Alamo Bowl notes: UCLA ends 10-win season with new milestones

» With its 40-35 win over Kansas State in Friday’s Alamo Bowl, UCLA has now reached 10 wins for the ninth time in school history. The Bruins are now riding just their third-ever streak of back-to-back 10-win seasons, with the first two coming in 1997-98 and 1987-88.

Including K-State, UCLA played 10 teams that earned bowl berths, tying them for second-most in the country. The only exceptions were Virginia, Cal and Colorado.

» In his career finale, quarterback Brett Hundley didn’t have his best passing game, finishing 12 of 24 for 136 yards and a touchdown. He started the game 10-of-12 before a run of seven straight incompletions. Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said afterward that Hundley’s right hand was still a bit sore from the finger injury that forced him out of UCLA’s loss to Stanford in November.

But Hundley did plenty of damage with his legs, running 11 times for 96 yards and two touchdowns. The Bruins followed the blueprint that TCU used to beat K-State, 41-20, on Nov. 8. Horned Frogs quarterback Trevone Boykin also only threw for one touchdown, but ran for three scores and 123 yards. Boykin’s proficiency on the ground also helped open up lanes for tailback Aaron Green, who had 171 yards.

“Brett went to town with his legs, for sure,” said receiver Jordan Payton.

Hundley improved his UCLA career records to 75 touchdown passes and 11,713 total offensive yards.

» Paul Perkins ran for a career-high 194 yards and two touchdowns on just 20 carries, including a 67-yard scoring run with 2:20 left in the game that gave UCLA a 40-28 lead. His rushing total was the third-most in Alamo Bowl history, and earned him the game’s offensive MVP award.

He finished the season with 1,575 rushing yards, the second-highest single-season total in UCLA history — behind Johnathan Franklin’s 1,734 yards in 2012. Perkins bumped Karim Abdul-Jabbar (1,571 yards, 1995) down to third place.

The redshirt sophomore, who settled for All-Pac-12 honorable mention behind four other backs, also holds sixth place in the Bruin record books with 1,776 all-purpose yards this season.

“Paul has always been, to me, the best back in the country,” Hundley said. “He showed that today. And I think this offense, having Johnathan Franklin, and then everybody is wondering who was going to replace him — Paul stepped in and did an amazing job.”

» As he did in every single game this season, linebacker Eric Kendricks paced the Bruins in tackles, making 10 to increase his all-time UCLA record to 481. He finishes his career with 25 double-digit tackle performances, just one behind Don Rogers’ record.

Kendricks had two sacks, including one on Kansas State’s very first offensive snap, and a career-high three tackles for loss. He received an Alamo Bowl defensive MVP trophy to go along with the Butkus Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy he earned earlier this season.

» Anchored by Deon Hollins’ career-high three sacks, UCLA’s seven sacks were a season high. It marked team’s highest single-game total since the 49-24 win at Rice that opened Jim Mora’s tenure in 2012. The Bruins also had seven against the Owls, but only 42 sack yards that day compared to the 51 they had at the Alamodome.

The last time UCLA had more sack yards in a game was, coincidentally, also in a win against Kansas State. The Bruins had six sacks for 55 yards in a 23-9 home in 2009.

Despite notching just four sacks through its first four games, UCLA finished the season with 29 — just two shy of its 2013 total.

» Thanks in large part to those sacks, UCLA held K-State to an absurdly low 31 rushing yards on 32 carries. That’s the best performance for a Bruin run defense since 2009, when UCLA held Arizona State to 21 yards on Nov. 28, and Washington State to 26 yards on Oct. 4.

» Safety Jaleel Wadood, an injury replacement for Randall Goforth in the starting lineup after the latter’s shoulder surgeries, finished his debut season with 59 tackles. That tied him for fourth-best mark ever for a UCLA true freshman. He was third on the team with eight tackles in the Alamo Bowl, and also had one of the team’s four quarterback hurries.

» Kansas State receiver Tyler Lockett set a new Alamo Bowl record with 13 catches, beating the old mark of 11 set by Purdue’s Isaac Jones in 1998.

Lockett also set a bowl record with 249 all-purpose yards. His 41-yard kickoff return set Kansas State up with a short field, but it settled for a field goal. He also would have scored on a long punt return had it not been called back on a holding penalty.

“You guys saw what he can do,” said linebacker Myles Jack. “Punt return, kick return. He’s definitely a challenge, and he deserves all the credit he gets. He’s a talented player.”

» Kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn ended his junior season by making 13 of his last 14 field goal attempts. In that stretch, he missed one from 37 yards, but made three from more than 40 yards out — including a 44-yarder in the third quarter yesterday that ended Kansas State’s 22-0 15-0 run.

Fairbairn is now 11 of 22 on career field goal attempts of at least 40 yards.

» UCLA’s 15 penalties for 128 yards set an Alamo Bowl record.

“They started to pile up on us,” Mora said. “We got a little emotional. It got tense. Like I said, some of those penalties were by young guys. They’re going to learn from these things. They’re going to learn how to relax in those situations and just execute.”

  • jameskatt

    Great game! Congratulations Bruins!

    As underdogs, UCLA beat a strong Kansas City Team. Tyler Lockett is a superstar. He kept Kansas in the game.

    I look forward to next year. We stand a chance at a 4th 9+ season, and a 3rd 10+win season. And we stand a chance at going undefeated given the return of most of the team including the front line – which now has a lot of experience.

    • Brrrrruins

      Three losses. All disappointing. I remember when I was in college the winning teams like the ’81 Bruins who won 10 and lost 1 and won the Rose Bowl. Or the ’85 Bruins who were 9-2-1 and won the Rose Bowl. Or the year before winning the Fiesta. What happened to those supposedly boring and predictable Bruins under Donahue? I’d like a repeat of those years any day. To call an Alamo Bowl razor thin victory something more than OK seems delusional, especially since we have a Heisman-caliber QB, and those other victories I mentioned were by players like walk-on Neuheisel and Tom Ramsay. Let’s not give too much credit to Mora. He underachieved with this talented team. There are way better players on this team than most people give credit for. And Jim, cut the “they’re young” crap already. So are the rest of the players on the teams you lost to. Man up and take the hit for a so-so year. Players played their butts off and your coaching staff was very average to poor.

      • jameskatt

        How easily we forget the bad years.

        Before you extoll Terry Donahue – and he is a great coach – realize that UCLA was both FEAST and FAMINE years with Terry.

        In 14 of 20 years, Terry had 3+ losses
        In 10 of 20 years – half of his years as coach – Terry had 4+ losses.

        It was sure easier to make the Rose Bowl when Terry was coach. In fact, of the 4 times he got to the Rose Bowl, 2 of the years he had 4 losses.

        So when will you ever again see a Pac-12 team get 4 losses and make it to the Rose Bowl? NEVER AGAIN.

        Competition these days is incredibly hard. In Terry’s winning years, all one had to do to enter UCLA was to apply. Today, you are facing thousands of other applicants. And even a 4.5 GPA and 1600 SAT scores are not guaranteed entrance.

        So what Jim Mora has done is incredible. And I look forward to even better things in the years to come as he builds up the UCLA football program.

        ————————————————–
        Terry Donanue’s UCLA Record

        Years as UCLA Coach = 20
        Years with 5+ Losses = 6 of 20 years
        Years with 4+ Losses = 10 of 20 years
        Years with 3+ Losses = 14 of 20 years

        Years with losing records = 4

        Years with THREE CONSECUTIVE 9+ win seasons = ZERO
        Years with TWO CONSECUTIVE 9+ win seasons = TWO

        Years with 9+ wins = 8

        Years in the Rose Bowl = 4
        Years with 4+ LOSSES but went to the Rose Bowl = 2

        Best record the last 7 years = 9-3
        Worse record the last 7 years = 5-6

        1976 9–2–1 LOST Liberty Bowl Finished 15th

        1977 7–4 FORFEITED 7 WINS DUE TO INELIGIBLE PLAYER

        1978 8–3–1 TIED Fiesta Bowl Finished 12th
        1979 5–6
        1980 9–2 ON PROBATION INELIGIBLE FOR BOWL PLAY
        1981 7–4–1 LOST Bluebonnet Bowl Unranked
        1982 10–1–1 WON Rose Bowl Finished 5th
        1983 7–4–1 WON Rose Bowl Finished 13th
        1984 9–3 WON Fiesta Bowl Finished 10th
        1985 9–2–1 WON Rose Bowl Finished 6th
        1986 8–3–1 WON Freedom Bowl Finished 14th
        1987 10–2 WON Aloha Bowl Finished 11th
        1988 10–2 WON Cotton Bowl Finished 6th
        1989 3–7–1
        1990 5–6
        1991 9–3 WON John Hancock Bowl Finished 18th
        1992 6–5
        1993 8–4 LOST Rose Bowl Finished 17th
        1994 5–6
        1995 7–5 LOST Aloha Bowl

        ————————————————–

        • jameskatt

          So by your own standard, Terry Donahue was disappointing for 14 of his 20 years as coach since he lost 3+ games during those years.

        • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

          jameskatt is a ninja.

        • Jose Meza

          Finally some real analysis. And I totally agree with Mr. James Katt that the Donahue years were great. I remember all too well the 1983 season where UCLA won the PAC10 with a 6-4-1 record and went to the Rose Bowl and beat Illinois 45-9. There will likely never be another 4 loss team going to the Rose Bowl. I’m sure the “Bruins Nation” pseudo fans think that season was a total failure.

          Coach Mora has been at UCLA for 3 years now and done amazing things. He deserves nothing but praise in my book and if all he does over the next 20 years at UCLA is win 9-10 games a year then he will be a true UCLA Legend.

          Let’s stop basing our opinion of UCLA success based on bogus preseason expectations. UCLA was a very good team this year but was never an elite team because we lacked the depth at way too many positions. Losing to Oregon is nothing to be ashamed of and neither is losing to Stanford team that had a couple of bad breaks this year ( they lost to USC, Notre Dame, and Utah by 3 points each). Stanford is a perfect example of how even a great team can lose to other very good teams. Clearly UCLA losing to a very capable Utah team that beat Stanford is also no embarrassment.

          I want to thank all the great Athletes and coaches at UCLA for such an awesome season. Don’t let the pseudo fans at “Bruins Nation” convince you this was a disappointing season. It wasn’t, it was an AWESOME season.

  • LTEfan

    Fairbairn’s 44-yard FG ended a 15-0 run by K-State. There was no 22-0 run (they scored again after the FG to make it a 22-3 run).

    • Jack Wang

      Thanks

  • Laker Rod

    Congrats to the Bruins on a very good season. I’m glad they were able to finish the year with a win. There were some nice performances by some sophomores like Perkins and Hollins and Jack. They all made some mistakes though and hopefully they will all cut those down as they become juniors. I’m really hoping Priest Willis can turn the corner also.

  • Mark

    And yet the season feels maddeningly unsatisfying. The Hundley from the 1st half was the Hundley we yearned to see all year. Yet we only saw flashes of it. I don’t think he ever quite recovered from the Texas injury. Furthermore, Mazzone’s play calling was bad enough to get him fired from a real football university.

    And don’t get me started on Ulbrich. I’m amazed that Mora hasn’t gone out and hired a proven, top-tier DC. But I guess that’s the limitation of being a UCLA fan.

    • UCLA owns LA Football

      I second the motion. I’m like a person who ordered a thick Ribeye and received thin slices of mutton with a smile.

      I’m amazed Mazzone is still employed.

      And lastly, I have the nagging feeling UCLA FB was dedicated to making sure BH didn’t get hurt and showcasing his improved passing skills at eht expense of the team.

  • UCLA Dynasty

    Any word on commits or how UCLA committed players did in the Army AA Bowl?