Bruins Warm Up To Come From Behind Win

UCLA outscores Temple 20-0 in the seond half and gets the win. And that is worth something.

For the first 30 minutes, they looked like a Southern California team forced to play in temperatures in the teens (once you count the wind chill). They were sluggish, unable to muster much offense, and looked like a team that didn’t want to be there. And they trailed Temple by 11 points.

But in the second half the Bruins played like the team so many expected them to be at the start of the season. Freshman quarterback Kevin Prince was 11 of 16. The defense held Temple to just 41 yards and scored a touchdown on an interception return. UCLA outscored the Owls 20-0 and won the Eagle Bank Bowl 30-21.

The Bruins finish the season 7-6, their first winning season since 2006. It’s not a Pac-10 title and a BCS berth, but it’s a step on the way to getting there. It’s a bowl win, and the Bruins end their season on a positive note. Doesn’t matter who or where they played.

Temple caught the Bruins by surprise early, going with backup Vaughn Charlton as the starting quarterback, and it work. Vaughn’s pocket passing led the Owls down the field on the game’s opening drive, capped by a 26-yard pass to Steve Maneri to put Temple up 7-0. Prince answered back six minutes later with a 46-yard touchdown completion to Nelson Rosario.

Temple took control on a 10-play, 85 yard drive in the second quarter that led to a touchdown. Two plays later Prince threw and interception and Temple was in business again deep in UCLA territory. Matt Brown’s 2-yard run put the Owls up by two touchdowns.

Then it was UCLA’s turn. The two big plays were a Prince pass to Terrance Austin where the speedy wideout from Long Beach Poly beat everybody to the corner and ran 31 yards for the touchdown. Then, with the Bruins down one, Akeem Ayers stepped in front of a Charlton pass deep in Temple territory and returned it two yards for a score. A errant Temple snap that went out of the back of the end zone for a safety sealed the Bruins win.

Not a lot of Bruins faithful traveled cross country during the holidays for this, and the game itself was really just a break-even proposition for UCLA. But for a program trying to build something, three extra weeks of practice is nothing to scoff at. Neither is a win. And that is what UCLA got.

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