UCLA Bruins

PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 24:  Francis Owusu #6 of the Stanford Cardinal fumbles after a hit from Tahaan Goodman #21 and Adarius Pickett #6 of the UCLA Bruins during the second quarter at Rose Bowl on September 24, 2016 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Thrilling comeback gives No. 7 Stanford a wild win over UCLA

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Death. Taxes. Stanford over UCLA.

Cardinal head coach David Shaw ran his record to a perfect 7-0 against the Bruins in thrilling fashion on Saturday night thanks to a 22-13 comeback victory at the Rose Bowl.

Trailing 13-9 with just two minutes left in the game, the Cardinal marched 70 yards in 101 seconds to take an improbable lead after failing to score a touchdown until their final drive.

Quarterback Ryan Burns was behind most of the yardage on what would be the game-winning drive, going 5-of-8 to finish off the Bruins by lofting a perfectly thrown fade into the hands of 6-foot-3 receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside near the corner of the end zone. Burns finished with just 137 yards through the air on the night and tossed an interception in a middling performance but came up clutch for the first moment of his career.

Heisman Trophy candidate Christian McCaffrey had an unusually effective but quiet night a few months after setting a few records at the same venue in January. He had a healthy 5.3 yards per carry for the game and led the team with  165 all-purpose yards but only had one play over 10 yards all night.

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen on the other hand, was the offense for the Bruins considering they could only muster 2.3 yards a carry on the ground. The sophomore signal-caller finished with 248 yards and a touchdown but couldn’t quite pull off the win over the one team that has become a bit of a nemesis to Jim Mora and company in Westwood.

Perhaps fittingly — as if to almost twist the knife into another excruciating loss to their Bay Area rivals — Rosen was sacked on the final play of the game and fumbled, which was then returned by linebacker Joey Alfieri for a touchdown that was of plenty of interest to certain folks up the highway in Las Vegas.

The improbable victory for Stanford keeps alive their College Football Playoff hopes for another week and sets up a huge showdown next Friday at Washington in what looks like the Pac-12 game of the year.

UCLA takes advantage of Stanford miscues to lead 10-3 at halftime

PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 10: Head coach Jim Mora of the UCLA Bruins greets his players after a fourth quarter touchdown against the UNLV Rebels at the Rose Bowl on September 10, 2016 in Pasadena, California.  UCLA won 42-21.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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UCLA did their best to battle their demons when facing off against league rival Stanford in the first half on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl.

The Bruins took advantage of two Cardinal turnovers and converted both into scores as they took a 10-3 lead into the locker room.

Quarterback Josh Rosen was 7-of-11 for 77 yards for UCLA and tossed a beautiful strike into the hands of Nate Iese for the game’s only touchdown.

Stanford superstar Christian McCaffrey was mostly held in check by his standards: 13 yards receiving and just 59 yards rushing on 10 carries. The story of the Stanford offense came at quarterback however, as starter Ryan Burns tossed an interception and was replaced on the next series by backup Keller Chryst. Burns later returned to action but it could be a short leash for the signal-caller if things don’t pick up in the second half.

Five-star UCLA LB Mique Juarez, still on excused sabbatical: ‘It was just too much pressure’

BOULDER, CO - SEPTEMBER 29:  The Bruins flag flies as the UCLA Bruins score a touchdown against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field on September 29, 2012 in Boulder, Colorado. UCLA defeated Colorado 42-14.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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The odd odyssey of the most heralded signee in UCLA’s most recent recent recruiting class has taken another couple of twists of late.

Back last month, Mique Juarez stopped showing up for practice a few days into summer camp because of what head coach Jim Mora described as an “excused” absence as the five-star recruit dealt with unspecified personal issues. The linebacker hasn’t returned to the Bruins since he departed, but, despite the speculation, he does intend to return at some point, possibly even this season.

When asked about his departure, Juarez, who told the Orange County Register that he’s seeing a psychiatrist set up by his head coach, said that “[i]t was just too much pressure.”

Juarez didn’t go any further into specifics.

While Juarez told the Register that he’s bothered by the rumors circulating regarding his situation, it’s a teammate who’s caused him his latest bit of consternation.

Following Saturday’s win over BYU, Juarez tweeted congratulations to his teammates.

For whatver reason, defensive end Takkarist McKinley decided to take a little job at his teammate in a tweet that has since been deleted but saved by The Big Lead.

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The two Bruins then got into a mini back and forth on the social media website. That exchange too has been deleted, although it was preserved for posterity as well.

Juarez responded to that exchange with yet another tweet that he decided to leave up and available for public consumption.

Regardless of when Juarez, the highest-rated Bruins recruit this latest cycle, returns to campus, it appears he’ll have some fence mending to do in the locker room.

Louisville’s Lamar Jackson is Bovada’s overwhelming Heisman favorite

LOUISVILLE, KY - SEPTEMBER 17: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Louisville Cardinals runs for a touchdown during the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on September 17, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)
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As the Lamar Jackson Heisman hype train hurtles down the tracks, at least one wagering establishment has wholeheartedly hopped aboard.

In its latest set of odds released Tuesday afternoon, Bovada.lv has pushed the Louisville quarterback to its pole position for the 2016 Heisman Trophy.  In fact, Jackson, whose 18 touchdowns this season are more than all but seven teams have scored through three weeks, is the site’s overwhelming favorite at 1/2 after being at 6/1 just one week ago.

The Sept. 13 favorite, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, has gone from 5/1 to 8/1.  Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey (9/2) has slightly longer odds at 11/2, while Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett held steady at 6/1.

Greg Ward Jr. saw one of the biggest surges as the Houston quarterback went from 25/1 a week ago to 16/1.

Leonard Fournette was Bovada‘s preseason Heisman favorite at 4/1.  The LSU running back dropped to 12/1 after Week 2 and 20/1 after Week 3.  Around this time last year, Fournette was the Bovada favorite for the Heisman that ultimately went to Alabama running back Derrick Henry, who couldn’t even crack the top six 12 months ago.

Two players that were off the board last go ’round were added: San Diego State running back Donnell Pumphrey (25/1) and Washington quarterback Jake Browning (40/1).  A handful of players were taken off the board, most notably quarterbacks Chad Kelly (Ole Miss), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) and Josh Rosen (UCLA).

Below is the complete list of Heisman Trophy odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv:


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Josh Rosen and a stifling defense help power UCLA past BYU

PROVO, UT - SEPTEMBER 17: Quarterback Josh Rosen #3 of the UCLA Bruins looks to pass the ball in the first quarter against the Brigham Young Cougars at LaVell Edwards Stadium on September 17, 2016 in Provo, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
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UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen has received almost all of the attention for UCLA this year but took a bit of a back seat to his teammates on the other side of the ball on Saturday night.

The Bruins defense put together their best effort in a long, long time against BYU to leave Provo with a 17-14 win that was a much more dominant outing than the score line indicated.

The Cougars managed just 0.9 yards per rush, failed to get much of anything going in the passing game and saw quarterback Taysom Hill throw one interception and record four sacks. While there was plenty of issues on the BYU offense, the fact of the matter was that the team from Los Angeles simply had defenders that looked faster, stronger and quicker on just about every snap.

It was a good thing that the defense rose to the occasion for Jim Mora too because the Bruins offense still hasn’t found much of a rhythm this season outside of their quarterback making some NFL-caliber throws. Rosen finished the night 26-of-40 for 307 yards, two scores and a pick but was only able to pick up six third down conversions all game in a bit of a one-man effort.

Nate Starks made his season debut at tailback and rushed for 39 yards on 15 carries as part of a mediocre ground game against a tough BYU front seven. The team’s leading rusher, Soso Jamabo, did not even suit up for UCLA while backup Bolu Olorunfunmi chipped in with 15 yards in limited action.

The win rounds out the non-conference slate for the Bruins and sets up a big showdown next Saturday at the Rose Bowl with defending conference champion Stanford. The Cardinal have been the one team that Mora has not been able to solve since arriving in Westwood but if the defense plays like it did against BYU, it could be an interesting Pac-12 contest between the two division favorites.