UCLA shakes slow start to beat Buffaloes 45-23

Despite letting Colorado stick around for the better part of the first half, UCLA finally started taking some shots downfield for its third conference win.

Our coverage from Saturday night’s 45-23 decision, running in the Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Daily News and other LANG papers:

– My story on Brett Hundley’s good-not-great showing against Colorado.
– Vinny Bonsignore called the Colorado game a trap for UCLA, one it wiggled out of following hyped-up visits to Stanford and Oregon.
– Jill Painter pointed out UCLA’s seven first-half penalties, leading Jim Mora to indirectly call her a “Debbie Downer.”
– A notebook on UCLA’s success in using true freshmen, including Cameron Judge’s big forced fumble.

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UCLA 45, Colorado 23: Quarterback Brett Hundley


UCLA coach Jim Mora said after his team’s 45-23 win that quarterback Brett Hundley looked less burdened against Colorado, throwing for 273 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The redshirt sophomore denied feeling weighed down by his struggles last month.

“To be honest, I don’t really feel a burden or loss of confidence with what happened these past two weeks,” he said. “Two weeks isn’t going to kill somebody. … If it does, you’re not really playing the game to love the game.”

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At a glance: No. 17 UCLA vs. Colorado

No. 17 UCLA (5-2, 2-2 Pac-12) vs. Colorado (3-4, 0-4)
Location:
Rose Bowl, Nov. 2, 4:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports 1 (Craig Bolerjack, Joey Harrington, Ryan Nece)
Radio: 570 AM (Chris Roberts, Matt Stevens, Wayne Cook)

Last meeting: UCLA beat the Buffs, 42-14, in Boulder as Brett Hundley threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more. Colorado was in the midst of a 1-11 season under Jon Embree, who was fired after just two years.

Key storylines: The Bruins need to get their offense back on track after several lackluster efforts this month. The offensive line looks like it’s coming together again after losing three left tackles to injury, but quarterback Brett Hundley has veered from average to mediocre to awful this month. The Buffs provide him an easy target, but a high-volume performance that only looks good in the box score — see his 410 yards against Cal — won’t bode well.

Colorado is simply trying to become competitive. Continue reading

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Report: Brett Hundley’s reps talked to Jay-Z, Roc Nation

According to the National Football Post, UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley is already planning out an NFL future.

NFP’s Jason Cole reported that Hundley’s representatives contacted rapper Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports about the possibility of a deal should the player declare in 2014.

Hundley’s father, Brett Hundley Sr., vehemently denied that his son is thinking about leaving UCLA, or that he has had contact with any agents. It is not an NCAA violation for an athlete to talk to an agent if the athlete did not receive any illicit benefits.

The redshirt sophomore has immense potential at the sport’s most crucial position, and has generated talk as one of the country’s top quarterback prospects.

Hundley’s recent play, however, has not fit the profile potential first-round pick. Coming off a career-worst 64-yard passing performance at No. 2 Oregon, he has particularly struggled with deep throws and seeing downfield.

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Brett Hundley reviews poor performance at Oregon


Quarterback Brett Hundley didn’t go into great detail on what went wrong in his 64-yard passing performance Saturday, mostly framing the 42-14 loss at Oregon as a learning experience.

“There’s always those stepping stones that you’ve got to cross over,” he said. “That you’ve got to cross over to really become great at any position. These are games that I really believe I can learn from, and hold dear to.”

Hundley said the hit he took at Utah early this month hasn’t had a lingering effect on him either physically or mentally. The quarterback’s vision went blurry after his head hit the turf at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Asked about offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone’s contracting playbook, he stuck to script and said the Bruins just need to execute what’s called.

– The notebook in today’s Daily News covers Hundley’s possible decline in confidence, as well as injuries (Eric Kendricks, Ellis McCarthy, etc.) and some changes in defensive starters.

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Oregon 42, UCLA 14: Reassessing Bruins after Eugene blowout

For a half, UCLA looked like it had a chance to upset Oregon. Then, reality set in as the Ducks unleashed 28 unanswered points, running away with a 42-14 win. A few thoughts from the Bruins’ trip to Autzen Stadium.

1. UCLA isn’t there yet. Everyone knew before the start of the season that the back-to-back Stanford-Oregon ringer would test the Bruins’ mettle. They didn’t exactly rise to the occasion. Jim Mora put it best with an expressive outburst after the loss: Continue reading

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Weekly Q&A — 10/22/13 Answers

Q: Let’s say UCLA wins the South again: If we were to play UofO a second time, and they beat us and went undefeated, advancing to the National Championship game, would we automatically be selected to play in the Rose Bowl as the Pac-12 runner-up?

A: Not automatically, and not likely. First of all, UCLA must win nine games and be among the top 14 teams in the BCS rankings to qualify for an at-large selection. The Bruins would have at least three losses if it loses to Oregon twice, so staying that highly ranked would be difficult. Also, no more than two teams from the same conference can make it unless two non-champions somehow end up No. 1 and 2. UCLA would need two close losses to Oregon, and be a more attractive candidate than Stanford assuming both are at-large BCS qualifiers.

A top-12 team from the MAC, C-USA, Mountain West or Sun Belt would also automatically qualify and take up a BCS bowl slot. Fresno State (Mountain West) and Northern Illinois (MAC) are both undefeated and currently rank No. 17 and 18, respectively. Continue reading

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At a glance: No. 12 UCLA at No. 2 Oregon

No. 12 UCLA (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12) at No. 2 Oregon (7-0, 4-0)
Location:
Autzen Stadium, Oct. 26, 4 p.m.
TV: ESPN (Brent Musberger, Kirk Herbstreit, Heather Cox)
Radio: 570 AM (Chris Roberts, Matt Stevens, Wayne Cook)

Last meeting: An already-fired Rick Neuheisel coached his final game, a spot in the 2011 Pac-12 Championship game that came by way of a USC postseason ban. UCLA lost 49-31 against No. 8 Oregon, as LaMichael James rushed for three scores — tying LenDale White with 52 career touchdowns.

He scored one more in a Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin, taking sole possession of second in conference history.

Key storylines: UCLA is trying to rebound after its first loss of the season, a 24-10 loss at Stanford in which its offense struggled as much as ever in the Jim Mora era. Continue reading

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Brett Hundley talks about Bruins’ offense, O-line


Early this season, Brett Hundley couldn’t talk enough about UCLA’s resurgent offensive line. Since then, two starting tackles have gone down — one (Torian White) lost for the season with a broken ankle, the other (Simon Goines) still uncertain with an injured left MCL.

The quarterback’s most-used line now is talking about what he needs to do to help the five guys in front of him.

“I’ll keep my eyes down the field no matter what’s happening, what’s going on back there,” Hundley said. “I’ve just got to trust that they’re going to get the job done and do my part.”

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