UCLA football 2017 schedule preview: Cal

California’s Demetris Robertson scores on a 39-yard reception against Utah on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016. California’s Demetris Robertson scores on a 39-yard reception against Utah on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016. (AP / Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Cal at UCLA
Friday, Nov. 24 | Rose Bowl

Justin Wilcox has a big project on his hands.

Not only is Cal starting over at quarterback, but its defense has been one of the worst in the country for the past four years under former head coach Sonny Dykes.

The rebuilding process under Wilcox, a rookie head coach, will be slow, but it’s been deliberate so far.

“They don’t let the little things go,” running back Tre Watson told the San Francisco Chronicle of the new coaching staff. We’re trying to win, and that’s their main focus. They want everyone to buy in and be as one. Once you build that, you’re a team. Teams win games.”

Game storylines Continue reading “UCLA football 2017 schedule preview: Cal” »

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First look: UCLA at Cal

California quarterback Davis Webb throws against Utah during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. California won 28-23. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

California quarterback Davis Webb throws against Utah during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. California won 28-23. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

UCLA Bruins (4-7, 2-6 Pac-12) vs. Cal Bears (4-7, 2-6 Pac-12)
Kickoff: 4 p.m. PT, Memorial Stadium
TV: ESPN2
Radio: AM 570

Scouting report: Both teams are playing for pride on Saturday night. The Bears are on a four-game losing streak, having just lost their seventh straight rivalry game to Stanford, 45-31 at home. Despite graduate transfer quarterback Davis Webb’s near seamless transition into the Jared Goff’s vacant starting position, the Bears are hamstrung by one of the worst defenses in the Pac-12. Cal is last in the conference in scoring defense (45.5 points allowed per game) and 11th in yards allowed per game (541.8). UCLA’s anemic rushing offense could get some much-needed help as Cal’s rushing defense allows 290.1 yards per game, the second worst total in the country. Continue reading “First look: UCLA at Cal” »

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UCLA 2016 schedule preview: Cal

UCLA linebacker Aaron Wallace (51) sacks California quarterback Jared Goff (16) in the first half of a NCAA college football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

UCLA linebacker Aaron Wallace (51) sacks California quarterback Jared Goff (16) in the first half of a NCAA college football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

Wrapping up UCLA’s 2016 schedule preview, here is a breakdown of the Bruins’ final opponent, California.

UCLA at California
Sat. Nov. 26 | California Memorial Stadium

2015 in review

Cal played in its first bowl game under head coach Sonny Dykes last year, beating Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl. The Bears, two years removed from a one-win season, finished at 8-5 overall (4-5 Pac-12). UCLA beat Cal 40-24 on Oct. 22 in a banner day for quarterback Josh Rosen. The freshman was 34-for-47 passing for 399 yards and three touchdowns. His 34 completions set a single-game school record. On defense, the Bruins sacked Cal quarterback Jared Goff five times. Continue reading “UCLA 2016 schedule preview: Cal” »

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After loss at Cal, UCLA won’t have shot at winning conference record

After a 75-63 loss to Cal, UCLA coach Steve Alford is now 9-17 in Pac-12 road games in three seasons. (Steve McCrank/Staff)

After a 75-63 loss to Cal, UCLA coach Steve Alford is now 9-17 in Pac-12 road games in three seasons. (Steve McCrank/Staff)

Against the Pac-12’s stingiest defense, UCLA needed nearly five minutes to finally make its first field goal. The Bruins never erased that deficit.

A 75-63 loss at Cal on Thursday kept Steve Alford at just two Pac-12 road wins this season, and knocked him down to an uninspiring 9-17 record during his UCLA tenure. With just three games left in the regular season, the Bruins (15-13, 6-9) are now assured their a non-winning conference record for just the fifth time since 1978 — when the league expanded to 10 teams and an 18-game schedule.

The more immediate ramifications are the almost certain erasure of the Bruins’ chances at the NCAA Tournament. If so, it comes in a year that might see the Pac-12 produce as many as seven March Madness bids, the most in the league’s 12-team era.

While losing at Haas Pavilion wasn’t exactly a case of the Bruins playing down to an inferior team, they also didn’t exactly help themselves. They missed their first five shots, finally breaking through on a floater by junior Isaac Hamilton. Throw in three early turnovers, and that meant a 13-1 game-opening run by Cal — not the type of cushion you want to give to a team that is undefeated at home. Continue reading “After loss at Cal, UCLA won’t have shot at winning conference record” »

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