Scott Quessenberry to UCLA defense: ‘Thanks for cleaning up our mess’

UCLA made a bit of history during Saturday’s 28-20 win at Virginia. In the second quarter on Saturday, cornerback Ishmael Adams and linebacker Eric Kendricks returned interceptions for touchdowns, while safety Randall Goforth took a fumble back 75 yards for the score.

It was the Bruins’ first game with three defensive touchdowns since 1986, when they hit the trifecta in a 49-0 win over Oregon State. Perhaps no one was more thankful than UCLA’s offensive line. The unit looked awful without center Jake Brendel (knee), committing numerous penalties and allowing five sacks.

“I was telling the guys — Eric, Ish, RG — the three guys that scored, ‘Thanks for cleaning up our mess,’” said sophomore Scott Quessenberry, who replaced Brendel in the starting lineup. “Especially us up front, we didn’t play our game today. They really stepped it up for us.”

RELATED:
– UCLA’s offense was far from championship-caliber in a 28-20 win over Virginia. Coordinator Noel Mazzone: “I’m hoping we got it all out of our system.”
– The Bruins’ defensive front shined despite not notching any sacks.

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UCLA 28, Virginia 20: Malcolm Bunche still confident in O-line

Malcolm Bunche’s first game at left tackle for UCLA didn’t go particularly well. The Bruins’ offensive line looked porous against Virginia on Saturday, allowing five sacks in a 28-20 win and committing multiple false start and holding penalties.

Still, the senior graduate transfer remained positive.

“This is not our best,” Bunche said. “This is not our best. We’ve still got a lot on the table that we’ve got to put down, and we’re going to do it.”

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UCLA 28, Virginia 20: Brett Hundley on Bruins’ offensive struggles

For just the third time in his career, UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley was held without a passing touchdown. In a 28-20 win at Virginia, the junior couldn’t find his groove against the Cavaliers’ defense until a 66-yard drive in the third quarter — one he capped with a six-yard scoring run.

“It was hard,” Hundley said. “It was a little up and down. We got into rhythm a couple of times, but the majority of the game … when we stop our momentum going forward, it kills our offense.”

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UCLA 28, Virginia 20: Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone on Bruins’ win

UCLA’s offense looked awful in a season-opening 28-20 win at Virginia, scoring just once on quarterback Brett Hundley’s six-yard rushing touchdown. Still, offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone stayed positive.

“My glass is always half full,” he said. “In all my years, a lot of times, these kinds of games pay off a lot more in dividends in the course of the season than, you go and score 52 against some team, come back and don’t really realize who you are.”

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UCLA defense scores three TDs in 28-20 win over Virginia

Charlottesville, Va. >> UCLA’s offense needed 43 minutes to score its first touchdown of the season.

Well, 43 minutes and 58 seconds, to be exact. In the third quarter of the No. 7 Bruins’ 28-20 win at Virginia, quarterback Brett Hundley took the handoff from six yards out, ran into a defender after three or four steps, and carried him the rest of the way. It was marvelous play, the type befitting someone who had graced two Sports Illustrated covers in three weeks this summer.

What didn’t fit the picture was … just about everything else. A team picked to make the inaugural College Football Playoff shouldn’t muster just 26 offensive yards in the second quarter. It shouldn’t have a offensive line that looked like Swiss cheese, even if the group isn’t at full health.

It shouldn’t need its defense to set historical milestones — not in the season opener against a 21-point underdog. Continue reading

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What to watch: No. 7 UCLA at Virginia

By at least one measure, UCLA has the toughest schedule in college football. Saturday’s 9 a.m. season opener against Virginia isn’t responsible for much of that weight.

Coming off a 2-10 season that ranks as the program’s worst in 15 years, the Cavaliers are 21-point underdogs against a team that more and more national pundits are starting to pick as the national champion. Do they have a chance to keep up?

UCLA offense vs. Virginia defense:

If Virginia has any hope of pulling the upset, it must look to its defense — now entering its second season under defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta and his blitz-heavy scheme. Nine starters return, including All-American safety Anthony Harris, who led the country last year with eight interceptions.

“He has extreme ball skills,” said UCLA receiver Jordan Payton. “He plays physical. He plays in coverage. … Now, you’re looking at a guy who almost plays like a receiver at safety. You definitely have to play the ball more and be a little more aggressive coming back to the ball.” Continue reading

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