Rick Neuheisel's UCLA Bruins coaching tenure came to an end on Friday night as the Bruins were beaten 49-31 by the Oregon Ducks in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon. On one hand, it was impressive that the Bruins scored 31, especially since they were a decided 31-point underdog heading into the contest.
Then again, outside of a few brief moments in the first quarter, the Bruins were never really in the game. But their effort was to be admired as the team continued to play hard. "I'm really, really attached to those kids, and I'm just proud of the way they fought tonight," Neuheisel said after the game in a Fox television interview with Tim Brewster.
"We weren't good enough, but it wasn't because we didn't have a lot of heart and a lot of character. We squandered some chances in the first half with some turnovers, and you can't do that against an explosive team like Oregon," Neuheisel said. "It's been an honor to coach these kids, because they keep fighting and they keep battling. They can take my job, but they can't take those guys away from me."
Neuheisel had a 21-29 record coaching his alma mater, but now he must step aside, as offensive coordinator Mike Johnson will coach the 6-7 Bruins on an interim basis in their pending bowl game.
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