Jim Mora defends UCLA football against ‘gloom and doom’

UCLA slipped past Colorado on Saturday with a 40-37 road win in double overtime, but it was a victory that saw the Bruins make mistake after mistake against a lesser opponent.

A day later, Jim Mora wanted to remind everyone that this program looked far worse not too long ago.

“Let’s all remember that the last game UCLA played before this whole thing started was a 50-0 ass-kicking,” he said Sunday.

The third-year head coach was referring, of course, to the Bruins’ 50-0 loss to USC in 2011 — one that came just days after former head coach Rick Neuheisel said UCLA had “closed the gap” with their crosstown rivals.

Technically, the Bruins played two more games before Mora took over: a 49-31 loss to then-No. 8 Oregon in the Pac-12 title game, and a 20-14 loss to Illinois in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

But that 50-0 shellacking against the Trojans was the low point that prompted Neuheisel’s firing just days later. Two weeks after that, UCLA hired Mora — who, despite his team’s recent struggles, orchestrated a quick turnaround that few expected.

“We’re only two and a half years into our tenure here, and we’ve won 75 percent of our regular season games with a completely overhauled roster,” Mora said. “I don’t know if you guys know that, but we’re 24-8 in regular season games here since we’ve been here, with a completely overhauled roster.” Continue reading

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UCLA’s win at Colorado just the latest in season of ugly games

Brett Hundley runs past Colorado’s Chidobe Awuzie for an 8-yard, game-winning touchdown in double overtime. (Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

» UCLA snuck out of Boulder with a 40-37 win, but needing double overtime to survive Colorado is one more step down the hole of an underwhelming season.
» The Bruins still can’t shake the penalty bug, and are now losing an average of 80 yards per game to flags under Jim Mora.

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UCLA 40, Colorado 37: Head coach Jim Mora

UCLA barely escaped Colorado on Saturday, needing a Brett Hundley keeper in double overtime to finish out the 40-37 win. It was just the latest closer-than-expected performance in a season that has seen the Bruins struggle to close out against lesser teams.

Asked what needs to change, head coach Jim Mora said: “You mean winning? Well, we’re 6-2. So I hope nothing changes. I hope we keep winning. ‘Cause winning is the objective in competitive sports and we won. We will go back and evaluate everything, but boy — I hope nothing changes in terms of the result because I like winning.”

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UCLA escapes Colorado with 40-37 win in double overtime

Boulder, Colo. — This one was ugly. And this season, UCLA has been no stranger to ugly.

A year that once began with title-contention hopes has instead been mired in sloppy play and mind-numbing mistakes. The No. 25 Bruins escaped Colorado with a 40-37 in double overtime at Colorado, but it looked like their worst showing yet.

After the two teams traded field goals to start overtime, Brett Hundley ended the game with an eight-yard run into the end zone — keeping UCLA from what would have been a disastrous collapse.

Buffs quarterback Sefo Liufau had led a pair of fourth-quarter scoring drives to pull Colorado to within three points, and Will Oliver tied the game on a 35-yard field with 36 seconds left. On the last drive of regulation, the Bruins committed back-to-back false start and holding penalties.

With two more ranked opponents left on the schedule, UCLA entered Folsom Field needing something – anything – that offered a glimpse of hope that this team could gel down the stretch. Against a squad that entered the weekend as arguably the Pac-12′s worst team, the Bruins never found the solution. Continue reading

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