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The Good, The Bad & The Unknown: UCLA

The Huskies underwhelmed yet again against a ranked opponent.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Good

Honestly, once again, not much, but here goes...

Shaq Thompson - Thompson ran as tough as a back possibly can with the defense knowing he is going to get the ball and in limited touches and if he had a better offensive line and passing game to surround him, is an All-Pac-12-level back, but that is not the case. Grinding out 100 yards in the situation that he did is a testament to his overall abilities as a football players, especially while also seeing some time on defense and special teams.

Scoring offense - It is sad to think, that this was probably the best scoring game the Husky offense has had in Pac-12 play, especially against an upper-conference opponent. This was the most points that the Husky offense has scored against a winning Pac-12 opponent if you take away defensive scores. Yes, seven of those points came in the return game, but I pretty much consider the return game offense. If you would have told me that the Husky offense would score 30 points by themselves going into this game, I would have thought they would have a very good shot at winning the game.

John Ross return - Ross finally got a kickoff return for a touchdown without a god damn flag. That is all.

Special teams in general - On top of Ross' return, special teams were good overall. The hot and cold Korey Durkee had a great day punting and putting Ishmael Adams in tough situations. Cameron Van Winkle also did a good job in knocking down field goals.

Hau'oli Kikaha - Kikaha only played on one series, but that was all it took to show how good he is. He played a huge part and getting the UCLA offense off the field and then once he was gone, the Husky defense seemingly couldn't do it again all game.

The Bad

The start - The Huskies looked lost and sluggish out of the game yet again. Outside of the Cal game where they got a lucky break, you could say they have actually really struggled early on in every game this season except Eastern Washington. It is very tough to watch a team when each week they open up and immediately put themselves in a hole and hand away all of the momentum.

Injuries - I don't think I have seen a season where the Huskies have racked up as many injuries as they have since 2008 or 2004. Not sure if there is anything you can do about it or anyone to blame, but the amount of players who are going down with injuries is staggering and crippling.

Pass defense - The Bruins went after the young and decimated Husky secondary and easily picked them apart. Losing Kikaha early and the pass rush with him early played a part, but either way the Husky pass defense was lost all game. It is impossible to not think that the loss of Marcus Peters really, really hurt the Husky pass defense.

Pass rush - As I stated before, the pass rush vanished once Kikaha went out of the game and it quickly turned the Husky defense into a helpless unit. No matter what the staff seemed to try, they could not find a way to get after Hundley without Kikaha and it let him pick them apart.

Run defense - They weren't explosive, but the Bruins seemed to pretty much be able to pick up yards on the ground whenever they needed to, especially on third down.   A big part of the struggle has to do with the next point...

Tackling - It was yet another game where the Husky defense seemed to forget how to tackle once they got behind. The worst of all was when the Husky defense became the first unit of the season to give up much of anything to Myles Jack on his touchdown run.

Turnover failures - I cannot get official stats on it, but I believe UCLA fumbled three times and recovered every single one of them. Sometimes this is just part of the way the ball bounces, but you would have to hope that the defense could get on at least one of those and make a difference. Add an interception that I believe Travis Feeney dropped that somehow resulted in being a first down catch for the Bruins and the Husky defense left a lot of plays on the table.

Two-way stars - I loves what Shaq Thompson has done as a running back, but I don't think it is worth mostly losing him as a linebacker unless he is going to get around 25-30 carries. His presence in run defense and pass rushing was sorely missed against UCLA. The same could be said for Ross playing defense. I don't know if his impact on defense is enough to make up for his lost impact as an offensive player.

Marcus Peters situation - I have no comment on how the staff handled this situation. I do not know enough about it to chime in, but regardless, it is a horrible situation. At the end of the day, the Huskies no longer have the nation's best cornerback and it really showed Saturday.

The Unknown

Health, can it get much worse? This has become a weekly thing... questioning if/when certain players will come back and that list of players who are in that category just keeps growing. I cannot help but wonder if not getting a second bye week has not helped this situation.

UCLA? UCLA did not look that good a few weeks ago (losing to Utah and Oregon at home and then barely beating Cal and Colorado on the road) but they have started to look like a different team the past couple of weeks - holding Arizona to just seven points and putting up 44 on the Huskies on the road. Has this insanely talented and well-experienced UCLA team finally turned the corner and become what they should be? Which would make this loss not as painful. Or, was this simply the Huskies having a bad performance and making a still-underachieving UCLA look better than they really are?

Hope? It is funny to think that the Huskies four losses are against the same exact four teams that beat them last season. While that is kind of comforting, the overall picture of Husky football right now is incredibly bleak in my opinion. There are limited players returning for the Huskies at the end of the season that have shown consistent potential, the new coaching staff has yet to show many concrete sparks that provide a light for the future and the Pac-12 seems to just continue getting stronger around them. I think that most longtime, die hard Husky fans can't help but feel like a battered fighter slugging through the 20th round of a fight that they simply cannot win while hearing the same exact excuses for why that they have heard for 12 years now.

So, other than a blind faith in Chris Petersen's pedigree at Boise State, what is there to cling to that can provide hope?