The Bruins were unable to pull out another tight victory, with their comeback effort falling short in heart-breaking fashion.
UCLA football (5-3, 3-2 Pac-12) hosted No. 10 Oregon (6-1, 3-1) on Saturday and ended up losing 34-31. Taking a look at each unit individually, here are the three student-athletes who have earned the All Bruins UCLA Football Players of the Game awards.
Offensive Player of the Week: WR Kyle Philips
On paper, a 50% catch rate does not look good at all.
Philips earned 16 targets Saturday, but three of those were bombed out of bounds and another hit the ground right as it reached his feet. Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson flung it his way once when he was in double coverage by the sideline and it was expectedly broken up, and Philips was open in the seam if Thompson-Robinson had been a hair earlier and given himself time to put some arc on the ball instead of overthrowing him into the end zone.
But enough excuse making – there was plenty of actual good play on display by Philips in his return from whatever held him out of the Washington game in Seattle a week ago.
Philips was UCLA's leading receiver with eight receptions and 73 yards and he immediately returned to his security blanket self.
Thompson-Robinson found his favorite target on the first play from scrimmage of the game, and he caught each of the first six catchable balls thrown his way. The seventh was when the Bruins went for it on 4th-and-18 on the first play of the fourth quarter, and the referees looked the other way on a clear defensive pass interference in the end zone.
Philips' eighth and final catch was on backup quarterback Ethan Garbers' fourth down conversion with 1:01 left that got UCLA to the Oregon 39. The Bruins' top wideout was instrumental in the early success on offense, and he nearly set his team up for more points late.
Although he did not make it into the end zone for the eighth time in eight games dating back to the end of last season, Philips played a major role on offense and was the most reliable guy in the passing game that far outpaced the unusually stagnant ground attack.
Defensive Player of the Week: LB Jordan Genmark Heath
Leading the Bruins in total tackles with eight looks good for Genmark Heath, but he becomes even more valuable if you go a layer deeper.
Seven of his eight were assisted tackles, which means Genmark Heath was swarming to the ball all over the field to help his teammates finish plays. Gang tackling is a credit to everyone in said gang, but if Genmark Heath is going from sideline to sideline, into the backfield and into the secondary to wrap guys up, props to him.
The sound tackling and team-first mentality is just an accent to what really set him apart for this award though.
With his team down by 10, Genmark Heath picked off quarterback Anthony Brown after linebacker Caleb Johnson ever-so-slightly tipped it and left it hanging in the air a fraction of a second longer. Genmark Heath secured the ball at the 40 and brought it all the way back to the 20.
That turnover and resulting short field for the offense led to second fourth quarter touchdown for UCLA that made it a three-point game late. It was the play that made a comeback a real possibility instead of a pipe dream.
Even though it didn't come to fruition, credit Genmark Heath for helping drag his team back from the dead.
Special Teams Player of the Week: KOS RJ Lopez
Kicker Nicholas Barr-Mira missed a 35-yard kick in the first half, and considering the Bruins lost by three, that stings. Punter Luke Akers trotted out onto the field twice, coughing up the ball to give the Ducks a short field and momentum on one trip and shanking it for a 27-yard punt the next time.
So with those two posting costly errors and neither Kyle Philips or Kazmeir Allen attempting to return a kickoff or punt, that makes Lopez the winner of this week's award.
While it technically is by default, he was genuinely good in his role.
Oregon tried to return Lopez's first kick of the day, but was only able to bring it out to the 23 before linebacker JonJon Vaughns snuffed it out. Lopez would attempt four more kickoffs, and all of them went for touchbacks.