For the first time in his defensive career, UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr went a full game without recording a tackle for loss.
He still made sure Colorado remembered him. In the fourth quarter of the Bruin’s 45-23 win over the Buffs, the All-American crushed true freshman quarterback Sefo Liufau at around midfield, drawing a 14-yard penalty for roughing the passer.
After popping back up, Liufau got in Barr’s face and shoved him back, just one of several chippy moments between the Bruins and the Buffs.
However, Liufau is listed at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds. Barr is listed at 6-foot-4, 245 — and said during the summer that he was up to 255. On the next play, the latter hit the former again, this time incurring a 15-yard penalty.
Asked how many quarterbacks had ever pushed him before, Barr said: “Not many. Not many. That was also a first.”
What words did they exchange? “Nothing nice.”
He wasn’t the only one surprised.
“I wouldn’t even do that in practice,” UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley said. “I can run a little bit, and I still wouldn’t.
“I felt scared for him, the quarterback. It’s not smart to talk to AB like that. As a quarterback, he’s going to get to you one way or another. And he got to him.”
UCLA gave away 29 yards on those two flags, but head coach Jim Mora maintained his season-long stance that “aggressive” penalties aren’t a major worry. Since of the Bruins’ 11 flags against Colorado, Mora said, were of that nature rather than unforced — i.e. false starts, illegal formation — he didn’t see a problem. The coach added that he was still trying to figure out exactly how officials called roughing the passer penalties.
Barr agreed that defenders don’t worry about being over-aggressive.
“I don’t think we ever are concerned about penalties like that,” he said. “It’s going to happen over the course of the season, and you’ve just got to live with them.”