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.
With two three-and-outs to start the game, UCLA offensive coordinator did little to quiet his critics. On its first six plays, the Bruins ran five times, with just one rush of over two yards.
“After the first two series, I was looking at my Uber app on my phone to see if they could get an SUV to come pick me up,” he said.
Finally, he said, he gave up on trying to establish the run game and let Brett Hundley air it out. He threw a 76-yard touchdown to Devin Fuller.
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.”
Senior Damien Thigpen had his best game yet since coming back from a torn ACL, leading UCLA running backs with 38 yards. He took one of his four carries into the end zone, and another 27 yards up the middle to set up a score for receiver Devin Fuller. Continue reading
Sophomore defensive lineman Ellis McCarthy had another strong game, notching a sack and tipping a pass for a pass breakup. He also addressed how chippy the game got towards the end, with several UCLA and Colorado players getting in each others’ faces.
“We were just — I guess all the dumb penalties committed by me and other teammates just got to them,” he said. “There’s really nothing to say.”
UCLA isn’t going to lose, but how might the Bruins look along the way?
UCLA offense vs. Colorado defense: Running back Jordon James (ankle) is a game-time decision for the Bruins, and coach Jim Mora said the team has missed him more than expected. Still, he could return to more of a timeshare in the backfield than what he left. Continue reading
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
Here are the full results of the Pac-12 preseason media poll, with first-place votes in parentheses. Few surprises down the line, as Oregon was named both the North Division and conference favorite. UCLA was named the South Division favorite, and also receive three votes as the Pac-12 champion.
1. UCLA (12) … 130
2. Arizona State (9) … 124
3. USC (4) … 113
4. Arizona … 73
5. Utah … 58
6. Colorado … 27
1. Oregon (14) … 139
2. Stanford (11) … 134
3. Oregon State … 91
4. Washington … 81
5. Cal … 45
6. Washington State … 32
Pac-12 Champion: Oregon (13 votes)
Others: Stanford (8), UCLA (3)