Jerry Neuheisel reflects on his big game in UCLA’s win over Texas

Jerry Neuheisel played the game of his life last Saturday at AT&T Stadium, leading a dramatic 20-17 comeback win against Texas and being carried off the field by his teammates.

With the health of Brett Hundley’s left elbow still a bit unclear, UCLA’s backup quarterback could take the field again at Arizona State next Thursday.

So when he stood in front of reporters on Wednesday, this was one of the first questions he heard: Do you go into this week thinking ‘I’m going to be the guy’? Well, he said, that’s how he and all backup quarterbacks prepare week in and week out — and if they didn’t, they probably wouldn’t do very well as starters. Continue reading

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Jim Mora stays quiet about UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley

Jim Mora is going to keep Arizona State guessing.

With a week to go until his team visits the Sun Devils at 7 p.m. next Thursday, the UCLA head coach declined to offer any information on quarterback Brett Hundley — or the status of any other injured Bruins. Hundley injured his left elbow during the first quarter of UCLA’s 20-17 win against Texas last Saturday, but was seen entering practice on Wednesday.

A few weeks ago, Mora said that the team had picked a backup quarterback (that he declined to name publicly). On Wednesday, he tried to back off from even that statement. He praised Jerry Neuheisel’s performance against the Longhorns — one in which the redshirt sophomore threw a game-winning 33-yard touchdown pass — but did not commit to him as the next one on the depth chart.

“Just because Jerry went in that game doesn’t mean that’s our backup quarterback,” Mora said. “We’ve never determined who’s No. 2, 3, 4. We’ve got a whole bunch of guys. Next time someone has to go in, it could be Asiantii (Woulard). Heck, Asiantii might start the Arizona State game. Who knows?”

Mora did say he was sure that new JUCO transfer defensive end Takkarist McKinley will play at ASU, and could contribute 10 to 15 snaps.

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Jerry Neuheisel named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week

Jerry Neuheisel earned something that’s eluded even Brett Hundley this season: Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week.

UCLA’s backup quarterback was voted the conference’s top performer after lifting the Bruins past Texas with his unlikely heroics, throwing a 33-yard touchdown to Jordan Payton with three minutes left. Neuheisel finished the 20-17 win with 178 yards and two scores on 23-of-30 passing.

The status of Hundley’s injured left elbow remains fuzzy as UCLA enters its bye week.

Cornerback Ishmael Adams, who set up Neuheisel’s touchdown pass with a 45-yard punt return, was voted Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week. He totaled 62 yards on three punt returns and also returned a kickoff for 14 yards.

Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson won defensive player of the week after returning an interception and a fumble for touchdowns in the Huskies’ 44-19 win over Illinois.

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Jim Mora: No status update on Brett Hundley’s elbow injury

UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley (17) watches action against UCLA from the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 13,  2014, in Arlington, Texas. He left the game after an injury in the first half. (AP/Tony Gutierrez)

UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley (17) watches from the sideline on Sept. 13, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. He the Bruins’ eventual 20-17 win after a first-quarter elbow injury. (AP/Tony Gutierrez)

After injuring his left elbow early in UCLA’s 20-17 win over Texas, star quarterback Brett Hundley’s status won’t be official one way or another until the Bruins take the field again.

“I’m not going to tell anybody anything until kickoff versus Arizona State,” head coach Jim Mora said Sunday. “Nobody. Nothing.”

Hundley reportedly suffered a slight hyperextension of his left (non-throwing) elbow that will hold him out one week, but Mora said the redshirt junior had not yet had his MRI. He may be examined on Monday, but Mora didn’t give a firm schedule.

UCLA (3-0) has a bye week ahead, and will travel to Tempe to play the Sun Devils on Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. PT. That’s ideal timing for the Bruins, which can now give its Heisman contender more time to recover — as well as give backup Jerry Neuheisel more practice reps if needed to fill in. Continue reading

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UCLA’s Paul Perkins runs for career-high 126 yards in Texas

Without quarterback Brett Hundley, the UCLA offense leaned on another Chandler High product: running back Paul Perkins.

Fresh off career highs in last weekend’s win against Memphis, the redshirt sophomore churned out a career-high 126 yards on 24 carries Saturday in UCLA’s 20-17 victory over Texas — the first triple-digit game of his career.

Perkins, who grew up with Hundley in Arizona, had cleared the 90-yard mark in three of his last 12 games. He also broke out a career-long 58-yard run at AT&T Stadium, one that helped set up backup quarterback Jerry Neuheisel’s three-yard touchdown pass to fullback Nate Iese.

“I was just having fun out there,” Perkins said. Continue reading

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Rick Neuheisel watches Jerry Neuheisel lead UCLA past Texas

It was almost too perfect.

Three decades after his father led UCLA to the Rose Bowl, Jerry Neuheisel’s dreams came true. In three-plus quarters of injury relief for Brett Hundley, the redshirt sophomore completed 23 of his 30 passes for 178 yards — guiding the Bruins to a 20-17 win over Texas at AT&T Stadium.

And of course, the coup de grâce: his 33-yard pass to Jordan Payton for the game-winning touchdown.

Back at the Pac-12 Networks in San Francisco, Rick Neuheisel watched the whole thing.

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UCLA 20, Texas 17: Noel Mazzone talks about playcalling

After starting quarterback Brett Hundley injured his left elbow in the first quarter, UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone dialed back the playbook. He opened it up at the perfect moment.

He called for receiver Jordan Payton to make a double-move down the left sideline. Backup quarterback Jerry Neuheisel saw the cornerback’s eyes, pump-faked, and threw a 33-yard dime for the go-ahead score. Bruins 20, Longhorns 17.

“It was kind of right on the tip of my tongue for two drives,” Mazzone said. I was kind of just waiting for the right time. … They started playing a little man (coverage), and I thought, ‘Hey, if we’re going to take a shot, this is how we’re going to take a shot with them.’”

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UCLA 20, Texas 17: Jerry Neuheisel talks about his big game

UCLA left Texas with a 20-17 win thanks to backup quarterback Jerry Neuheisel, who filled after Brett Hundley injured his left elbow. Neuheisel threw a game-winning, 33-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Payton, and finished 23-of-30 for 178 yards and two scores.

“As my dad used say, ‘It’s a great day to be alive and be a Bruin,’” Neuheisel said. “Can’t mean it more than I do today.”

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Jerry Neuheisel’s big game pushes UCLA to 20-17 win over Texas

Backup quarterback Jerry Neuheisel is carried off the field after UCLA’s 20-17 win over Texas on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014.

» Despite losing Brett Hundley to an elbow injury, UCLA beat Texas 20-17 after backup quarterback Jerry Neuheisel threw a 33-yard go-ahead touchdown to Jordan Payton.

» UCLA started both halves on offense after Texas accidentally asked to start the game on defense following the coin flip.

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