UCLA pulled the Victory Bell back into Pauley Pavilion for the second year in a row, ringing it at halftime of the Bruins’ game against UC Santa Barbara. Linebacker Jordan Zumwalt was charged with leading an eight-clap, which he closed with a, um, message for USC.
First, the stories that appear in today’s edition of the Los Angeles Daily News:
– UCLA breaks its four-game losing streak in Tucson with a superlative two-way effort from freshman Myles Jack.
– Columnist Vinny Bonsignore, with a look at quarterback Brett Hundley’s performance.
More notes and quotes from the wild 31-26 win at Arizona Stadium, which kept the Bruins in control of their own postseason destiny:
– A lot has been and will be written about Jack, so for now, let’s stick with a roundup of comments from coaches and teammates.
Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez had high praise too: “The guy is a great athlete, a great player. He’ll be a first-round pick as a linebacker. We tried to recruit him as a running back.” 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
Back in 2010, linebacker Jordan Zumwalt decommitted from Stanford just before Signing Day, switching to UCLA and staying closer to home. The Huntington Beach native has yet to beat the Cardinal, losing four games by an average of 20.5 points.
Saturday’s 12:30 kickoff may be his last shot to Stanford — though the game no longer comes with a chance to spoil the Cardinal’s undefeated record.
“I’m actually bummed Utah beat them,” Zumwalt said. “I wanted that to be us.”
Despite an eventual blowout victory, UCLA struggled to contain Nevada’s Cody Fajardo early on. The Wolf Packs’ dual-threat star had 77 of his team-high 106 rushing yards in the first half, finishing with two touchdowns on the ground.
In the second quarter, though, linebacker Jordan Zumwalt got the best of his former high school rival. Fajardo got loose along the right sideline, diving toward the end zone after running over 14 yards. Zumwalt met him in the air, knocking Fajardo out of bounds just early enough to keep his right arm from reaching inside the pylon.
The touchdown was called back after video review. Fajardo punched it in right after, cutting UCLA’s lead to 17-13, but it wasn’t against Zumwalt.
“So happy I made that play,” Zumwalt said. “That was like my redemption play. … If he had gone over me and got that touchdown, I would’ve been so sad. I know they scored the next play, but I was just happy I won that one.”
Saturday will mark the first time the UCLA and Nevada football teams have ever met.
Their players aren’t as unfamiliar with each other.
Four years ago, Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo led Anaheim’s Servite High to the CIF-SS Pac-5 finals. On the other side was UCLA linebacker Jordan Zumwalt, then a star for Edison High — located 15 miles south in Huntington Beach. Continue reading
When it comes to UCLA linebackers, might as well start here:
Anthony Barr announced himself to many national viewers with that hit, even if it was helped by abysmal blocking. It was a microcosm of the UCLA-USC rivalry tilting toward Westwood: Matt Barkley’s college career ended, and Barr made him highlight-reel fodder for a potential Heisman campaign. He’ll likely be a top-ten pick come May, after he’s flooded with various all-conference and All-American honors.
Already a dynamic player, Barr has worked to improve his pass coverage skills and bulked up to an impressive 255 pounds. While he’s easily the team’s best player, his position teammates aren’t shabby either. Continue reading
UCLA linebackers Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks and Jordan Zumwalt all made the 51-man watch list for the Butkus Award. The Bruins tied BYU with three players on the list, the most of any team.
Barr and offensive lineman Xavier Su’a-Filo were also mentioned for the Lombardi Award watch list, though that ballooned to over 100 names. The award is given to a down lineman on either side of the ball, or linebacker who lines up within five yards of the ball.
No UCLA player has ever won either award. The Pac-12′s last Lombardi winner was Arizona State’s Terrell Suggs (2002), and its last Butkus winner was USC’s Chris Claiborne (1998).
Can UCLA’s defensive front survive the loss of a first-round pick — the team’s first since 2006? Cassius Marsh, pegged as a third-round talent in some early projections, now succeeds new Green Bay Packer Datone Jones as the Bruins’ best defensive end. By most observations, he’s matured since 2011, a year that saw him storm out of spring practice and later suspended two games for an October brawl at Arizona.
“Sometimes, he may stop on that line, but not over it,” said defensive line coach Angus McClure. “I call it a ‘controlled insanity.’ You want to go to that line but you don’t want to go over it. Certainly, he’s learned to manage it.”
The rest of the line, however, is a muddled with injuries. Owamagbe Odighizuwa and Ellis McCarthy both sat out spring while rehabbing from their respective hip and knee surgeries, while nose tackle Brandon Tualiaupupu tore his ACL in mid-April. Continue reading