Brett Hundley’s finger injury won’t keep him out of Alamo Bowl

When Brett Hundley accidentally whacked his right hand against a helmet two weeks ago, his finger swelled up so much that he couldn’t finish out the end of UCLA’s 31-10 loss to Stanford.

On Friday morning, after the Bruins held their first formal practice since that regular-season finale, one of the first questions the quarterback faced was: “So can we see the finger?” Hundley smiled and held up both his hands. No one could pick out the damaged digit.

So no, it shouldn’t keep him out of the Alamo Bowl against Kansas State on Jan. 2, which will be his last game in a UCLA uniform. Continue reading

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Jim Mora: Quarterback Brett Hundley’s finger is ‘fine’

UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley is “fine” after injuring his finger in the 31-10 loss to Stanford that ended the Bruins’ regular season.

Hundley injured a finger on his right hand and could not finish the game against the Cardinal. The redshirt junior had an ice pack taped to his hand afterward.

Asked about Hundley, Mora stuck to his favorite answer regarding injuries: “He’s fine.”

Mora also confirmed again that the Alamo Bowl on Jan. 2 will be Hundley’s final game before declaring for the NFL draft — something both the quarterback and his teammates had said before. Hundley originally stated in January that his third season with the Bruins would be his last, following his announcement that he was passing on the 2014 NFL draft.

Hundley was named to the All-Pac-12 second team this month, though his inconsistent play this season likely affected his NFL stock.

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UCLA’s All-Pac-12 selections led by … Ishmael Adams?

UCLA's Ishmael Adams, pictured breaking up a pass intended for USC's Nelson Agholor, was the lone Bruin on an All-Pac-12 first team. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff)

UCLA’s Ishmael Adams, pictured breaking up a pass intended for USC’s Nelson Agholor, was the lone Bruin on an All-Pac-12 first team. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff)

Another round of All-Pac-12 awards, another chorus of approval from across the conference.

Just kidding. As always, postseason honors generate a good amount of chatter, as fans of every team ask why their favorite players were snubbed. But even considering that type of bias, UCLA’s placements on the all-conference teams on Tuesday night were … particularly eye-raising. (You can see the full results, as voted on by Pac-12 head coaches, at the bottom of this post.)

The biggest surprise was Ishmael Adams’ status as the Bruins’ lone first-team pick. Five defensive backs were featured instead of the usual four due to ties, but the scrappy 5-foot-8 cornerback might not even be the best on his own team. The problem is consistency. He made his share of big plays — he returned two interceptions for touchdowns this season — but also saw moments where he gave up key catch or committed a costly penalty.

His presence on the All-Pac-12 first team was even more striking considering the absence of linebacker Eric Kendricks, who recently broke the Bruins’ all-time tackles record. The senior settled for a second-team spot, behind Arizona’s Scooby Wright — the league’s defensive MVP — and Washington’s Hau’oli Kikaha and Shaq Thompson. Continue reading

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Brett Hundley (again) says he is likely declaring for NFL draft

When Brett Hundley announced in January that he was coming back to UCLA for his redshirt junior season, he made clear that this would be his last run with the Bruins.

“We won’t be here doing this again next year,” the quarterback said then.

Since then, he’s said a few more times that nothing has changed. But just in case anyone is keeping track of how often Hundley needs to tell everyone he’s gone, here’s the latest.

“There’s a really good chance that was my last game against USC,” Hundley said on The Jim Rome Show today. “The conversation keeps coming up. I’ve got my degree. I’ve done everything I wanted to do here. I’ve left something really, truly great, and I feel good. That’s probably my last one against USC.”

Hundley has a chance to beat Stanford this week and Oregon in the Pac-12 title game — two teams that have haunted him — but said after practice today he isn’t worried about how that affects the scope of his career.

“I think I’ve done a lot throughout my career here,” he said. “Hopefully, we pull out this win on Friday. You can’t worry about what you have done, what you haven’t done.”

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Notes: UCLA’s win over USC featured several milestones

Brett Hundley celebrates UCLA's 38-20 win over USC on Saturday, a game in which he threw for three touchdowns and ran for another.

Brett Hundley celebrates UCLA’s 38-20 win over USC on Saturday, a game in which he threw for three touchdowns and ran for another.

» 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

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UCLA wins third straight over USC in emphatic fashion

Receiver Devin Lucien and the rest of the Bruins celebrate UCLA’s third straight win over UCLA on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014.

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.

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VIDEO: Brett Hundley on what USC rivalry means to his UCLA legacy

If UCLA beats USC on Saturday at the Rose Bowl, Brett Hundley would leave the program with three straight rivalry wins under his belt. That’s something that former Bruin quarterbacks Gary Beban (Heisman winner) and Troy Aikman (first overall NFL draft pick) can’t even say.

“It would mean a lot to look back and say I’ve been undefeated versus Southern Cal,” Hundley said. “But at the same time, right now … the focus is on us and getting the victory.”

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