UCLA in the NFL: Jaguars, Vikings into championship rounds

Former UCLA linebackers Myles Jack and Anthony Barr each had interceptions in their respective teams’ divisional playoff victories on Sunday, helping the Jaguars and Vikings to the AFC and NFC championship games, respectively.

Barr had four tackles and one tackle for loss in Minnesota’s thrilling 29-24 win over the Saints while fellow former Bruin Eric Kendricks led the Vikings with 10 tackles.

Former UCLA kicker Kai Forbath made 3 of 4 field goals for the Vikings, including a 53-yarder that but Minnesota up by two with 1:29 to go. Drew Brees led the Saints on a field-goal drive to regain the lead, but Case Keenum‘s 61-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs as time expired pushed the Vikings into next Sunday’s NFC championship game at Philadelphia (3:40 p.m. PT).

Jack had six tackles in Jacksonville’s 45-42 win over Pittsburgh and picked off Ben Roethlisberger in the first quarter after breaking up the pass and securing the catch while tapping his feet in bounds before falling out. The Jaguars face New England in the AFC championship on Jan. 21 at 12:05 p.m PT.

Other former Bruins in action:

  • Jayon Brown had one tackle in Tennessee’s 35-14 loss to the Patriots on Saturday.
  • Takkarist McKinley had two tackles, including one sack, in the Falcons’ 15-10 loss to the Eagles on Saturday.

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Neuheisel On:

On the coaches job during tough practices:
“You’ve got to keep pushing, you’ve got to keep on them. I want the coaching staff to understand that’s what we’re doing here. We will reap the benefits when we start to freshen them up, which will be our job over the weekend. I like where we are, I like how we’re fighting, scratching and clawing. But we have to push through these tougher days as we go forward.”

On Jeff Locke’s availability if Kai Forbath went down:
“It’s a nice insurance policy, but Kai Forbath is one of the best in the country. We would miss Kai.”

On how UCLA is preparing for SDSU, particularly the Aztec coordinators’ experience with UCLA:
“You’re basically going on things of the past. It’s a little bit of an educated guess. We’ve gone back that far, absolutely. They may wax nostalgic being back in the Rose Bowl.”

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Injury Report

With two-a-days over, here’s a brief rundown on how many of the injured stand. Some on crutches.

Micah Kia, torn ACL, out for season
Nick Ekbatani, sprained knee ligament, 4-6 weeks
Keenan Graham, broken jaw (suffered in scrimmage), no timetable
Christian Ramirez, high ankle sprain (scrimmage), no timetable
Morrell Presley, sore quad, should return soon
Kai Forbath, sore leg, back tomorrow

Some good, some bad.

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