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

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

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.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Stanford 31, UCLA 10: Head coach Jim Mora

Heading into what was supposed to be a season for the ages, UCLA head coach Jim Mora often talked about striving for great rather than settling for good. But after a 31-10 loss to Stanford on Friday ended their shot at a Pac-12 Championship, the Bruins are again sitting closer to the latter.

“We’re not there yet,” Mora said. “We’re not playing in the Pac-12 Championship game. We’re good. We’re pretty good and we’re getting better. Like I’ve said many times, we’re on the right path.”

He continued by talking about the accomplishments of this senior class, including three straight nine-win seasons and three straight wins over USC: “All that gets overshadowed when you go out and play like this in a big game like this.”

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email