What to watch: No. 13 UCLA vs. New Mexico State

Let’s get this out of the way first: UCLA is not going to lose this game. New Mexico State is a football program that will likely find itself in the FCS within the next few years, or could even not exist at all.

Even if the Bruins start unexpectedly slow, the gaps in talent and coaching are so overwhelming that fans’ only worry should be whether or not they cover the massive 42.5-point spread.

UCLA offense vs. New Mexico State defense

UCLA proved last week that it has one of the most explosive offenses in the country, one that can pour in points as soon as it finds its rhythm. Doing so took a bit of time against both Nevada and Nebraska, but the Bruins rolled over both as soon as they found their groove. Continue reading

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Anthony Barr eager to get his first sack

Still without a sack after two games, linebacker Anthony Barr smiled Wednesday when asked if he was frustrated.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I let a couple go last week. They’ll come. I just have to be patient and continue working. I think this week I’ll have a better opportunity.”

Part of reason has been UCLA’s game plan. The Bruins have been more concerned with containing quarterback runs in their first two games rather than. That should change this Saturday against New Mexico State, whose sprint offense has produced 794 passing yards to 306 rushing yards. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Jim Mora talks Nick Pasquale, avoiding post-Nebraska ‘hangover’

Asked about a potential letdown after Saturday’s 41-21 win at Nebraska, UCLA head coach Jim Mora admitted his concern.

“I think about it,” Mora said. “I worry about it. It’s our responsibility as a coaching staff to push these kids out of any hangover effect there might be. It’s human nature when you come off something as emotional as we did last week, which is the death of Nick (Pasquale).”

New Mexico State’s visit to the Rose Bowl this Saturday is unquestionably the softest portion of the Bruins’ schedule. The Aggies, whose last winning season came in 2002, have lost their first three games under first-year coach Doug Martin by 93 combined points.

Mora also touched on a wide range of topics in his Monday press conference, including the play of defensive lineman Keenan Graham and freshman linebacker Myles Jack.

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Quarterback Brett Hundley stresses game prep

New Mexico State has not reached a bowl game since 1960, the longest streak in FBS football. It has finished with a winning record just three times in the past 34 seasons — a stretch that spanned membership in four different conferences. Under new head coach Doug Martin, it has lost its first three games by a combined 93 points.

Hardly the challenge Nebraska posed in Lincoln last week, but Brett Hundley said he needs to help make sure the Bruins don’t let up before Saturday’s game against the Aggies — currently listed as 42-point underdogs. As one of the team captains, the quarterback said he would be responsible for making sure younger players don’t relax in the days ahead.

“All these teams are big-time people,” he said. “They may not look the best. Their record may not show it, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to take them just like we came out for Nebraska.”

Hundley also addressed freshman safety Tahaan Goodman’s public frustrations. In a since-deleted tweet on Sunday, Goodman wrote in part: “I guess I aint good enough and havnt been working hard enough to touch the field.”

“We’ll sit down and have a talk or something like that,” Hundley said. “At the end of the day, you come from being a top athlete, to now playing in college, where everybody came from being a top athlete. You’re competing against the best of the best …

“You’ve got to understand that not everything will be the way you want it to be.”

– Hundley praised how precocious some of the freshmen were, most notably right guard Alex Redmond and linebacker Myles Jack. “Myles Jack is a straight monster on the field,” he said. “He’s going to be a fun one to watch.”

Head coach Jim Mora said Jack will play some offense down the line. Continue reading

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