USC upsets No. 10 Utah with a backup quarterback

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: USC Trojans quarterback Matt Fink (19) during a college football game between the Utah Utes and The USC Trojans on September 20, 2019, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA (Photo by Jordon Kelly/fi360)
LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 20: USC Trojans wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (8) catches a touchdown pass during a college football game between the Utah Utes and The USC Trojans on September 20, 2019, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA (Photo by Jordon Kelly/fi360)

Los Angeles, CA – USC held a four-point lead in the third quarter when Michael Pittman Jr. snatched the pass out of the air, stiff-armed a defender and raced into the end zone for a 77-yard touchdown.

The six-foot-four senior wide receiver finished with 10 receptions for a career-high 232 and USC upset previously unbeaten No. 10 Utah, 30-23, Friday night at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

“Glory to God and a bunch of great teammates that are the definition of Fight On and who don’t know how to quit,” USC head coach Clay Helton said. “I’m so proud of this team. I thought it was a team effort all the way around. Some guys made big plays, and some guys garnered some opportunities, and we needed every play to beat a good Utah team.”

LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 20: USC Trojans running back Markese Stepp (30) runs for a touchdown during a college football game between the Utah Utes and The USC Trojans on September 20, 2019, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA (Photo by Jordon Kelly/fi360)

USC starting quarterback Kedon Slovis, who was starting in place of the injured JT Daniels, got hurt on the Trojans opening drive. On the second play of the game, Utah defensive lineman Leki Fotu hit Slovis as he released the pass and landed on top of him. Slovis tried to get up but fell back down to the turf.

Slovis was helped off the field and taken to the locker room for an examination. He was being evaluated for a head injury according to the FS1 broadcast. In the post-game press conference, Helton said Slovis was not medically cleared to come back and was dinged according to the medical staff.

Third-string quarterback Matt Fink, who moved up to the back up role after Daniels’ injury, almost left USC in April after entering the transfer portal but decided to stay. Fink said he had some unofficial visits and an official visit with Illinois. He met some great coaches and great players and built some good relationships.

LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 20: Utah Utes running back Devonta’e Henry-Cole (7) runs the ball for a gain during a college football game between the Utah Utes and The USC Trojans on September 20, 2019, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA (Photo by Jordon Kelly/fi360)

“Like Coach Clay said, I did some research, I went to some schools,” Fink said. “But this team is stacked. You have the best players in the nation here. I’m saying that SC is on the rise. We have guys that are going to push us to the top here.”

The redshirt junior replaced Slovis and led the Trojans on an impressive drive, completing 4-of-5 for 64 yards and a 29-yard touchdown to Taylor Vaughns for a 7-0 lead. Utah came right back to tie it with a 5-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 17-yard touchdown run by backup running back Devonta’e Henry-Cole.

USC responded with a 31-yard touchdown pass from Fink to Amon-Ra St. Brown for a 14-7 lead. Utah’s linebacker came free on a blitz up the middle but Fink evaded the sack and hit St. Brown on the run for the score. St. Brown made a touch catch between two defenders.

LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 20: USC Trojans running back Markese Stepp (30) runs for a touchdown and gives former USC running back Reggie Bush the ball during a college football game between the Utah Utes and The USC Trojans on September 20, 2019, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA (Photo by Jordon Kelly/fi360)

Utah added a field goal in the second quarter but USC held a 14-10 lead heading into halftime. The Trojans extended the lead in the third quarter on Fink’s 77-yard touchdown pass to Pittman Jr. Utah cut the USC lead to three points on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Huntley to tight end Cole Fotheringham.

The Utes opened the fourth quarter with a 10-play, 62-yard drive but were held to a field goal after Isaiah Pola Mao sacked Huntley on third-and-goal at the 1-yard line. After USC was forced to punt, Drake Jackson hit Huntley as he got rid of the ball to avoid the sack in the end zone. Huntley was called for intentional grounding, giving USC a safety and a 23-20 lead in the fourth quarter.

LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 20: USC Trojans wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (6) catches a pass during a college football game between the Utah Utes and The USC Trojans on September 20, 2019, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA (Photo by Jordon Kelly/fi360)

Pittman Jr. hauled in a 42-yard catch which set up Markese Stepp’s 4-yard touchdown run with 6:58 remaining in the game. Fink finished with 351 yards and three touchdowns.

“I don’t think that this moment was too big for me,” Fink said. “I’ve been in the era of Sam Darnold and I’ve seen things that were much crazier. But I think getting in today and showing what I can do was what I really wanted to do by staying here.”

UCLA Director of Athletics Dan Guerrero to Retire in July

November 27, 2017 Westwood CA, NCAA Football 2017 UCLA Bruins press conference for new coach Chip Kelly at the UCLA Pavilion Club in Westwood, Ca. on November 27, 2017 (Photo by Jevone Moore)

UCLA Director of Athletics Dan Guerrero will retire July 1, 2020, at the conclusion of the 2019-20 academic year, it was announced today by UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. Guerrero has led the Bruins for 17 years, making him the second-longest-tenured sitting athletic director in the Power Five.

 

A national search for UCLA’s next director of athletics will be conducted by a professional search firm to be identified this fall. Although Guerrero’s contract was set to expire in December, he agreed to remain in the post until the end of the upcoming academic year, at Chancellor Block’s request, in order to maintain continuity in the program during the year and to allow adequate time to identify a replacement.

 

“Today is bittersweet for me and for my family, as UCLA has been a part of my life for more than 50 years,” said Guerrero. “It truly has been the honor of a lifetime to serve this world-class university and, more importantly, to befriend so many incredible Bruins along the way. I am so grateful to Chancellors Carnesale, Abrams and Block for their confidence in my leadership and incredible partnerships over the years, and to the many student-athletes, coaches and colleagues with whom I have had the privilege of working.

 

Two significant changes in my life over the past 18 months led me to this decision after much consideration and discussion with my family and the Chancellor. First, though it was not widely known, I successfully battled the toughest opponent I have ever had to face in my life: cancer. The world-class medical team at UCLA, however, helped me beat the disease and my prognosis for the future is excellent. Second, my wife and I recently welcomed our second granddaughter, and spending time with our growing family is incredibly important to me. For these reasons, it is time for me to step aside and for UCLA Athletics to flourish under new leadership while I focus on my health and on my family. In the remaining year ahead, we still have a great deal of work to do and championships to win, and I look forward to every minute of it.”

 

UCLA Softball National Championship Team at the Oklahoma vs UCLA game on September 14, 2019 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. (Photo by Jevone Moore)

The Bruins have won 32 NCAA team championships in 15 different sports during Guerrero’s tenure – the most under any sitting NCAA Division I athletic director – and he was at the department’s helm when UCLA Athletics became the first to win 100 NCAA team championships. The Bruins’ current total of 118 NCAA titles ranks second in the nation. Seven of Guerrero’s head coaching hires have led their teams to NCAA championships, and UCLA teams have also finished second 29 times and have totaled 130 Top 5 NCAA finishes since he was hired. During Guerrero’s tenure, the athletics department has won 73 conference championships in 16 different sports, produced more than 800 All-Americans and featured 11 Honda Award winners, including the 2003-04 and the 2018-19 Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year. In his 17 years at UCLA, the Bruins have finished second five times and third four times in the race for the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, the industry standard measurement of broad-based excellence. In 2017-18, UCLA recorded a school-record 1,326 points in a close runner-up finish for the Directors’ Cup. During his tenure, the football team has appeared in 13 bowl games, while the men’s basketball team advanced to consecutive Final Fours from 2006-08 and has made six trips to the Sweet 16.

 

“I appreciate Dan’s dedication to our campus, fans, and student-athletes throughout his career at UCLA,” Block said. “A proud alumnus, Dan has helped lead our teams to numerous victories, while also demonstrating a commitment to advancing women’s opportunities in athletics, maintaining high academic standards for student–athletes, and keeping UCLA programs in compliance with NCAA and other requirements. He has also overseen the construction of new facilities and upgrades to existing ones for the benefit of our student-athletes and our fans.”

 

Guerrero was the first athletic director at the NCAA Division I level (FBS, FCS and NCAA Division I-AAA) to earn three NACDA Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year awards (2013-14 and 2006-07 at UCLA, 2001-02 at UC Irvine). In 2017, he was honored by the National Football Foundation with the John L. Toner Award, becoming the first-ever sitting athletics director from the West Coast to receive the honor. He was also selected as a finalist for the Athletic Director of the Year at both the 2010 and 2017 Sports Business Awards. During his tenure, Guerrero was named one of the 101 Most Influential Minorities in Sports by Sports Illustrated (2003) and one of the nation’s 100 Most Influential Hispanics by Hispanic Business Magazine (2004). Among Guerrero’s various other accolades are: being named the Dr. Myles Brand BCA Administrator of the Year by the Black Coaches and Administrators organization (2010), the Cliff Wells Appreciation Award given by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) in 2011, and the 2010 NACDA John McLendon Pioneer Award honoring minority “firsts” as the first Hispanic to ever Chair the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball committee.

 

UCLA’s academic accomplishments under Guerrero are equally noteworthy. UCLA student-athletes, in an extremely rigorous academic environment, have achieved unprecedented success in the classroom. The UCLA student-athlete Graduation Success Rate (GSR) is currently at an all-time high 90%, while the Academic Progress Rates (APR) remain among the tops in the country.

 

Nationally, Guerrero’s record of service in civic engagement, as well as to the enterprise of intercollegiate athletics, has been extensive. Guerrero is one of few individuals to have served as the president of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), the Division I Athletic Directors Association (Lead1) and the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee. Over the course of his career, he has significant experience in committee work at both the NCAA and conference levels, having chaired a number of committees along the way. Currently, he serves on the Division I Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee, which he chaired the previous two years, and he also recently chaired an NCAA Working Group on behalf of the Division I Men’s Basketball Rice Commission. Guerrero has been a member of the Rose Bowl Management Committee for 17 years. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches), the Institute for Sport and Social Justice, the Los Angeles Metropolitan YMCA, the Southern California Chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, The NACDA John McLendon Foundation and the United States International University Sports Federation, where he will begin serving his term as president in July of 2020. As the Chair of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee in 2009-10, he was involved with the negotiation of the new $10.8 billion, 14-year NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament television package, as well as the decision to expand the Tournament to 68 teams.

 

In addition to athletic and academic success, resource development has been a core tenet of Guerrero’s tenure. During this recent UCLA Centennial Campaign (2014-18), Guerrero and his external development team have raised in excess of $300 million, to date, in fundraising support to the program. More dollars have been raised for UCLA Athletics during his tenure than any other time in history. He has grown the athletics department budget from $42 million in 2002 to more than $130 million currently, in large part thanks to securing major long-term apparel and rightsholder contracts with Under Armour and WME-IMG College that, at the time of their signing, were the largest collegiate deals nationally in their respective areas. Guerrero also led the negotiations that solidified the relationship between UCLA and the Rose Bowl, resulting in more than $180 million in renovations and restoration to the home of UCLA Football. During his tenure, he has spearheaded in excess of $430 million in facilities upgrades, including the renovation of the historic Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom and the building of the Wasserman Football Center and the Mo Ostin Basketball Center.

 

Guerrero came to UCLA from UC Irvine, where he had served as UCI’s fifth permanent Director of Athletics for 10 years (1992-2002), helping to elevate that program to unprecedented success. Prior to arriving at UCI, Guerrero worked at Cal State Dominguez Hills, where he led that program to national prominence while serving as athletic director for five years (1988-92).

 

A proud alumnus of UCLA, Guerrero received his Bachelor’s degree from the University in 1974 and played second base for the Bruins for four years. Known as “Warrior” during his playing career, he was inducted into the UCLA Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996. The Bruin Athletic Director earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration in 1982 from Cal State Dominguez Hills and was named to the Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society for Public Affairs and Public Policy that same year.

Pac-12 Football Players of the Week – Week 3

Pac-12 Football Players of the Week – Week 3

OFFENSE: Anthony Gordon, R-Sr., QB, Washington State (Pacifica, Calif.)
• Anthony Gordon completed 36-48 passes (75 percent) for 440 yards, three touchdowns and just one interception in WSU’s 31-24 win over Houston.
• The fifth-year senior was at his best in the third quarter. With WSU trailing 14-7 at half, Gordon completed 12-14 passes for 154 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown pass to Dezmon Patmon.
• Gordon completed passes to nine different receivers.
• The 440 yards marked the third-straight game he has thrown for more than 440, as he leads the nation in passing yards (1,324), passing yards/game (441.3) and total offense per game (447.7).

Also nominated: Laviska Shenault, COLO; Justin Herbert, ORE; Khalil Tate, ARIZ; Champ Flemings, OSU; Michael Wilson, STAN; Tyler Huntley, UTAH.

DEFENSE: Myles Bryant, Sr., DB, Washington (Pasadena, Calif.)
• The Huskies’ defensive leader was all over the stats sheet as he finished with two interceptions (the first two takeaways for the Huskies this season) and a sack — the only sack of the game by the UW.
• Bryant also finished with four tackles, all solo.
• His two interceptions led to the Huskies’ second TD of the first quarter (making it 14-0) and to the UW’s lone field goal, which made it 38-0.
• Bryant’s quarterback sack came on the final play of the first quarter, on a third-and-8 play, after which the Rainbow Warriors were forced to punt.

Also nominated: Evan Fields, ASU; Lorenzo Burns, ARIZ; Bryce Beekman, WSU; John McCartan, OSU; Devin Lloyd, UTAH; Evan Weaver, CAL.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Greg Thomas, R-Sr., K, California (Petaluma, Calif.)
• Thomas made all three of his field goal attempts and both of his extra points in a 23-17 victory over North Texas to set a new career high with 11 points scored.
• Thomas has made 7-of-8 field goals and all seven of his extra points in 2019.
• Thomas is second in the Pac-12 and tied for eighth nationally with an average of 2.33 field goals made per game.

Also nominated: Cristian Zendejas, ASU; Champ Flemings, OSU.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Penei Sewell, So., OL, Oregon (St. George, Utah)
• Highest graded offensive lineman in the nation for week 3 by Pro Football Focus (PFF) with a grade of 90.9 over 78 snaps played at left tackle.
• Also had the highest pass-blocking grade in the nation at 91.4 by PFF.
• Helped Oregon throw for over 300 yards and rush for more than 200 yards for the second time this season in a 35-3 win over Montana.
• Recorded 11 knockdowns and didn’t allow a hurry, pressure, hit or sack on quarterback Justin Herbert.
• Oregon averaged 8.9 yards per rush on attempts to the left guard, left tackle and left end side.
• Herbert wasn’t sacked for the second consecutive game while Oregon improved to 7-0 under head coach Mario Cristobal when rushing for 200 yards.

Also nominated: Josh McCauley, ARIZ; Dohnovan West, ASU; Blake Brandel, OSU.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Jermayne Lole, So., DL, Arizona State (Long Beach, Calif.)
• Jermayne Lole was the leader among ASU’s defensive linemen with eight tackles and was responsible for ASU’s only sack of the game in ASU’s 10-7 upset of No. 18 Michigan State in East Lansing.
• Contributed to a defensive effort that allowed only seven points for the third straight game (ASU held MSU 32.5 points below its scoring average of 39.5 in first two games).
• After MSU moved into ASU territory on its first drive of the second half, Lole sacked MSU QB Brian Lewerke for a loss of four yards on first down.
• His QB hurry forced Lewerke into an incompletion on the following play. MSU would give up the ball on downs two plays later.

Also nominated: Cosmas Kwete, WSU.

ASU QB Jayden Daniels during the Kent State vs Arizona State game in Tempe, AZ on August 29, 2019. Photo by John Hays / fi360 News

FRESHMAN: Jayden Daniels, Fr., QB, Arizona State (San Bernardino, Calif.)
• Jayden Daniels led ASU on game-winning touchdown in the Sun Devils’ 10-7 upset of No. 18 Michigan State in East Lansing.
• With ASU down 7-3 and 3:34 remaining, Daniels moved ASU 75 yards in 11 plays against a Michigan State defense (came into the game ranked No. 13 in total defense/No. 1 in rushing defense) that had allowed ASU to gain only 141 yards up to that point in the game.
• On the drive, Daniels completed 4-of-7 passes for 52 yards, including a 40-yard strike to WR Brandon Aiyuk that moved ASU into MSU territory.
• In addition, Daniels rushed three times for 27 yards on the drive, including a 15-yard scramble for a first down on 4th & 13 at the MSU 28.
• Also led ASU to field goal in second quarter on 10-play, 48-yard drive that included back-to-back 15-yard completions.
• Daniels did not have any turnovers in the game against an MSU defense that came into the game No. 8 in the nation in turnovers gained.

Also nominated: Mykael Wright, ORE; Drake Jackson, USC; Cosmas Kwete, WSU; Darrius Smith, ARIZ; Austin Jones, STAN; Jesiah Irish, OSU.

 

Los Angeles Kings look to shake off cobwebs in the preseason

Los Angeles, CA – The Los Angeles Kings have had a hard time trying to settle in over the last few seasons. It seems like those Stanley Cup titles are far distant to where the team is now. After signing superstar Ilya Kovalchuck, that snag didn’t seem to pan out as they missed the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.

Youth has been the trend in the NHL, as to what a lot of teams in the Pacific Division are doing. The Kings are quite the opposite, where many of their guns have been around the team for quite some time. They currently hold one of the oldest rosters in the league, with Jonathan Quick at age 34 is expected to play a full, healthy season. His 2018-2019 campaign didn’t go so hot, missing a substantial amount of time (Quick only played in 46 games). In a team where they needed to add some sort of major change to become more competitive in their division, the only big thing was they did not return their head coach Willie Desjardins. Since Darryl Sutter was let go after missing the playoffs in 2017, they have now cycled through three head coaches and have also not won a playoff game.

A lot will be relied on Quick, Drew Doughty, and Anze Kopitar to represent what the Kings have built each and every season. Last season, the Kings were trying to get a lot out of these three to at the very least keep themselves in games. But their lack of scoring and major fallout put the team way behind.

As for Quick, there were times that the Kings showed signs of life even if they were well behind. Backup goalie Jack Campbell was a solid replacement for Quick, accumulating a .928 save percentage in his 31 games at work. All of that did not help since the Kings just could not score last season, ending second to last in goals for.

Right now the Kings are practically bringing everyone back, which does not bode well for teams who are looking to go on the rise. Still, a split squad meeting with the resurged Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday could see where they are in their first preseason matchup. Time will tell with this team as Tuesday comes near, in preparation for 2019-2020.

Los Angeles Sparks dominate Seattle and advance to the semifinals of WNBA playoffs

WNBA Playoffs 2019: Seattle Storm vs Los Angeles Sparks single elimination game on September 15, 2019. (Photo by Stephanie Lovell)
WNBA Playoffs 2019: Seattle Storm vs Los Angeles Sparks single elimination game on September 15, 2019. (Photo by Stephanie Lovell)

Los Angeles, CA – The No 3 seeded Los Angeles Sparks advanced to the semifinals of the WNBA playoffs with a 92-69 second-round win over Seattle Sunday afternoon at Staples Center.

Sparks point guard Chelsea Gray scored 21 points to help the Sparks eliminate the defending champions. Forward Nneka Ogwumike added 17 points.

Los Angeles moves on to play the No.3 seeded Connecticut Sun on Tuesday to begin a five-game series. The Sparks won two out of three games against the Sun during the regular season.

WNBA Playoffs 2019: Seattle Storm vs Los Angeles Sparks single elimination game on September 15, 2019. (Photo by Stephanie Lovell)

The things that we are doing are working out pretty good,” Sparks coach Derek Fisher said. “We came out in the second half and stuck with our defense and made it hard for Seattle to get points. That’s what we want to carry forward against Connecticut.”

The Storm took a 23-22 first quarter lead with the help of Natasha Howard’s 12 points. Howard was held scoreless in the second quarter as the Sparks took control. Gray scored eight points, including two three-pointers, during a 13-4 run that helped give the Sparks a nine-point lead with 3:19 remaining in the second quarter.

Gray scored 11 of her 16 points in the quarter and the Sparks built a 43-36 halftime lead. The Storm took a 1-point lead in the third quarter on a three-pointer by Howard but the Sparks went on a 21-3 run to put the game out of reach.

WNBA Playoffs 2019: Seattle Storm vs Los Angeles Sparks single elimination game on September 15, 2019. (Photo by Stephanie Lovell)

Candace Parker had double-double, finishing with 11 points and 10 rebounds while Riquna Williams added 11 points. The Sparks had four players finish in double figures.

“We are a team of moments. We are a team of opportunities. We are a team that grinds,” Ogwumike said. “I think that was really reflective of the win today.”

WNBA Playoffs 2019: Seattle Storm vs Los Angeles Sparks single elimination game on September 15, 2019. (Photo by Stephanie Lovell)

Oregon Ducks rolls past Montana at home

Montana vs Oregon football game on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Megan Connelly)
Montana vs Oregon football game on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Megan Connelly)

EUGENE, OR – In their final non-conference game of the season, Oregon Ducks dominated the Montana Grizzlies 35-3 in Autzen Stadium late Saturday night.

 

Oregon started quickly, as quarterback Justin Herbert connected with Jacob Breeland twice for touchdowns in the first quarter. A 5-yard touchdown across the middle on their opening drive of 75 yards in less than two minutes, and a 17-yard touchdown at the end of the first quarter.

 

Herbert was outstanding once again, completing 30/42 attempts, and throwing for 316 yards and 5 touchdowns on the day. Extending his nation-leading streak of consecutive games with touchdown passes to 31 in the process.

 

Montana vs Oregon football game on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Megan Connelly)

Despite outscoring Nevada by 32 points, Oregon wasn’t perfect. After the game, head coach Mario Cristobal stated “You never apologize for a victory, but we’d like to be a little more sharp in some of our execution”.

 

The Ducks specifically struggled with offense efficiency, converting only 46% (6/13) of their 3rd down tries against the Grizzlies. When asked why the starters remained in the game for so late into the game, Cristobal said “I just felt we needed to keep playing until we ended on something a little more positive. You know you only get a certain amount of snaps, we’re headed into conference play, and while Justin is in there,I want to make sure he’s surrounded by the front-line guys. I wanted to play a little more football before we pulled the guys off the field”.

 

The long-awaited debut of senior transfer Juwan Johnson may finally be approaching, as Cristobal also stated “Juwan was really close, but we held him [out]”. Johnson will immediately help with Oregon’s third down conversions, adding a 6’ 4” 231-pound target to a wide receiver core that’s currently decimated with injuries.

 

Montana vs Oregon football game on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Megan Connelly)

Defensive coordinator Andy Avalos had his defensive line firing on all cylinders again, recording 4 sacks, and holding the Grizzlies to only 8 rushing yards on the night.

 

Oregon will travel to Stanford next week before heading into a bye week.

Five fast facts – Oklahoma vs UCLA

Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Jalen Hurts #1 during the Oklahoma vs UCLA game on September 14, 2019 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. (Photo by Jevone Moore)
Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Jalen Hurts #1during the Oklahoma vs UCLA game on September 14, 2019 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. (Photo by Jevone Moore)

Pasadena, CA – On the Sooners first drive, Jalen Hurts dropped back to pass from the Bruins 40 yard line. Suddenly, his offensive line opened the middle like Moses parted the Red Sea. Licking his chops, he runs right through the middle, untouched for every yard into the endzone.

It became just about that kind of late afternoon for Bruins football. It wasn’t until the third quarter when UCLA finally got a stop after six straight scoring drives. With the Bruins falling in a 48-14 blowout, the score is no surprise, but there were instances in which this game could have been a lot closer than the final score showed. Now sitting at 0-3, here are five key takeaways from the game that Bruins fans should certainly wonder about.

Oklahoma Sooners cornerback Tre Brown #6 during the Oklahoma vs UCLA game on September 14, 2019 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. (Photo by Jevone Moore)
  1. The Bruins’ defense can only keep UCLA in games for so long

At one point the Bruins were down 20-7 after giving up already over 330 yards on both avenues of Oklahoma’s offense. They only managed in the first four drives to give up two touchdowns and two field goals, so at the very least there could be some spark. It all withered away when UCLA ends up going 3-and-out after giving up a field goal. Jalen Hurts’s deep pass to Charelston Rambo practically put the game away. The Bruins then just could not hang after that, watching their offensive and defensive line collapse throughout each play.

“We are playing inconsistent,” Bruins head coach Chip Kelly said. “There were spurts, but the big thing about the game tonight is we are playing very inconsistent. We had a good second half but we get tired. Inconsistency just cannot happen.”

  1. Let Dorian Thompson-Robinson run the ball more often

It is truly amazing that Kelly believes the west coast offense with Robinson in the pocket will work. Robinson is still not at all that accurate. There have been times, however, where with the line opening up, he manages to take off and at the very least set up the offense a bit more. That would develop his confidence a lot more as Pac-12 play nears. This would also mix up play calling for Kelly and keep the opposing defense on its toes.

“I am taking what the defense gives me,” Thompson-Robinson said. “Kelly does mention to take what the defense gives me. When I have the chance, I want to make the best play possible.”

UCLA Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson #1during the Oklahoma vs UCLA game on September 14, 2019 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. (Photo by Jevone Moore)
  1. The defensive line needs to get better…

…much better. Just before the end of the first quarter the Bruins nearly allowed 200 yards on the ground. They slowed the tempo a bit, but that allowed Hurts to gun his throws all around the field. The Bruins hardly gave Hurts any kind of pressure, which then surmounted to a big lead and the game nearly unreachable.

  1. Extend drives on both sides of the ball

At this point, Kelly has drawn away from the no-huddle offense. It does allow for the Bruins to rest on the sidelines whether on offense or defense. In the first half, on each of the drives where the Bruins had more than six plays, the Sooners were forced to a field goal. It allowed for this game to be close. A number of three or four play drives later coming up empty handed, and it was all she wrote.

UCLA Bruins wide receiver Kyle Philips #2 celebrate a touchdown during the Oklahoma vs UCLA game on September 14, 2019 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. (Photo by Jevone Moore)
  1. The fans need to be involved more…

..but it is also tough when the Rose Bowl is half empty, and half of those fans in attendance were Sooners fans. It didn’t help with the weather being so hot, but the game last week against San Diego State practically gave Bruins fans a sense that it could be a long season. The Bruins are the only team under .500, let alone the only team without a win. This could bode a major problem if things aren’t fixed in a hurry. A trip to Washington State may not bode well, but things can differ if they can restructure.

UCLA Josh Woods sacking OU Jalen Hurts at the Oklahoma vs UCLA game on September 14, 2019 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. (Photo by Jevone Moore)

“We are a young football team,” Kelly said. “No matter what we will continue to fight. Oklahoma is a very good team. Our guys fought and competed in the second half. It is something we can take when we start conference play Saturday.”

CA STATE CHAMP MCCLYMONDS TOO POWERFUL FOR CAMPOLINDO

Oakland, CA- The McClymonds Warriors (3-0) varsity football team scored 28 unanswered points to amass a 4th quarter comeback victory over the Campolindo Cougars (3-1) by a score of 41-21.  This marquee matchup featured Division 2 power house Campolindo versus the 3-Time Division 4 & 5 state champion McClymonds.

 

Despite McClymonds scoring a touchdown on its opening drive, Campolindo controlled the tempo and pace of the first half.  Quarterback Grant Harper carved out big plays in the passing game that thwarted McClymonds pass rush. Campolindo also ran the ball effectively behind linemen Elijah Klock and Jelani Bell.  Campolindo entered the half leading 21-13.

 

McClymonds resorted to its power running game in the second half.  Running back Gary Alexander provided 3 touchdowns and ultimately wore down the Campolindo defense.  Once Campolindo had to focus on stopping the run, McClymonds was better suited to pass the ball.

 

McClymonds tied the game 21-21 with 8:51 left in the fourth quarter.   Campolindo botched a punt and McClymonds ran the ball down to the 1-yard line.  McClymonds Alexander punched the ball into the endzone and McClymonds took a 27-21 lead with 2:39 left in the 4th quarter.  McClymonds failed on the ensuing 2-point conversion.

 

With Campolindo driving down the field and threatening to retake the lead, McClymonds’ defensive back Montrell Smith came up with an interception.  Campolindo’s defense responded and forced McClymonds offense into a 3rd and short. With the game on the line, McClymonds Head Coach Michael Peters trusted his Sophomore Quarterback Dreyan Paul to throw a 75-yard bomb for a game sealing touchdown. McClymonds later slammed the door shut when Edward Woods provided a pick 6 interception.

 

After the game, Alexander said, “I didn’t score 3 touchdowns, my line did…I owed coach Peters from the penalty last week.”  It is this type of culture that shows why McClymonds moniker is “Home of the Champions.”

The California Golden Cal Bears hold off North Texas comeback attempt

The California Golden Bears defeat the North Texas Mean Green 23-17 at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Calif., on Saturday, September 14, 2019. (Aaron Nelson / fi360 News)
The California Golden Bears defeat the North Texas Mean Green 23-17 at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Calif., on Saturday, September 14, 2019. (Aaron Nelson / fi360 News)

Berkeley, CA – The California Golden Bears (3-0) took down the North Texas Mean Green (1-2) 23-17 on Saturday, September 14, 2019, with their stout defense once again driving the team’s success and the offense doing just enough to remain in the win column.

 

In the first, it was all Cal with the Golden Bears jumping out to a 20-0 lead.

 

Sophomore running back Christopher Brown Jr. (34) earned the first score on the day with a 2-yard rushing touchdown just over four minutes into the game.  Then the redshirt senior placekicker Greg Thomas (39) delivered two fields from 32, and 44 yards out before quarterback Chase Garbers (7) found Nikko Remigio (4) on a 36-yard scoring strike to cap the quarter.

 

The remainder of the game played out as a largely defensive battle.

 

The California Golden Bears defeat the North Texas Mean Green 23-17 at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Calif., on Saturday, September 14, 2019. (Aaron Nelson / fi360 News)

The Golden Bears, led by the Week 2 National and Pac-12 defensive Player of the Week in Evan Weaver (89), held the Mean Green to just a field goal in the first half and prevented the comeback in the second half despite giving up touchdowns in the first and third quarters. Weaver finished with a team-high 11 tackles and applied ample pressure on North Texas quarterback Mason Fine (6), including a near sack that led to a momentous first-half interception by cornerback Traveon Beck (22).

 

Consistent defensive prowess has been key to Cal’s achievements under head Justin Wilcox throughout his tenure and they controlled the game again in this one.

 

The California Golden Bears defeat the North Texas Mean Green 23-17 at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Calif., on Saturday, September 14, 2019. (Aaron Nelson / fi360 News)

Along with the interception, the Bears also recovered a fumble created by a blitzing Jaylinn Hawkins (6), who forced Fine to lose control in the pocket, giving Cal the only two turnovers in the game. For the second consecutive week, the Golden Bears finished without a turnover offensively, which coach Wilcox called the difference-maker in each of their victories over weeks two and three.

 

Despite Cal’s impressive defensive play, North Texas’ offensive weapons showed promise and grit, earning 329 total yards to the Golden Bear’s 278, including 210 yards through the air.

 

Starting the second half down 10, the Mean Green worked their way back to make things competitive again with third and fourth quarter passing touchdowns from Fine to bring North Texas back within one score in the final minutes. In the third, Fine found junior receiver Jaelon Darden (1) for a 68-yard score, and on fourth and seven in the final quarter, it was redshirt freshman Jyaire Shorter (16) bringing in the 18-yard pass up the middle to give North Texas a chance.

 

Ultimately, the Bears defense delivered when it had to, staunching the Mean Green’s final drive with lock-down play in the secondary to force the turnover on downs and allow their offense to run out the clock.

 

The California Golden Bears defeat the North Texas Mean Green 23-17 at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Calif., on Saturday, September 14, 2019. (Aaron Nelson / fi360 News)

On offense, the Bears were led by Garbers who completed 9-of-22 attempts through the air for 129 yards and the lone touchdown, but the young quarterback also carried the load on the ground, finishing with 70 net rushing yards on 18 attempts, both team highs.

 

Garbers, who was sacked three times and ended up on the turf numerous times more, did point out the potential flaws in the heavy focus on the quarterback run-game after the game.

 

“We saw, prepping for them this week, that the QB run-game was going to be a big part of our game plan,” he said. “It’s fun to be two-dimensional. But as quarterback, you try not to take as many hits, so you just got to do what you can do for the team.”

 

The Golden Bears did just enough to remain undefeated through the opening three weeks of their 2019 campaign on Saturday, but coach Wilcox was clear that their overall performance must improve if they hope to remain atop the Pac-12 North standings and secure the successful season they feel they are capable of producing.

 

“Our guys play hard, and we have set a standard for how hard and tough we need to play,” Wilcox said in describing the biggest take away from the win. “Now the level of execution has got to match that for us to do what we want to do.”

 

The Mean Green return home to take on the UTSA Roadrunners on Saturday, Sept. 21, while the Golden Bears will head to Oxford, Mississippi, to close out their 2019 non-conference schedule in a matchup with Ole Miss.

Air Force wins in overtime over Colorado

Air Force vs Colorado football game on Saturday September 14, 2019 at Folsom Field, CO. (Photo by Laura Domingue / fi360 News)
Air Force vs Colorado football game on Saturday September 14, 2019 at Folsom Field, CO. (Photo by Laura Domingue / fi360 News)

Boulder, CU – Another week and another overtime game at Folsom Field, but this time Colorado failed to gain momentum at the end as the Air Force Falcons scored a touchdown on their opening drive in overtime, winning 30-23.

 

Inconsistent play execution plagued the Buffaloes throughout, and the Falcons took advantage of their weaknesses on both sides of the ball.

 

The first two Colorado drives ended with a passing touchdown from quarterback Steven Montez to receiver Laviska Shenault for 42 yards, and a James Stefanou 36 yard field goal.

 

Air Force vs Colorado football game on Saturday September 14, 2019 at Folsom Field, CO. (Photo by Laura Domingue / fi360 News)

The 10-0 lead was quickly compromised after Air Force scored 23 unanswered points.

 

Colorado didn’t score again until the fourth quarter, as their defense also struggled to stop the Falcons.

 

Air Force vs Colorado football game on Saturday September 14, 2019 at Folsom Field, CO. (Photo by Laura Domingue / fi360 News)

Air Force rushed for over 289 yards, averaging 5.6 yards per carrying.

 

This is the second week in a row that the Buffs fell behind and played catch up against their opponent. The inconsistent execution is what the coaches for Colorado hope to address in the upcoming week.

 

“We have to find ways and find out why we are not as consistent as we need to be,” said coach Mel Tucker, “we will do that, we will look at the film. We will be very very critical like we always are.”

 

Overall, Air Force had control of the game. Their defense held Colorado to 325 yards, and their offense had 444 yards total against the Buffs defense.

 

Air Force vs Colorado football game on Saturday September 14, 2019 at Folsom Field, CO. (Photo by Laura Domingue / fi360 News)

Air Force quarterback threw one pass in their first game against Colgate, which resulted in a completion. Against Colorado, he threw seven completions out of twelve attempts for 155 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception.

 

“I believe we have to give airforce a lot of credit those guys have some good players, play extremely hard, are well-coached and made more plays than we made,” said Tucker.

 

Air Force coughed up the ball three times in this matchup, but Colorado only scored three points in response to those errors.

 

Colorado has forced nine turnovers total in three games.

 

Montez finished 26-for-43 for 220 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception.

 

“We didn’t execute today,” said Montez, “A lot of that is just plain and simple on me. I have to do a better job. We have to come out faster and just better.”

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