-down failures got here within the pink zone. Was Kelly’s play calling in these conditions getting slightly predictable?
“Yeah,” Kelly acknowledged, “however there’s additionally the college of thought that we gotta be capable of achieve one yard if we will achieve one yard. However we’ll return, clearly it didn’t work, so like I stated that’s on us.”
The record of embarrassments additionally included UCLA failing to attain after having a first-and-goal on the Arizona State five-yard line and a primary down on the Solar Devils’ 18. The Bruins failed to indicate a lot creativeness in getting shut out within the first half and matching their season low for factors.
“We advised them it was on us as coaches,” Kelly stated of the message to his gamers afterward. “We didn’t do a ok job to arrange these guys to play this soccer recreation.”
In the meantime, Arizona State (3-7, 2-5) successfully offset the absence of two quarterbacks and 7 offensive lineman with creativity. Repeatedly utilizing the swinging gate play that bunched most of their offensive lineman on one facet of the sector, the Solar Devils produced 250 yards of offense one week after managing simply 83 yards throughout a 55-3 loss to Utah.
Operating again Cam Skattebo fired a 25-yard landing cross to Elijhah Badger to offer Arizona State a 10-0 lead late within the third quarter.
UCLA appeared in peril of being shut out after its subsequent drive ended with operating again Carson Steele getting one yard on fourth-and-two, resulting in a turnover on downs. However the Bruins received the ball again after the Solar Devils couldn’t get a primary down and deliberately took penalties on 4 consecutive performs to burn break day the clock.
Backing up on function backfired when UCLA parlayed good subject place after the punt into fast factors. Schlee finally threw a 16-yard landing cross to Logan Loya, and there was abruptly some life among the many crowd of 56,436.
It shortly received sucked out of the stadium after the Bruins twice sustained Arizona State’s subsequent drive with penalties on third down. Edge rusher Grayson Murphy gave the Solar Devils one first down with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the play and cornerback Devin Kirkwood gifted them one other with cross interference.
“That hurts,” Kelly stated. “That is on us and you’ll’t do this, particularly in a decent soccer recreation like that.”
After later changing a fourth-and-four, the Solar Devils caught a fork within the Bruins on the following play. Momentarily operating right into a wall of defenders, Skattebo minimize exterior for a 17-yard landing that gave Arizona State a 17-7 lead with 3:07 left.
Schlee left with an unspecified damage two performs later, ending an evening during which he ran for 51 yards and accomplished 11 of 18 passes for 117 yards and one landing.
Barring a victory over USC subsequent weekend on the Coliseum as a part of a late-season surge that additionally includes triumphs over California and a bowl opponent, Kelly might face an unwelcome reckoning within the coming weeks, if not days.
His supporters can not level to a continued upward trajectory, the Bruins now unable to prime final season’s 9-4 document. His general document at UCLA is now 33-33, which might be beneath .500 when you take away two victories over Soccer Championship Subdivision groups.
There’s additionally considerations about Kelly’s lack of ambassadorship of this system additional decimating an already lackluster displaying within the identify, picture and likeness house, hurting not solely the Bruins’ recruiting efforts but additionally their capacity to retain their very own gamers going into 2024.
What does Kelly see as the trail ahead amid a dramatic downturn?
“It’s us in opposition to the staff, our rival, you understand, subsequent Saturday, and that’s what we discuss,” Kelly stated, referring to the sport in opposition to USC. “It’s all the time one recreation at a time.”
That’s, assuming he will get there.
Get the very best, most fascinating and strangest tales of the day from the L.A. sports activities scene and past from our e-newsletter The Sports activities Report.
This story initially appeared in Los Angeles Instances.