UCLA gymnast Sophina DeJesus’ floor routine highlights close win

If you missed it, Sophina DeJesus’s floor routine was the must-watch moment from Pauley Pavilion this weekend.

The UCLA senior put together a killer performance on Saturday, mixing in dance moves and a split landing to earn a 9.925 from the judges. She wasn’t the highest scorer of the day — that title went to teammate Angi Cipra, who scored 9.975 — but the Bruins needed every little bit of help they could get in a 197.100-197.075 win over Utah.

Some more highlights from the meet, which closed with Sadiqua Bynum earning a 9.950 to push UCLA past the Utes.

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Five thoughts after UCLA’s win over Utah

In case you missed anything from UCLA’s 17-9 win at Utah, here’s our coverage from yesterday in Salt Lake City.

» The Bruins’ defense made key adjustments, and shut a team out of the end zone for the third time this season.
» Jordan Payton set a new UCLA record with his 194th career catch. He also became only the eighth Bruin to record 1,000 receiving yards in a season, and the first since Nelson Rosario in 2011.
» VIDEOS: Jim Mora, Tom Bradley, Josh Rosen / Paul Perkins, Deon Hollins, Jordan Payton, Takkarist McKinley, Jayon Brown

A few more thoughts on UCLA, and the road ahead …

1. The Bruins are in good position to win the Pac-12 South. Jim Mora has won three straight games against USC, taking the last two by more than two touchdowns. If a fourth is what stands between UCLA and a spot in the Pac-12 Championship, it’s very difficult to imagine this team letting up. As much as he’s struggled against Stanford, Mora has consistently prepared to against both USC and Arizona, going 7-0 with an average margin of almost 21 points. That’s not just happenstance.

While the Trojans have opened as 3.5-point favorites, that only feeds into UCLA’s preference for the underdog role. Even Josh Rosen has caught onto this.

“I hope we don’t get ranked after this game,” he said Saturday. “Because for some reason, we don’t like playing ahead. We like when people doubt us.”

That said, with the division at stake, this could easily go down to the wire.

2. The offensive line could have issues. Left tackle Conor McDermott injured his right knee on Saturday, and wasn’t able to walk off the field unassisted. Mora wouldn’t say much about his status, but coming back from something like that in one week seems unlikely. Continue reading

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UCLA moves up to No. 22 in AP poll, USC and Utah fall out

Josh Rosen might have been right after all.

More than a month ago, after an ugly 56-35 loss at Stanford, UCLA’s freshman quarterback promised a rematch in the Pac-12 Championship. On Saturday, the No. 13 Cardinal clinched the Pac-12 North with a win over Cal, while the Bruins moved to a first-place in their own division by beating then-No. 18 Utah.

That game bumped UCLA back into the AP poll at No. 22, while dropping the Utes out of the rankings. Utah had been ranked third in the country a little over a month ago.

USC is also no longer ranked after a 20-point loss at Oregon, which moved to No. 18. The Trojans and the Bruins will play for the Pac-12 South title on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

No. 20 Washington State is the only other ranked team in the conference.

Here’s the full AP poll: Continue reading

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UCLA and USC set to kick off at 12:30 on ABC/ESPN2

UCLA and USC will end the regular season with a 12:30 p.m. kickoff at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, broadcasting on either ABC or ESPN2 depending on the region.

The winner of the Los Angeles rivalry will clinch the Pac-12 South and advance to the conference title game on Dec. 5 against Stanford. The Bruins and the Trojans are both tied with 5-3 records. Utah is technically in a first-place tie as well, but was eliminated from the race after losing to UCLA, 17-9, yesterday.

This will be the fourth time in five weeks that the Bruins have kicked off a game before 2 p.m.

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