No. 17 UCLA opened as a seven-point favorite over Virginia Tech in the 80th Hyundai Sun Bowl. We’re still three weeks out from the 11 a.m. PT New Year’s Eve kickoff, but here are some other (semi-)relevant numbers:
50 — Points scored by UCLA in its 2005 Sun Bowl appearance, which capped the program’s last 10-win season. The win over Northwestern marked the Bruins’ highest scoring output in any postseason appearance. It also set a Sun Bowl record, one broken two years later by Oregon’s 56-21 win over South Florida.
136 — Rushing yards that day by then-freshman Kahlil Bell, a breakout performance that saw him score two touchdowns and clear seven carries for the first time. Bell only ran for triple-digit yards four more times at UCLA.
42.99 — Cost of a Helen of Troy Professional Ceramic Hair Dryer. A similar model is included in the Sun Bowl’s gift package, which also contains a Majestic fleece pullover and gift suite. Continue reading →
According to the USA Today coaches poll, UCLA’s fondest admirer is Mark Helfrich. The Oregon head coach voted the Bruins No. 13 in his final ballot, the highest among 62 participating coaches from the FBS and five spots above the team’s actual placement. Continue reading →
Junior offensive lineman Xavier Su’a-Filo spoke recently about whether or not he will enter the 2014 NFL draft. The biggest factor in his decision will be his grade evaluation, but said he didn’t know a cutoff point that would push him one way or the other. His turning 23 in January, the age of many fifth-year seniors, will also affect his decision; his two-year LDS mission had pushed back his eligibility clock, and could prompt him to leave early in hopes of a longer career.
Su’a-Filo could be an eventual first-rounder at guard, but likely needs to add more strength before NFL franchises see fit to pick him that high.
UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr won the Lott IMPACT Trophy today, his first major national honor this season. The award identifies the best defensive player in college football, but also weighs personal character. The other finalists were USC’s Devon Kennard, Wisconsin’s Chris Borland and Iowa’s James Morris.
Barr is also a finalist for the Lombardi and Bednarik Awards — given to the top lineman on either side of the ball and the top defensive player, respectively. The senior lost the Butkus Award for best linebacker to Alabama’s C.J. Mosley.
UCLA landed four-star defensive tackle Ainuu Taua, according to Rivals.com’s Edward Lewis, adding more depth to a line that loses three seniors. The 6-foot-1, 270-pound Lompoc native visited Westwood this weekend, and gives the Bruins their 13th verbal commitment of the 2014 class.
Taua is rated the 10th-best prospect in California, but UCLA is set at nose tackle with a budding star in freshman Kenny Clark. Continue reading →
UPDATE: The UCLA women’s soccer team wins its first-ever national championship, giving the school 110 NCAA titles. The No. 2 Bruins defeated top-seeded Florida State, 1-0, on a golden goal by sophomore forward Kodi Lavrusky.
The No. 2-seeded UCLA women’s soccer team plays top-seeded Florida State for the national title at 12 p.m. PT in Cary, N.C. It would be the Bruins’ first-ever championship, and the 110th overall across UCLA athletics.
The game will be broadcast on ESPNU, as well as online.
Former USC fullback and longtime assistant Kennedy Polamalu found himself in rival colors Saturday. Hired as UCLA’s new running backs coach, he returned to the place where he got his start as a graduate assistant in 1992.
“Believe me, I was as shocked when I got the phone call as everyone else,” he said. “I’m still kind of in shock.”
Though he spent seven seasons across two stints on the Trojans’ staff, his wife and in-laws are Bruin alums. He got plenty of teasing about seeing “the light.” As for all the USC players he had coached? “They said, ‘Coach, you’re not the enemy; you’re an opponent now.’ I appreciate that.” Continue reading →
Missouri handed No. 18 UCLA its first loss of the season on Saturday, defeating the Bruins 80-71 and extending its home winning streak to 24 games. Jabari Brown scored a game-high 22 points, and was one of three Tigers with at least 20 points.
UCLA’s season-low in scoring came on just 37.7 percent shooting, going 8-of-31 in the second. Sophomore guard Jordan Adams had 22 points and 10 rebounds. Kyle Anderson and Zach LaVine each had 13 points.
Travis and David Wear combined for four points in 43 minutes.