Monday, September 7, 2009

A Special Team

For some strange reason, special teams numbers don't show up in the final box score. Return yards are rarely there, much less how far you punted, kicked-off, or how many kicks you blocked.

Yet those plays can make all the difference in a game.

Take Saturday's game against SDSU as case in point. UCLA dominated the special teams game, in every phase, and those plays boosted the Bruins to a rather comfortable victory.

Kai Forbath was money again. Do you realize how amazing it is to have a kicker who has never missed an attempt from beyond 50 yards?

While most fans hold their breath when their team's field goal unit takes the field... our fans head for the cooler. Oh, a 51 yard attempt from the left hash mark? That's a lock, I'm going to get another beer, you want one?

With Terrance Austin fielding kicks and punts, every play has the potential to be a big one. His 64 yard return after the 2nd SDSU touchdown was the boost in confidence our team needed. Now if he can just take one all the way back to the house, we'd be in business.

Just like last season, we had another blocked kick for a touchdown in the season opener. This time it was Jerzy Siewierski bum rushing his way though the line and getting a big paw up on a field goal attempt. Alteraun Verner, who has an uncanny knack for being in the right place at the right time, picked up the fumble and cruised into the end zone.

Those plays either directly or indirectly lead to 20 of the Bruin's 33 points. That, not so coincidentally, was basically the margin of victory.

Very special indeed.

(Photo Credit OC Register)

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