First look: Texas Longhorns

No. 12 UCLA Bruins (2-0) vs. Texas Longhorns (1-1)
Kickoff: 5:15 p.m. PT, AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Texas)
TV: FOX (Gus Johnson, Charles Davis, Molly McGrath)
Radio: 1150 KTLK (Chris Roberts, Matt Stevens, Wayne Cook)

Coach: The defensive coordinator during Florida’s 2006 and 2008 BCS title runs, Charlie Strong coached Louisville for four seasons — finishing his tenure there with a 12-1 campaign. He is one of the few black head coaches in college football. He quickly began cleaning house at Texas, ostensibly to reshape what had become a lax program in the latter years of Mack Brown.

Strong kicked eight Longhorns off the team — including two who were charged with felony sexual assault — and suspended four more. Those still missing include offensive tackles Kennedy Estelle, who started eight games as a sophomore, and Desmond Harrison.

Key players:

QB Tyrone Swoopes, So., 6-4, 243 — 20/31, 176 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 7 carries, 7 rushing yards
– Only ever practiced with the second-team offense until starting quarterback David Ash suffered another concussion. The former four-star dual-threat prospect looked capable, but not exceptional in his first start of his career. The team hasn’t trusted him to throw deep often.

RB Johnathan Gray, Jr., 5-11, 215 — 30 carries, 129 yards
– Was on track to be Texas’ first 1,000-yard rusher since 2007 before tearing his Achilles last November. The former five-star recruit insists he hasn’t lost a step after rushing for 1,481 yards and seven scores in the last two seasons. Continue reading

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UCLA safety Randall Goforth questionable to play against Texas

UCLA might be without starting safety Randall Goforth when it faces Texas in Dallas next weekend.

The 5-foot-10 defensive back exited the Bruins’ 42-35 win over Memphis with a shoulder injury during the first half, and did not return. Head coach Jim Mora said Goforth hasn’t been ruled out for Saturday’s 5 p.m. PT kickoff at AT&T Stadium, but would put his status as “questionable” — and leaning toward “doubtful.” Continue reading

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UCLA ranked below USC in AP poll for the first time since 2012

For the first time in almost two years, UCLA is ranked below USC.

The Bruins fell a spot to No. 12 in the Associated Press poll following Saturday’s 42-35 win over Memphis — their second straight closer-than-expected victory over a seemingly inferior opponent. UCLA had started the season at No. 7, and was a trendy pick to make the inaugural four-team College Football Playoff.

Meanwhile, USC rose to No. 9 in Sunday’s poll after upsetting Stanford, 13-10, on the road. This is the first time the Trojans have been ranked above UCLA in the AP poll since Oct. 28, 2012, when they were seven spots ahead at No. 18.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12, Oregon rose a spot to No. 2 — earning 16 first-place votes after a 46-27 blowout of then-No. 7 Michigan State. The Cardinal and Arizona State are ranked 15th and 16th, respectively.

Full Associated Press poll below: Continue reading

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Notes: UCLA beats Memphis, but struggles for second straight week

» Center Jake Brendel returned after sitting out UCLA’s season opener recovering from a sprained knee, but two more Bruins went down on Saturday during the Bruins’ 42-35 win over Memphis.

Receiver Eldridge Massington looked wobbled his way off the field, appearing to hurt his left ankle. His limp didn’t look severe and he moved without assistance on the sideline. The redshirt freshman tore his left ACL back in high school, but this injury doesn’t look related.

Safety Randall Goforth left the game with a shoulder injury and did not return. He had injured his shoulder in training camp, and likely aggravated it on Saturday. His potential absence is especially concerning given that the UCLA secondary has underachieved compared to preseason expectations. The unit looked like one of the Bruins’ deepest, but hasn’t locked down opponents through two weeks.

Junior Fabian Moreau, who looked like a lockdown corner through spring and training camp, might be the most disappointing member of the defensive backfield.

» UCLA gave up 469 offensive yards to Memphis, the most the Bruins have surrendered to a regular-season nonconference opponent under third-year head coach Jim Mora.

Perhaps more concerning was that the Tigers scored 14 points in the fourth quarter. It was the second straight game that UCLA failed to outscore their opponents in the second half; the Bruins had done that against eight straight nonconference opponents — compiling a 190-51 advantage through the past two seasons.

» This might be the most surprising stat of the season so far: Through two games, UCLA has notched just one sack while allowing nine to opposing teams. Continue reading

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UCLA beats Memphis, 42-35, despite lackluster defensive show

Photos from UCLA’s 42-35 win over Memphis at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014.

A roundup of the coverage in Sunday’s edition of the Daily News, and other Los Angeles News Group properties:

– UCLA beat Memphis, 42-35, but the defense fell apart after a standout performance in Week 1.
– Game story by Clay Fowler, on UCLA’s offensive turnaround.
– Jim Mora wasn’t happy with dropped passes, but UCLA’s receivers put up big numbers on Saturday.
– Notebook: Myles Jack makes his season debut at running back; Troy Aikman’s No. 8 jersey will be retired soon.

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UCLA tailback Paul Perkins sets career highs in season’s first start

Head coach Jim Mora wouldn’t commit to a true No. 1 back, but Paul Perkins sure looked like the man for the job on Saturday in UCLA’s 42-35 win.

In his first start of the season, the redshirt sophomore set career highs with 23 carries, 98 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns against Memphis, including a 17-yard scamper that gave his team an early 6-0 lead. He touched the ball more than any other Bruin has since Nov. 17, 2012 — when all-time leading rusher Johnathan Franklin turned 29 carries into 171 yards and two scores against USC.

Perkins scored his second touchdown on a four-yard run in the second quarter. Continue reading

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