Report: Quarterback Brett Hundley’s elbow injury not serious

When UCLA lost quarterback Brett Hundley to a left elbow injury in the first quarter of a 20-17 win over Texas on Saturday night, its hopes for a banner season teetered on the brink.

The good news for the Bruins is that they don’t play again until visiting Arizona State on Thursday, Sept. 25. The bye week ahead should give the star quarterback more time to recover.

FOX Sports’ Bruce Feldman reported that Hundley suffered a slight hyperextension of the elbow at AT&T Stadium, and should be ready in a week.

Head coach Jim Mora said after the game that the team decided not to put the right-handed Hundley back in the game after he had his elbow X-rayed. He will be further evaluated with an MRI once the Bruins return to Los Angeles. Continue reading

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Mora planning strategic introduction to AT&T Stadium

Jim Mora saw enough of AT&T Stadium during his time coaching in the NFL to prompt a strategic introduction of the $1.15 billion facility to his players.

Mora plans to lead the Bruins on a thorough tour of the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium on Friday in an effort to limit it as a source of distraction on Saturday.

“It’s a pretty awe-inspiring place,” Mora said. “We’re going to try and get all the giddiness out of our system. You know, look at the scoreboard and go ‘Ooh, ahh, that’s cool.’ We’re going to walk through the bar, walk around the concourses and kind of take it all in so when we arrive there on Saturday, OK, we’ve done that.”

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Jim Mora: UCLA embraces ‘underdog’ mentality

Touted widely as a national title contender, UCLA was favored by 20-plus points against both Virginia and Memphis.

The Bruins escaped Charlottesville with a 28-20 decision, and held off the Tigers 42-35 at the Rose Bowl last weekend. Needless to say, many analysts are rethinking UCLA’s position on the college totem poll. After starting the season ranked No. 7 in the Associated Press poll, the Bruins have dropped to No. 12 — falling behind USC (ranked ninth) for the first time since Oct. 28, 2012.

The problems have been difficult to narrow down. In the season opener against Virginia, UCLA scored three defensive touchdowns and held the Cavaliers to 4.6 yards per play — carrying a stuttering offense to victory. In the home opener against Memphis, the Bruins rolled up 540 yards of offense but allowed 469.

But can an underperforming 2-0 squad now be considered an underdog? Head coach Jim Mora wants it that way.

“I don’t want expectations to become a burden,” he said Tuesday. “Knocking us back on track — no. Maybe just refocusing a little bit. Getting back to the roots of who we are. We’re an underdog. That’s who we are. We like it when people doubt us. That helps inspire us. I’m not saying it should, but it does. …

“I just think we were tight. I think that we let the outside expectations become a little bit of a burden for us.”

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Notes: UCLA beats Memphis, but struggles for second straight week

» Center Jake Brendel returned after sitting out UCLA’s season opener recovering from a sprained knee, but two more Bruins went down on Saturday during the Bruins’ 42-35 win over Memphis.

Receiver Eldridge Massington looked wobbled his way off the field, appearing to hurt his left ankle. His limp didn’t look severe and he moved without assistance on the sideline. The redshirt freshman tore his left ACL back in high school, but this injury doesn’t look related.

Safety Randall Goforth left the game with a shoulder injury and did not return. He had injured his shoulder in training camp, and likely aggravated it on Saturday. His potential absence is especially concerning given that the UCLA secondary has underachieved compared to preseason expectations. The unit looked like one of the Bruins’ deepest, but hasn’t locked down opponents through two weeks.

Junior Fabian Moreau, who looked like a lockdown corner through spring and training camp, might be the most disappointing member of the defensive backfield.

» UCLA gave up 469 offensive yards to Memphis, the most the Bruins have surrendered to a regular-season nonconference opponent under third-year head coach Jim Mora.

Perhaps more concerning was that the Tigers scored 14 points in the fourth quarter. It was the second straight game that UCLA failed to outscore their opponents in the second half; the Bruins had done that against eight straight nonconference opponents — compiling a 190-51 advantage through the past two seasons.

» This might be the most surprising stat of the season so far: Through two games, UCLA has notched just one sack while allowing nine to opposing teams. Continue reading

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UCLA 42, Memphis 35: Jim Mora reviews defensive struggles

After a strong performance at Virginia to open the season, UCLA’s defense gave up 469 offensive yards to Memphis on Saturday in a 42-35 win. It was the most the Bruins surrendered to a regular-season nonconference opponent since head coach Jim Mora arrived in 2012.

“I felt like guys were trying to do too much, rather than doing what they were supposed to do,” Mora said. “When you try to do too much, ultimately what happens is, you get exposed.”

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VIDEO: Jim Mora updates status of injured UCLA offensive linemen

Head coach Jim Mora said that center Jake Brendel (knee) is a gametime decision for UCLA’s home opener against Memphis this Saturday, but hinted that tackle Simon Goines (ankle) might be out for a while longer. He also talked about the maturation of reserve lineman Ben Wysocki, who is a new husband and father.

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Jim Mora: Center Jake Brendel close to return from sprained knee

After missing his first start at UCLA, center Jake Brendel appears to be day-to-day in his recovery from a sprained knee.

Head coach Jim Mora said Sunday that Brendel was “very, very close” to returning to full action after injuring his MCL three weeks ago in training camp. The Bruins’ offensive line looked awful in Saturday’s 28-20 win at Virginia, and losing their most experienced lineman played a significant role.

Brendel dressed and warmed up at Scott Stadium, but sat on the bench while sophomore Scott Quessenberry took his place. The redshirt junior had started 27 straight games for UCLA over the last two seasons, giving Mora and his staff an anchor in the middle of the line.

“I didn’t realize that, until after the game yesterday, it was the first game since we’ve been here as a staff that Jake hasn’t been our starting center,” Mora said. “He’s a leader. He’s a great communicator. He’s got toughness. He’s got experience.” Continue reading

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