Notes and quotes: UCLA 37, Cal 10

UCLA hardly looked unstoppable in its 37-10 win over Cal Saturday, but it did enough to earn its place as a top-10 team.

Some notes from the night:

– The defense held Cal to a season-low 320 offensive yards. The Bears’ 10 points were the lowest of Sonny Dykes’ (relatively short) head coaching career. If not for some untimely penalties, the Bruins might have kept Cal out of the end zone entirely.

The front seven continued its run as one of the conference’s best, sacking true freshman quarterback Jared Goff three times and coming up with clutch stops. Safety Randall Goforth had an interception, while cornerbacks Ishmael Adams and Fabian Moreau combined for three pass breakups. Continue reading

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UCLA 59, New Mexico State 13: Randall Goforth


Safety Randall Goforth’s six solo tackles tied a career high, matching his output against Nebraska in 2012 in his second game as a true freshman. The sophomore also tacked on a pair of pass breakups and a forced fumble against New Mexico State.

Asked if he thought it was his best game as Bruin, Goforth said: “I don’t know, really. I just go out there and do my job. We schemed for them pretty well this week, so my job was to just go out there and play fast.”

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Fabian Moreau earning praise as converted cornerback

Questions still abound in UCLA’s secondary, a unit that lost all four starters and returns few upperclassmen.

The group does have talent, however, and a starting lineup is nearly solidified: at safety, Anthony Jefferson and Randall Goforth, who have five combined career starts; at corner, Ishmael Adams, who played two games in 2012 before season-ending shoulder surgery.

The most unlikely of the quartet is sophomore Fabian Moreau.

The Florida native had played running back for most of his life. As a senior at Western High, near Ft. Lauderdale, he ran for 889 yards and 11 touchdowns. Tacking an additional seven touchdowns and 416 yards through the air, he was named All-County by both the South Florida Sun Sentinel and the Miami Herald. Continue reading

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Cornerback Priest Willis academically cleared by NCAA

Cornerback Priest Willis has received academic clearance from the NCAA, solidifying UCLA’s inexperienced secondary.

The Bruins heard the news at around 2 p.m., just a few hours before Thursday’s afternoon practice in San Bernardino. Arguably the most highly regarded of UCLA’s four freshman defensive backs, Willis has played well early on and should be a crucial piece of a secondary that returns no starters.

“He stands out,” head coach Jim Mora said. “He absolutely, positively can play corner at this level. He has the quickness. He has the burst. He’s got the length.”

– Safety Dietrich Riley is still working with the team as an undergraduate assistant. The junior had missed all of last season recovering from neck surgery, and took a medical retirement last month.

“I just think it’s important that we offer him that opportunity to see what he wants to do with his life,” Mora said. “For him to be out here with Tahaan (Goodman), with Tyler Foreman and some of those other (freshmen), it’s pretty selfless to me.

“He had big plans in terms of what his football career was gonna look like. It didn’t work out the way he wanted it. Rather than mourn, he’s just OK.” Continue reading

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Safety Randall Goforth trying to become physical presence

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Safety Randall Goforth said he’s up to 193 pounds, having added more muscle since playing at around 175 his first season at UCLA. He also talked about the Bruins’ thin defensive backs corps this spring, embracing a greater leadership role and getting ready to win a national championship.

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Tevin McDonald released for violation of team policy

Safety Tevin McDonald has been released from the UCLA football team for a violation of team policy. The junior was suspended for last year’s Holiday Bowl for reportedly failing a third drug test.

Head coach Jim Mora would not confirm whether this most recent violation was the same was the one that sidelined him for the Bruins’ season finale.

“I’m disappointed for Tevin,” Mora said. “I’ve known him since he was a young boy. Probably met him when he was five. I care about him and I hope that everything turns out well for him. He’s got a great family. He’s got very supportive parents, and I know they’ll find the right avenues for him to have success.” Continue reading

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McDonald out for Holiday Bowl, violation of team policy

Starting safety Tevin McDonald did not make the Holiday Bowl trip due to a violation of team policy, head coach Jim Mora said Saturday. The Bruins are practicing at San Diego State leading up to Thursday’s 6:45 p.m. kickoff against Baylor, which kicks off at 6:45 p.m.

The redshirt sophomore is arguably the team’s best defensive back, and is second on the roster with 79 tackles. He leads the team with nine pass breakups and 10 passes defensed, also returning an interception for 50 yards against Houston. As a freshman, he tied the school’s single-game record with three picks against Cal.

“It’s big,” safety Andrew Abbott said of McDonald’s absence. “He’s a big player on our secondary and on our team.”

Added defensive end Datone Jones: “He’s a great player, but someone’s going to have to fill his void. He’ll be really missed, but we’ll have to go on without him.”

Mora said the team will likely fill the void by committee. Senior safety-turned-linebacker Dalton Hilliard will be available after missing the Pac-12 Championship with a shoulder injury, and should see increased time on the field.

True freshman Randall Goforth, who has four starts this year, will likely play a major role as well. Abbott gave him plenty of praise, saying that his confidence has stood out this season. The senior recalled a red zone play against Stanford in the title match that had Goforth matched up alone against All-American tight end Zach Ertz. Continue reading

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Jim Mora takes on Randall Goforth Twitter spat

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Last night, it looked like Randall Goforth went on Twitter and started baiting USC players, including wide receiver Robert Woods. The account @RandallG300 had followed hundreds of other people a few days before unleashing tweets such as “USC SUCKS!! WE WILL GET IT IN NOVEMBER 17. ALL ABOUT ACTION NO NEED TO BRAG JUST BE TUNED IN ON THE 17TH!!!!” It unfollowed them shortly after the onslaught of trash talking, dipping from over 700 to fewer than 130. Jim Mora and other players on Twitter immediately tried to debunk the account as fake. The account tweeted that it had been hacked before eventually being suspended.

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