First look: No. 24 UCLA vs. Colorado

Colorado's last trip to the Rose Bowl featured this beautiful reunion between brothers Gus (left) and Sam Handler — a sight we unfortunately won't see again this year. (Michael Owen Baker/File)

Colorado’s last trip to the Rose Bowl featured this beautiful reunion between brothers Gus (left) and Sam Handler — a sight we unfortunately won’t see again this year. (Michael Owen Baker/File)

No. 24 UCLA Bruins (5-2, 2-2) vs. Colorado Buffaloes (4-4, 1-3)
Kickoff:
Saturday, Oct. 31, 12 p.m., Rose Bowl
TV: Pac-12 Networks (Roxy Bernstein, Glenn Parker, Jill Savage)
Radio: AM 570 (Bill Roth, Matt Stevens, Wayne Cook)

Scouting report: Colorado is very consistent in its mediocrity this season, ranking No. 80 nationally in both yards gained per play (5.48) and yards allowed (5.72). … The defensive number is actually a significant improvement over Mike MacIntyre’s first two seasons, which saw the Buffs rank outside the top 100 and give up more than 6.0 yards per play. In 2012, they were dead last at 7.11. … Credit that development in part to the arrival of new defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt — a man with an impressive on-field record, but who also got fired by USF for hitting a player and obstructing the school’s ensuing investigation. He has never admitted fault. Colorado is fifth in the Pac-12 with 19 sacks after ranking 11th in the conference for three straight seasons. … The Buffaloes’ offense has become much more run-heavy, though not much more efficient. They’ve run the ball 358 times and passed it 274 times, compared to 451 runs and 545 passes a year ago. They remain in the bottom half of the Pac-12 in scoring (29.8 points) and third-down conversion (39.2%).

Series history: Colorado has only beaten five Pac-12 opponents since joining the conference in 2011. UCLA isn’t among them. The Bruins have won four straight against the Buffaloes, with last year’s 40-37 victory being the only one that came by fewer than 20 points. UCLA also leads the all-time series, 8-2, losing two straight in 2002 and 2003.

Key players:

QB Sefo Liufau, Jr., 6-4, 240 — 160/260, 1,870 yards, 9 TD, 3 INT, 168 rush yards, 5 TD
— He separated the AC joint in his right shoulder a month ago, but hasn’t missed a game. He’s played his best football in his last two games, completing two-thirds of his passes for 479 yards and three touchdowns, while adding three more scores on the ground. Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: Why Ben Howland went to Mississippi State

» Ben Howland still has photos of his Santa Barbara house on his phone, but he’s temporarily given up the comforts of Southern California for Starkville — a place that has given him another chance to coach basketball.

» Charges against Dominique Hatfield have been dropped after an alleged armed robbery, opening the door to a possible return for the Utah cornerback.

» An Oregon State student saved a woman from a burning car. Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: Marcus Mariota is the last unsigned NFL first-round pick

» Former Oregon quarterback and No. 2 overall NFL draft pick Marcus Mariota has not yet signed his contract with the Tennessee Titans, making him the last first-rounder to hold out. A report suggested that Mariota was upset that the contract barred him from surfing — but, disappointingly, others have debunked that reason.

» Utah cornerback Dominique Hatfield has been charged with aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony. A former receiver, he was expected to start as a junior.

» Colorado defensive tackle Josh Tupou has been ruled out for the Buffaloes this season after being arrested in spring, but school officials aren’t commenting further. Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: A Pac-12 team could play Baylor in Australia in 2016

» Baylor is in talks to open the 2016 season in Australia, and would likely face a Pac-12 opponent.

» Less than two years after leaving Arizona State, Texas athletic director Steve Patterson has already made enemies in Austin.

» Former Arizona forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is sponsoring a bus to take 40 kids from his hometown to next week’s NBA Draft.

» Kyle Anderson is holding a basketball clinic this Saturday in memory of a childhood friend who committed suicide. Continue reading

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