Paul Perkins finishes regular season as Pac-12′s rushing leader

UCLA's Paul Perkins ran for 116 yards in a 31-10 loss to Stanford on Nov. 28, 2014.  (Will Lester/Staff)

UCLA’s Paul Perkins ran for 116 yards in a 31-10 loss to Stanford on Nov. 28, 2014. (Will Lester/Staff)

Paul Perkins wasn’t UCLA’s starting running back to start the year, but he has ended the regular season as the Pac-12′s leading rusher.

The redshirt sophomore has run for 1,381 yards in 12 games, putting him on top of the conference’s tightest rushing race in years. However, the Pac-12′s record book also factors in postseason games, including the Pac-12 Championship this Friday.

Where the league’s top backs currently stand: Continue reading

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UCLA finishes regular season at No. 16 in Associated Press poll

With the regular season now over, UCLA is ranked No. 16 in the Associated Press poll — the same spot it held after its Sun Bowl win over Virginia Tech last year.

A 31-10 loss to Stanford on Friday dropped the Bruins seven spots, ending a four-week streak of steady climbs up the national rankings. UCLA is now the third-highest ranked team in the Pac-12, behind No. 3 Oregon and No. 8 Arizona, who will face each other in the Pac-12 Championship this coming Friday.

Jim Mora’s third season will likely end in the Alamo, Holiday or Foster Farms Bowl.

See the full AP poll below: Continue reading

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After loss to Stanford, where does UCLA football go now?

Paul Perkins (24) reacts late in the second half of UCLA's 31-10 loss to Stanford at the Rose Bowl on Nov. 28, 2014. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Paul Perkins (24) reacts late in the second half of UCLA’s 31-10 loss to Stanford at the Rose Bowl on Nov. 28, 2014. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

To get an accurate measure of how this season went for UCLA, there’s no better person to turn to than Jim Mora himself.

“We’re not trying to be average,” the head coach told his players back during training camp in San Bernardino. “We’re not after good. Nobody in here is going to be satisfied when, at the end of the year, people say, ‘Oh, they’re a good football team.’

“Great. Every single day, everything we do, that’s got to be our focus: great.”

By that standard, UCLA’s third year under Mora was a tremendous disappointment. There’s no masking that after a 31-10 loss to Stanford ended the Bruins’ chance at a Pac-12 Championship, though the team deserves some credit for not letting the season spiral out of control after losses to Utah and Oregon. At midseason, the Bruins were teetering. The way the team looked after ugly wins at Cal and Colorado, a nine-win season looked optimistic.

But in notching impressive wins over Arizona, Washington and USC, UCLA pushed the bar back up. Expectations rose again to a “New Year’s Six” bowl, or even the College Football Playoff.

The Cardinal ended those dreams, shaping into the Bruins’ schematic Kryptonite even in a down season. It was an outcome that should have seen Mora shouldering more blame, something I recall him emphatically doing only once this year. Continue reading

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UCLA suffers fourth straight loss to Stanford under Jim Mora

Brett Hundley and the rest of the UCLA football team walks off the Rose Bowl field after the Bruins’ 31-10 loss to Stanford on Friday, Nov. 28, 2014.

» On the cusp of the Pac-12 title game, UCLA’s big dreams came crashing down again in another loss to Stanford.
» Eric Kendricks left the Rose Bowl for the last time as UCLA’s all-time leader in tackles, plus notes on the Stanford touchdown that put the game out of reach.
» The Cardinal had struggled on offense most of this season, but Kevin Hogan thoroughly outplayed Brett Hundley.

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