To call UCLA's performance against Arizona ugly would be a disservice to ugly performances. What we witnessed last week was so disturbing that watching Joe Bruin get vivisected on closed-circuit television would have been preferable.
In the face of such an embarrassing loss, the Bruins could have folded the season. It's a credit to the team that they didn't.
A strong contrast to their flat, listless showing in Tuscon, UCLA came out energetic and passionate against a Bears team most would characterize as their second-greatest rival after USC.
You could see it in their play on the field: the way players pumped-up the crowd before every kickoff, the way they celebrated in the end zone, and the ferocity in which they played defense (we'll get to that).
It was clear that the Bruins were aware of their fans' disillusionment and ridicule after Arizona. Last night, it seemed they were looking for more than a win.
UCLA wanted respect on Homecoming Night, and got it in spades.
Despite a slow start compounded by an early Kevin Prince fumble, UCLA fought back in front of the home fans. The Bruins reeled off 17 unanswered after being down 7-0, including two of their four rushing touchdowns of the night.
While Johnathan Franklin had a decent game of the ground (13 carries, 45 yards, TD) and Derrick Coleman scored three times, the real UCLA rushing star didn't play tailback.
In one of the most effective displays of the pistol offense by a UCLA team, Prince led all rushers with 163 in just 19 carries. For a quarterback who is notoriously injury-prone, Prince showed resiliency after getting hit and intelligence when scrambling out of bounds.
His fakes behind the line of scrimmage were so good that Cal simply could not find the ball, often tackling a decoy Coleman or Franklin before realizing Prince was the ball carrier.
Although Prince ran the ball well, he still needs to get better with his arm. He was still guilty of overthrowing or missing open receivers.
UCLA didn't need a spectacular showing through the air when executing the running game so well, but going 9-of-18 for 92 yards and no touchdowns is not something the Bruins will be able to get away with on a nightly basis.