FINAL: UCLA 58, Nevada 20

After a slow start against Nevada, UCLA ran away with an impressive 58-20 win to open the season. Most notable was Jordon James’ debut as a starting tailback. The 5-foot-9 tailback had entered the season averaging 3.3 yards per carry; after three quarters, he already had 155 yards on 21 touches.

Stat of the game? UCLA’s 345 total rushing yards. The Bruins’ best mark in 2012 was 344, in a 36-30 win over Nebraska.

Some questions still exist with a defense that bent early, but the ground game looked like a strong complement for Brett Hundley’s superlative quarterback play.

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What to watch: No. 21 UCLA vs. Nevada

Finally, the season is upon us. Ranked in preseason polls for the first time since 2007, No. 21 UCLA will host Nevada at the Rose Bowl Saturday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Pac-12 Networks and AM 1150 (moved from AM 750 due to the Dodgers game).

Here’s how the two teams match up.

UCLA offense vs. Nevada defense

Nevada’s defense was bad enough last year (97th in the country) that defensive coordinator Mike Bradeson was demoted to safeties coach. Replacing him is former USC linebackers coach Scottie Hazelton, who has installed a Tampa 2 defense — a scheme that relies on its four-man front to create pressure, and its linebackers and cornerbacks to tackle soundly. Continue reading

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Inexperienced UCLA secondary eager to start season

He’s eager to watch them play.

No matter that the group returns only five games’ worth of combined starting experience, or the idea that most regard the unit as the team’s weakest link. Jim Mora is ready to see his UCLA secondary take on Nevada Saturday night — even if, he joked, he has to peek through his fingers.

“I want them to just be able to play free and not worry,” said the Bruins’ head coach. “Be able to cut it loose and let their skills take over. I think they’ve worked hard enough on the mental part that they know what’s going on, they know the adjustments.

“I don’t want to see them play hesitant.”

After weeks of hitting their own teammates — first in San Bernardino, then back at home in Westwood — the Bruins are itching to finally get on the field against some different uniforms. That may go double for the defensive backfield. Continue reading

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Jordan Zumwalt has history with Nevada QB Cody Fajardo


Saturday will mark the first time the UCLA and Nevada football teams have ever met.

Their players aren’t as unfamiliar with each other.

Four years ago, Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo led Anaheim’s Servite High to the CIF-SS Pac-5 finals. On the other side was UCLA linebacker Jordan Zumwalt, then a star for Edison High — located 15 miles south in Huntington Beach. Continue reading

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