Bruins’ comeback stalls in 74-69 loss at Utah

UCLA snuck back into the Associated Press poll a week ago, and will almost certainly drop out again on Monday after a loss to unranked Utah.

This is what the Bruins are now: a borderline top-25 team that followed up its first win over a ranked team with a 74-69 loss in Salt Lake City.

After beating No. 21 Colorado on Thursday, they opened the afternoon in Salt Lake City with a sloppy effort on both ends. The awful first half — 31 percent shooting, 48.3 percent allowed — sank UCLA, whose late run fell short before a crowd of 12,267 at the Huntsman Center.

After scoring a season-low six points at Colorado on Thursday, Kyle Anderson finished with a career-high 28 points, with 13 coming before halftime. He also chipped in seven rebounds and seven assists, but coughed the ball up five times.

He shot 10 of 16 from the field. His teammates were a combined 17 of 47. Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: Former Ute succumbing to cancer

– Bronzell Miller might be dead by the time you read this. The former Utah linebacker is battling multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells, and may only have a week left to live.

– Bellevue standout and UCLA recruiting target Budda Baker is still waiting for the release of his brother Robert, imprisoned for first-degree robbery and possession of a firearm.

– How did Tad Boyle turn Colorado into a contender?

– “But the difference between being a head football coach in college and the NFL is like the difference between Wal-Mart and Wall Street.” Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: Should USC hire Ed Orgeron?

– After an upset of Stanford, many USC players called for the school to retain Ed Orgeron as head coach. NBC Sports’ Chris Huston, also known as the Heisman Pundit, argues against removing the “interim” tag.

– Utah quarterback Travis Wilson’s career might be over after a post-concussion exam revealed a pre-existing neurological condition.

– Washington State has extended Mike Leach through the 2018 season.

– Arizona State’s secondary has a club called the, uh, “Bird Gang.” Members must abide by three rules. Continue reading

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Center Jake Brendel attributes low snaps to ‘shortcut’

Center Jake Brendel snapped several balls low throughout UCLA’s 34-27 win at Utah, a nagging issue that could have resulted in a game-costing play. Coaches said the use of a silent count as well as playing next to two freshmen made the game more difficult for the redshirt sophomore, but he didn’t use them as excuses.

“I was taking a little bit of a shortcut,” Brendel said. “The snap process, getting my right hand into the block a little too early. (Now, I’m) just making sure I’m taking the full stroke of the snap … instead of short-stroking it.”

He tried to fix the problem as the game went on, but said it took long to overcome the muscle memory.

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Quarterback Brett Hundley discusses his blurred vision at Utah

Quarterback Brett Hundley told reporters Monday that the blurred vision that forced him to sit out a brief part of UCLA’s 34-27 win at Utah was due to a lost contact lens.

Hundley said there was no worry about a possible concussion: “I felt perfectly fine. That’s what I was telling them (the trainers). It was blurry and I lost a contact. I had to come out for a second and let my eye adjust.”

His clarification was a little less dramatic than his post-game explanation last Thursday. “I got smacked when I went down,” Hundley said then, adding that his vision blurred after he hit his head on the ground. “I tried to look at the line of scrimmage and I was seeing like 22 people. Honestly, I just saw two of everything.”

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Penalties still plague Jim Mora and Bruins

After UCLA committed just three penalties in last month’s win at Nebraska, head coach Jim Mora warned against thinking 2012′s woes gone. The Bruins had finished their first season under Mora as the most penalized team in college football. It would take more than one performance to erase those issues.

He was right. In the two games since, the Bruins have committed 28 penalties for 238 yards. Thirteen came Thursday during their 34-27 win at Utah, costing them 100 yards in a game that wasn’t decided until the final 26 seconds. Across the country, only Washington has seen more flags.

“I’m a little befuddled right now,” Mora said afterward.

Only 10 of their 13 penalties in Salt Lake City concerned him, however. Continue reading

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UCLA 34, Utah 27: Safety Anthony Jefferson

Safety Anthony Jefferson grabbed the first two interceptions of his career Thursday night against Utah’s Travis Wilson, whose 44 pass attempts were the most UCLA has seen this season. “I think it was a great test for us,” Jefferson said. “Utah’s a great football team. They came out, took their shots early, and I think we made our plays.”

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Bruins leave Utah with gritty win, preserve perfect record

SALT LAKE CITY — If nothing else, UCLA avoided the roughest weather.

An hour or so before Thursday night’s kickoff, snow swirled over Rice-Eccles Stadium for five minutes before quickly giving way to sunshine. Almost immediately after the clock ran down on the Bruins’ 34-27 win over Utah, the sky again turned white.

A bit of serendipity, perhaps.

There was much of that for the Bruins on the field, even in a messy effort that saw the loss of multiple starters. Before a sellout crowd of over 40,000 black shirts, they preserved a perfect record and a precious 1-0 start to Pac-12 play. For the first time since 2005, the team is 4-0.

“We’re gonna take that,” head coach Jim Mora said. Continue reading

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