Brett Hundley (again) says he is likely declaring for NFL draft

When Brett Hundley announced in January that he was coming back to UCLA for his redshirt junior season, he made clear that this would be his last run with the Bruins.

“We won’t be here doing this again next year,” the quarterback said then.

Since then, he’s said a few more times that nothing has changed. But just in case anyone is keeping track of how often Hundley needs to tell everyone he’s gone, here’s the latest.

“There’s a really good chance that was my last game against USC,” Hundley said on The Jim Rome Show today. “The conversation keep coming up. I’ve got my degree. I’ve done everything I wanted to do here. I’ve left something really, truly great, and I feel good. That’s probably my last one against USC.”

Hundley has a chance to beat Stanford this week and Oregon in the Pac-12 title game — two teams that have haunted him — but said after practice today he isn’t worried about how that affects the scope of his career.

“I think I’ve done a lot throughout my career here,” he said. “Hopefully, we pull out this win on Friday. You can’t worry about what you have done, what you haven’t done.”

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UCLA men’s basketball makes AP poll debut at No. 22

UCLA’s Norman Powell makes a layup against Long Beach State during a 77-63 win at Pauley Pavilion on Nov. 23, 2014. (Stephen Carr/Staff)

It needed four games, but UCLA men’s basketball has made its first appearance in the Associated Press top 25 this season.

The Bruins debuted at No. 22 after beating Long Beach State, 77-63, at on Sunday night. The 49ers provided UCLA with its first real challenge at Pauley Pavilion, closing to within five points with three minutes left. Steve Alford’s team held an 11-point halftime lead, but shot just 37.5 percent from the field and 9-of-18 from the line in the second half.

“That’s the poorest we’ve been coming out of halftime. But we needed this,” Alford said. “We needed to see what happens when someone punches you in the second half.”

The Bruins now travel to the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas, opening with a 11:30 a.m. PT tipoff against Oklahoma on Wednesday. They will then face either Butler or No. 5 North Carolina on Thursday, and another team on Friday. The tournament also features No. 2 Wisconsin, No. 18 Florida, and Georgetown.

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UCLA defensive back Ishmael Adams still limited by ankle injury

UCLA defensive back and returner Ishmael Adams injured his ankle in Saturday’s 38-20 win against USC, and remained limited during Monday’s practice.

However, head coach Jim Mora sounded optimistic about Adams’ chances to return against Stanford this Friday to help the Bruins clinch the Pac-12 South. The 5-foot-8 corner has returned two interceptions for touchdowns this season, as well as 100-yard kick return score. He also has 33 tackles and four pass breakups.

“He came out and he moved around,” Mora said. “I didn’t see much of a limp. Continue reading

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UCLA holds off Long Beach State in 77-63 win at Pauley Pavilion

UCLA moved to 4-0 on a 77-63 win over Long Beach State, but allowed the 49ers to get within five points with 3:00 left on the clock. Norman Powell and Bryce Alford combined for 41 points, while Kevon Looney logged his third straight double-double. Here’s the game story from Chris Trevino, who filled in at Pauley Pavilion tonight.

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Notes: UCLA’s win over USC featured several milestones

Brett Hundley celebrates UCLA's 38-20 win over USC on Saturday, a game in which he threw for three touchdowns and ran for another.

Brett Hundley celebrates UCLA’s 38-20 win over USC on Saturday, a game in which he threw for three touchdowns and ran for another.

» I mentioned it in my story from UCLA’s 38-20 win over USC last night, but it’s worth repeating again: For the first time ever, the Bruins’ football program has three straight nine-win seasons.

Several times before, UCLA had gotten close. The Bruins had back-to-back nine-win seasons in the mid-1950s, but those were bracketed by a eight- and seven-win campaigns. Tommy Prothro opened his tenure a decade later with eight, nine and seven wins. And from 1982-88, Terry Donahue had five nine- or 10-win seasons broken up by seven wins in 1983 and eight wins in 1986.

Last month, Jim Mora got particularly defensive about the Bruins’ lackluster midseason performances, and challenged everyone to find a stretch of UCLA football that’s better than this one — considering youth and turnover. With UCLA potentially in line to win 11 games for the first time, his argument looks stronger by the week.

» How much has the rivalry swung? UCLA hasn’t won three straight games over USC by double digits since 1952-55, when Red Sanders coached the Bruins to 13-0, 34-0, and 17-7 victories.

» Brett Hundley finished the game against USC with all types of new UCLA records, passing Cade McNown to become the new career leader in total offensive yards (11,353) and extending his own mark of 300-yard total offense games to 19. He had his 10th career 300-yard passing game, and needs just one more to tie McNown. He ran for his 28th career touchdown, which breaks his tie with John Sciarra and puts him alone in second behind Gary Beban (35) among Bruin quarterbacks.

But despite finishing 22-of-31 for 326 yards and three touchdown passes, it was not an overly impressive game for the redshirt junior. He didn’t see the defender on his early interception near the sideline, and it was the type of coverage that had cost him turnovers before. A lot of his longer passes also benefited from yards after the catch by his receivers, or poor coverage by USC, or both.

It’s clear, however, that he trusts his offensive line more and more — something offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone confirmed after the game. He has good reason. UCLA has allowed 32 sacks this season, but just eight in its last five games. That stretch coincides with when Conor McDermott taking over as starting left tackle.

» The defensive line played its best game of the season, finally generating the type of pass rush that defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich had promised would come for most of the season. Continue reading

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UCLA moves up to No. 9 in AP poll after beating USC

Defensive end Takkarist McKinley celebrates UCLA's 38-20 win over USC on Saturday night. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Defensive end Takkarist McKinley celebrates UCLA’s 38-20 win over USC on Saturday night. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA was already ranked in the top 10 of the playoff rankings last Tuesday, but the Associated Press voters followed suit after watching it thump USC for the third straight year.

The Bruins moved up two spots to No. 9, the same spot they held in last week’s playoff rankings. The selection committee has consistently placed Pac-12 teams higher than their placements in AP poll, which bodes well for UCLA’s chances to continue creeping up on Tuesday evening.

The Bruins are in the top 10 of the AP poll for the first time since September, when they were ranked eighth following a blowout win at Arizona State. Jim Mora’s squad is currently the second-highest ranked two-loss team, one spot behind Georgia.

Oregon stayed at No. 3, and will play the Bruins for the Pac-12 title if the latter beats Stanford. If UCLA loses, the Ducks will instead face the winner of Arizona vs. Arizona State. Both of those games will kick off Friday at 12:30 p.m. PT.

Utah and USC are both out of the poll entirely, as well as out of the Pac-12 South race.

The Pac-12 and the SEC each have four teams ranked in the top 15 of the AP poll. The Big 12 and the Big Ten have three each, while the ACC’s lone entry is No. 1 Florida State.

See the full Associated Press poll below: Continue reading

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Five-star linebacker Keisean Lucier-South commits to UCLA

The news got a bit buried as UCLA began its 38-20 demolition of USC at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night, but the Bruins picked up their biggest 2015 commitment yet an hour before kickoff.

Five-star prospect Keisean Lucier-South picked the Bruins over offers from just about every other team in the Pac-12, as well as top programs such as Alabama, Florida State and TCU. Ranked fifth-best outside linebacker in the country by Scout.com, and the third-best by Rivals.com, the 6-foot-4, 211-pounder is a consensus top-40 recruit across all positions.

The Orange Lutheran product is the second five-star recruit to commit to UCLA’s 2015 class. Top quarterback Josh Rosen has already signed a grant-in-aid agreement with the Bruins.

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UCLA wins third straight over USC in emphatic fashion

Receiver Devin Lucien and the rest of the Bruins celebrate UCLA’s third straight win over UCLA on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014.

For anyone looking to relive UCLA’s 38-20 win over USC on Saturday night, check out the photo gallery our staff photographers Hans Gutknecht and Keith Birmingham shot by clicking through above. Here’s the rest of the game coverage from LANG:

» Mark Whicker’s column on just how quickly UCLA has turned around the Los Angeles football rivalry.
» Brett Hundley’s three touchdown passes made him the first UCLA quarterback to win three straight over USC since Cade McNown.
» A closer look at linebacker Eric Kendricks’ key interception, one that stood up to video review.
» UCLA’s win over USC sets up a potential rematch with Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship on Dec. 5.
» On the opposite sideline, first-year head coach Steve Sarkisian flopped despite his USC pedigree.

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