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.
» 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
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
— Keisean South1⃣6⃣ (@KLSouth16) November 23, 2014
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.
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.