UCLA burns Cal, 31-14

After a 36-point loss at Arizona on Oct. 20, embittered and emboldened UCLA fans started an Occupy UCLA Athletics campaign, a derivation of the Occupy Wall Street movement protesting big business across the country.

Turns out, the Bruins are still into capitalism.

UCLA scored 24 points off five Cal turnovers, including three deep in Bear territory, and the Bruins rolled 31-14 in front of 55,604 at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night.

An aggressive defensive line harried Cal quarterback Zach Maynard into four interceptions – three by redshirt freshman safety Tevin McDonald – and a week after allowing 573 yards to the Wildcats, UCLA gave up just 333 to the Bears.

Junior defensive lineman Datone Jones, playing extensively in the interior because of the suspension of sophomore defensive tackle Cassius Marsh – one of six Bruins suspended for their roles in a brawl with Arizona with four seconds left in the first half of the loss – had a season-high six tackles and two sacks as part of a defensive effort that forced interceptions on three of Cal’s last four drives.

“We burned the boats, man,” said Jones, referring to the ‘BTB’ shirts that players wore on the sidelines, a motto that signifies no retreat. “It was a suicide mission we had.”

Playing the role of kamikaze, junior quarterback Kevin Prince.

With a directive from Neuheisel to play with abandon despite a history of injury, Prince did indeed embrace contact, shying away from no one while rushing for a career-high 163 yards on 19 carries.

“If it’s one-on-one, I’ll lower the shoulder,” said Prince, who has already suffered two shoulder sprains this season. “If it’s a couple more guys, I try to get down and slide. But Coach Neuheisel talked to me about that on Tuesday; running against Arizona last week, I was a little more cautious. Coach Neuheisel told me not to worry about that and just to run as hard as I can.”

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Quick Riley update

UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel said all preliminary tests came out negative for safety Dietrich Riley, who crashed into Cal’s Isi Sofele early in the fourth quarter on a run and immediately collapsed to the ground. Riley was carted off the field – waving and giving a thumb’s up to the crowd – before being taken to Huntington Hospital for tests.

Neuheisel said Riley suffered a neck injury and temporarily lost feeling, but an update from the UCLA athletics department said Riley has full movement and sensation in all extremities.

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UCLA 24-14

The opportunistic UCLA defense struck once more.
So did the Bruin offense.

After Tevin McDonald picked up his second interception of the game at the Cal 20-yard line, Derrick Coleman immediately followed with a 20-yard touchdown run, giving the Bruins some cushion once more.

Drive Time: 20 yards, 1 play, six seconds

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UCLA 17-14

UCLA got a taste of its own medicine, and it didn’t taste good.

Cal recovered a muffed Jordon James punt return at the UCLA 15-yard line, and after a Zach Maynard-to-Anthony Miller 14-yard completion, C.J. Anderson plugged it in from a yard out.

Drive Time: 2 plays, 15 yards, 41 seconds

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UCLA 17-7

After another Cal turnover in its own territory, the Bruins again capitalized.

This time, they made it count.

Derrick Coleman ran it in from three yards out after getting a first down on 3rd-and-3 with a nine yard run, and the Bruins went up two scores.

Drive Time: 19 yards, 4 plays, 1:17

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UCLA 10-7

After a Tevin McDonald interception of Zach Maynard gave UCLA the ball at the Cal 15-yard line, the Bruins could not muster any yards before settling for a 32-yard Tyler Gonzalez field goal, his second of the year.

Drive Time: 3 plays, 0 yards, 1:22

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UCLA/Cal 7-7

With Kevin Prince doing damage on the ground, the Bruins got the ball moving.
But it took a nice pass to get it started.
After a holding penalty by Greg Capella on 1st-and-1- at the UCLA-36 yard line, Prince found Nelson Rosario for a 19-yard gain. Prince later picked up a 32-yard run on the drive, and Johnathan Franklin capped it off with a 10-yard touchdown run to tie it up.

Drive Time: 64 yards, 7 plays, 4:01

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Cal 7-0

After a Kevin Prince fumble at the end of a 21-yard run, Cal started with the ball at the UCLA 30-yard line and promptly capitalized.

After a Zach Maynard-to-Anthony Miller connection for 17 yards set the Bears up at the 9-yard line, Isi Sofele punched it in from a yard out two plays later on third down to put Cal up.

Drive Time: 30 yards, 5 plays, 2:29

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150 and clear

Doctors may call it short-term memory loss, or even amnesia, but football players have their own way of describing it.

One snap and clear.

What about 150 snaps and clear?

What is abundantly clear to UCLA this week was that to properly prepare for its 4 p.m. matchup today at the Rose Bowl with visiting Cal, it had to completely eradicate the 48-12 loss to Arizona on Oct. 20 in Tucson.

We’re talking a Men-In-Black neuralyzer here, complete and utter memory erasure.
This was not a game to stew on, not a game to analyze down to the second. Taking the entire three-plus hours into the equation, it added up to one giant disaster.

After a weekend off to collect their thoughts and to steel their nerves, the Bruins came back to practice on Tuesday barely remembering the Disaster in the Desert.

“Having the weekend to ourselves kind of helped people one snap and clear the game,” junior linebacker Patrick Larimore said. “It was hard for me, it was a depressing weekend like it was for everybody, but I think it helped.”

To refresh: The Bruins allowed touchdowns on all six of Arizona’s first-half drives, afforded the Wildcats 573 yards of total offense and gave up 254 rushing yards to an anemic ground game, while gaining just 37 themselves.

And that wasn’t the ugly part.

No, that would be the benches-clearing brawl that erupted with just four seconds remaining in the first half as a streaker darted on the field to distract the referees.

The melee cost UCLA six players to suspension, ranging from one half against the Bears to two full games, with four receivers as casualties.

Now, the Bruins must face a Cal team that allowed just 178 total yards and 13 rushing yards in a 34-10 win over Utah last Saturday without the services of Taylor Embree, Shaq Evans, Randall Carroll and Ricky Marvray.

Despite the personnel losses, offensive coordinator Mike Johnson said don’t expect a whole new gameplan.

“You’ve got to evaluate the whole big picture; you can’t just change everything you do wholesale all at once,” Johnson said. “You still have to put together a gameplan. They’re going to play defense, and they’re a good defense.”

The Bears certainly were last season in a 35-7 home win.

Cal gained 304 rushing yards while holding UCLA to just 26 on 26 carries, jumping to a 28-0 halftime lead in what would ultimately be Kevin Prince’s last game of the season.

Prince is back once again to reverse his fortunes against the Bears, coming off a 286-yard performance against the Wildcats.

He knows such early deficits – like against Cal, Arizona got off to a scorching start – can bury the team quickly.

“That’s always kind of been our bugaboo, since I’ve been here, getting off to slow starts,” Prince said. “That’s kind of been our ‘thing.’ We haven’t been able to start off strong. When we have, it’s been good games for us. That’ll be huge for us, especially not to let doubt creep into our team’s mindset.”

The Bruins have been careful to not let that self-awareness work its way in during the week of practice, team leaders getting together to ensure the short memories.

One snap and clear, after all.

“We spoke about that as a team and as a council; we have to put it on us and go out and fight,” Larimore said. “Can’t let what happened against Arizona happened again.”

Jon.gold@dailynews.com

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