UCLA fullback Nate Iese talks about offensive role

After turning his lone catch last season into a touchdown, UCLA fullback Nate Iese has become a more dangerous offensive weapon.

He still doesn’t touch the ball often, but whenever the 6-foot-3, 250-pound redshirt sophomore does, it’s usually worth watching. Iese has two games with multiple catches, grabbing a pair of passes in the Bruins’ season opener at Virginia and another pair in their 20-17 win against Texas more than a week ago. His first catch of the season went for 17 yards; his fourth was a three-yard touchdown from backup quarterback Jerry Neuheisel.

Iese credited that latter play to how wary the Longhorns defense was of UCLA’s jumbo package — one that lines linebacker Myles Jack as a tailback. Jack only has eight carries for 21 yards this season, but when he does come it, it still sucks defenses in towards the line of scrimmage.

“They bite up on the run so much, the back of the end zone is always left open,” Iese said. “We saw that early on in the game.” Continue reading

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Jerry Neuheisel named Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week

Jerry Neuheisel earned something that’s eluded even Brett Hundley this season: Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week.

UCLA’s backup quarterback was voted the conference’s top performer after lifting the Bruins past Texas with his unlikely heroics, throwing a 33-yard touchdown to Jordan Payton with three minutes left. Neuheisel finished the 20-17 win with 178 yards and two scores on 23-of-30 passing.

The status of Hundley’s injured left elbow remains fuzzy as UCLA enters its bye week.

Cornerback Ishmael Adams, who set up Neuheisel’s touchdown pass with a 45-yard punt return, was voted Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week. He totaled 62 yards on three punt returns and also returned a kickoff for 14 yards.

Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson won defensive player of the week after returning an interception and a fumble for touchdowns in the Huskies’ 44-19 win over Illinois.

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Freshman safety Jaleel Wadood shines in first start for UCLA

About five minutes before UCLA’s 20-17 win over Texas on Saturday, true freshman Jaleel Wadood found out he was getting his first start.

The Bruins were already missing safety Randall Goforth, who injured his shoulder a week ago, forcing sophomore Tahaan Goodman into the first-string lineup. Then, senior safety Anthony Jefferson tweaked his ankle during pregame warmups.

Wadood heard his name called. Continue reading

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UCLA’s Paul Perkins runs for career-high 126 yards in Texas

Without quarterback Brett Hundley, the UCLA offense leaned on another Chandler High product: running back Paul Perkins.

Fresh off career highs in last weekend’s win against Memphis, the redshirt sophomore churned out a career-high 126 yards on 24 carries Saturday in UCLA’s 20-17 victory over Texas — the first triple-digit game of his career.

Perkins, who grew up with Hundley in Arizona, had cleared the 90-yard mark in three of his last 12 games. He also broke out a career-long 58-yard run at AT&T Stadium, one that helped set up backup quarterback Jerry Neuheisel’s three-yard touchdown pass to fullback Nate Iese.

“I was just having fun out there,” Perkins said. Continue reading

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Rick Neuheisel watches Jerry Neuheisel lead UCLA past Texas

It was almost too perfect.

Three decades after his father led UCLA to the Rose Bowl, Jerry Neuheisel’s dreams came true. In three-plus quarters of injury relief for Brett Hundley, the redshirt sophomore completed 23 of his 30 passes for 178 yards — guiding the Bruins to a 20-17 win over Texas at AT&T Stadium.

And of course, the coup de grâce: his 33-yard pass to Jordan Payton for the game-winning touchdown.

Back at the Pac-12 Networks in San Francisco, Rick Neuheisel watched the whole thing.

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UCLA 20, Texas 17: Noel Mazzone talks about playcalling

After starting quarterback Brett Hundley injured his left elbow in the first quarter, UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone dialed back the playbook. He opened it up at the perfect moment.

He called for receiver Jordan Payton to make a double-move down the left sideline. Backup quarterback Jerry Neuheisel saw the cornerback’s eyes, pump-faked, and threw a 33-yard dime for the go-ahead score. Bruins 20, Longhorns 17.

“It was kind of right on the tip of my tongue for two drives,” Mazzone said. I was kind of just waiting for the right time. … They started playing a little man (coverage), and I thought, ‘Hey, if we’re going to take a shot, this is how we’re going to take a shot with them.’”

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UCLA 20, Texas 17: Jerry Neuheisel talks about his big game

UCLA left Texas with a 20-17 win thanks to backup quarterback Jerry Neuheisel, who filled after Brett Hundley injured his left elbow. Neuheisel threw a game-winning, 33-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Payton, and finished 23-of-30 for 178 yards and two scores.

“As my dad used say, ‘It’s a great day to be alive and be a Bruin,’” Neuheisel said. “Can’t mean it more than I do today.”

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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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