Countdown the days to UCLA’s season-opener against Texas A&M with key stats facing the Bruins this year.
10 receiving touchdowns by Thomas Duarte last year, which led the team
9 returning starters on defense
8th in the Pac-12 in rushing defense last year
7 second-half turnovers for Josh Rosen last year
6 different starting combinations on the offensive line in 2015
5 straight losses to Stanford under head coach Jim Mora
4 different players attempted at least one punt last year
3 HOME LOSSES TO UNRANKED TEAMS IN THE PAST TWO YEARS
Jim Mora brought UCLA toward the top of the conference, but the Bruins have not reached that top step, in part because they’ve been hamstrung by head-scratching home losses.
Three times in the past two years, a top-25 UCLA team entered a home game only to get knocked down by an unranked opponent.
In 2014, it was Utah. In 2015, it was Arizona State and Washington State. UCLA lost to Utah and Arizona State as a top-10 team, being ranked eighth and seventh, respectively, at the time of the games. The loss to Washington State came as the No. 18 team in the nation.
In the past two years, the Bruins are notably better on the road. In 2014 and 2015, UCLA is 7-5 at home and 11-3 in away or neutral games. UCLA went a perfect 7-0 outside of the Rose Bowl in 2014. When considering Mora’s entire four-year tenure at the school, the numbers even out a little bit: 17-8 at home, 20-8 away/neutral.
The Bruins are close to the conference championship — a lot closer than they were before Mora arrived. But to continue their upward trajectory and reach that coveted Pac-12 title, they have to win the games they’re supposed to win at home.