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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UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley injures left elbow against Texas

UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, with his elbow wrapped before the start of the second half.

UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, with his elbow wrapped before the start of the second half.

UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley injured his left elbow on a scramble during the first quarter of the Bruins’ Saturday game against Texas.

The redshirt junior landed awkwardly at the end of an 11-yard run with just under five minutes left in quarter, putting his weight on his left arm. Trainers examined his left elbow, rubbing it with a salve. A UCLA spokesperson announced that Hundley’s return to the game is “probable.”

(UPDATE: Shortly before the start of the second half, Hundley’s return was ruled “very doubtful.” He was on the sideline with his elbow wrapped.)

Subbing in redshirt sophomore Jerry Neuheisel, the Bruins mustered a scoring drive immediately after the exit of their star quarterback. But after Ka’imi Fairbairn’s 47-yard field goal, UCLA gained just four yards on six plays on their next drive — one that ended with a sack.

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UCLA post-spring position outlook: Quarterbacks

Spring football is done, and over three months still stand between us and the start of UCLA’s third season under Jim Mora — one that comes with national title aspirations and accompanying media glare. Over the next week, this blog will cover each of the Bruins’ position groups. First up …

Quarterbacks

If Brett Hundley stays healthy, UCLA’s Rose Bow/national title aspirations should stay afloat. The rising redshirt junior had a chance to be one of the top quarterbacks taken in this month’s NFL draft had he declared, but chose instead to spend one last year in college. Continue reading

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