With sophomore Ellis McCarthy already sidelined and senior Cassius Marsh ejected for a personal foul, defensive end Keenan Graham ate up snaps. The senior had his fifth sack of the season, the best mark in the Pac-12.
“I’m disappointed, honestly, with the way I played,” Graham said. “I got a sack, but I’ve got to go back to the film room. I know there’s a lot of mistakes I made.”
Brett Hundley’s 410 passing yards were a career high and the third-best total in UCLA history, but the redshirt sophomore left several plays on the field. He underthrew running back Damien Thigpen on a wheel route that likely would turned into an 80-yard touchdown, and also missed a wide open Shaq Evans in the end zone.
“There is a lot left on the field,” Hundley said. “We can get that much better. It’s rare (to have 410 yards be average), to say the least, but that’s really how much I push myself and how much these coaches push me to be great.”
True freshman Thomas Duarte had the biggest of night of his career Saturday, grabbing three passes for 76 yards and a touchdown. His score came in style too, a leaping 27-yard catch that gave UCLA a 24-10 lead just before halftime.
“It’s indescribable,” he said of the touchdown. “I can’t put it in words for you. Just to know that I’m helping my team to this victory, it’s amazing. … I caught it and 90,000 fans went crazy.”
UCLA’s offense put up 37 points against Cal Saturday night, but could have easily cleared 50 had it not stuttered in the red zone. The Bruins converted all five opportunities for points, but only two turned into touchdowns.
“He missed a couple of throws down there in the goal line that just changed the whole game around,” offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said of quarterback Brett Hundley. “Three of them down there where we had to settle for field goals. I kind of got out of sync a little bit on our third-and-short (play calls).”
After rushing for 92 yards at Utah, redshirt freshman Paul Perkins managed just 36 yards on 14 carries. Cal stacked the box against UCLA, holding the Bruins to 2.3 yards per carry while allowing quarterback Brett Hundley to pass for 410 yards.
“They played it a little differently,” Perkins said. “The “Mike” (line)backer was man on me, so it was hard to shake him off.”
As a first-year head coach last season, Jim Mora got a bit of a wake-up call when UCLA fell flat in a 43-17 loss at Cal — a performance for which he blames himself.
Mora still got his team to nine wins in a resurgent season. Sonny Dykes’ Berkeley debut won’t come close to that. Done in by both injuries and a relative inability to play defense, the Bears have become one of the worst teams in the Pac-12. Here’s how the two teams stack up for their 7:30 p.m. Saturday kickoff at the Rose Bowl.
UCLA offense vs. Cal defense
UCLA is averaging 48 points per game (fifth in the country), 561.8 yards (fourth) and a 58.33 percent third-down conversion rate (third). Cal is allowing 524.0 yards per game (123rd) and 45.0 points (124th). Continue reading
No. 11 UCLA (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) vs. Cal (1-4, 0-2)
Location: Rose Bowl, Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m.
TV: ESPN2 (Mike Patrick, Ed Cunningham, Jeannine Edwards)
Radio: 570 AM (Chris Roberts, Matt Stevens, Wayne Cook)
Last meeting: Cal upset No. 25 UCLA, 43-17, in what was the Bruins’ worst outing of 2012. The Bears picked off Brett Hundley four times and sacked him five times.
2012 records: Bruins (9-5, 6-3); Bears (3-9, 2-7)
Key storylines: UCLA won’t likely peek forward to next weekend’s Stanford trip. No, most of the team is still seething over last year’s 43-17 upset loss to Cal.
“You can tell on all their faces,” said true freshman linebacker Myles Jack. “They have a bitter feeling about that game. Coach Mora, he’s still sour about that game. I’m just feeding off that energy.”
Jack and the rest of the team shouldn’t have much trouble exacting revenge. The Bruins are a better squad than they were last year, and the Bears are significantly worse.
Led by first-year head coach Sonny Dykes, Cal is limping through its rebuilding season. Continue reading
– According to UCLA head coach Jim Mora, nothing about Cal quarterback Jared Goff’s film makes him look like a true freshman.
“His poise for his age and his experience (stand out),” Mora said. “His ability to get the ball out of his hand quickly and throw accurately. His decision-making. I think he’s a really good football player.”
– Defensive end Ellis McCarthy returned to practice after suffering a head injury against Utah last Thursday. He did light work on the sideline and is still doubtful to play Saturday. Continue reading