UCLA Bruins

Will Jim Mora leave UCLA after Bruins’ Alamo Bowl victory?

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The rumor mill is churning, and UCLA head coach Jim Mora is now at the forefront of the conversation.

Immediately after the Bruins’ 40-35 victory over the No. 11 Kansas State Wildcats in the Valero Alamo Bowl, questions began to swirl regarding whether or not Mora will leave the program.

Two teams potentially interested in Mora’s services are the New York Jets and the San Francisco 49ers. According to PFT, a Jets consultant already contacted Mora and inquired about his buyout with UCLA.

Mora addressed the rumors Thursday to no avail.

“I have no plans to coach anywhere other than UCLA at this point,” Mora told the Orange County Register‘s Ryan Kartje.

At that point, the Bruins had yet to play in the Alamo Bowl. With the bowl game now complete, the interest in Mora could heat up in the coming days.

Friday’s performance by the Bruins wasn’t one to pad the resume, though.

The Bruins nearly allowed the Wildcats to come back from 25-point halftime deficit. UCLA committed 15 penalties and made numerous mental mistakes. It was the type of effort where anyone watching could question whether or not Mora had his team fully prepared.

The Bruins struggled to contain the Wildcats’ dynamic duo at wide receiver, Tyler Lockett and Curry Sexton. The twosome combined to make 23 catches for 268 yards on their way to becoming the first tandem with 1,000 or more receiving yards in Kansas State history.

A late 67-yard touchdown run from running back Paul Perkins was needed to eventually seal the victory. Perkins finished the contest with 194 yards on 20 carries.

During his three seasons with the program, Mora is 29-11 overall. The Bruins didn’t win 29 games during the team’s previous five seasons. As a result, the coach appears to have revitalized his reputation, which makes him an intriguing option for the professional ranks.

It sure appeared as if Mora had somewhere else to be at the conclusion of the Alamo Bowl:

Brett Hundley shines in final game as UCLA leads Kansas State 31-6 in Alamo Bowl

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Brett Hundley is making the most out of his final game as a member of the UCLA Bruins.

Prior to the Valero Alamo Bowl, UCLA head coach Jim Mora confirmed the quarterback will forgo his final year of eligibility with the Bruins to join the professional ranks.

Hundley saved one of his best games for last as the No. 14 Bruins lead the No. 11 Kansas State Wildcats 31-6 in the Valero Alamo Bowl.

The quarterback’s outstanding performance became quickly evident. The Bruins scored on all three first-quarter drives and quickly built a 17-0 lead.

Hundley plays his best in bowl games. During last year’s Sun Bowl, the quarterback threw for 226 yards and a touchdown while adding 161 more yards on the ground with a pair of touchdowns.

The junior could duplicate the performance with a strong second-half effort. Hundley competed 11 of 20 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 57 yards and the pair of aforementioned touchdowns.

If the score isn’t any indication, history indicates the contest is already over for the Wildcats.

To make the second half more interesting, the Wildcats’ primary concern will be to take away the Bruins’ rushing attack. It wasn’t simply Hundley causing Kansas State problems. Running back Paul Perkins, the Pac-12’s leading rusher, carried the ball 11 times for 86 yards, which included a 32-yard touchdown romp.

Bill Snyder‘s squad must force Hundley to beat them through the air to slow the Bruins offense.

Kansas State, meanwhile, needs more from its quarterback. Senior Jake Waters hasn’t played like the quarterback seen during the team’s previous three contests. After completing nearly 74 percent of his passes against the West Virginia Mountaineers, Kansas Jayhawks and Baylor Bears, Waters is only 9-of-19 passing for 89 yards with an interception.

As the second half resumes, it’s all about about Hundley showcasing his talents for the next level.

UCLA DC fully expects Jim Mora to stick with Bruins, not leave for Michigan

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As of Wednesday, UCLA’s Jim Mora held 8-1 odds to become the next head coach of the Michigan Wolverines. Mora only trailed Michigan’s prodigal son, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, as the favorite to eventually claim the position.

If Mora is actually interested in leaving the West Coast for the Midwest to coach one of college football’s most prestigious program, he has hasn’t been forthright with his current coaching staff.

UCLA defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich discussed the possibility of Mora leaving the Bruins for Michigan with the Orange County Register‘s Ryan Kartje.

“I’m convinced that Coach Mora, he loves it here,” Ulbrich told Kartje. “He loves this program. He loves these kids. He loves the direction we’re going. I think he’s in it for the long haul. I really do. He’s built a beautiful home in Manhattan Beach. It doesn’t look like he has any intention of leaving that. His kids have stayed here close to go to school locally to be together, to be near him.”

Michigan still carries a lot of clout as one of the nation’s highest profile programs, yet Mora is currently in a better place after rebuilding the Bruins over the past three seasons. The Bruins are currently ranked 14th overall and spent the bulk of the season among the Top 10 overall. Michigan, meanwhile, finished 5-7 overall.

These reasons and more (namely the weather) led Ulbrich to think “everything would indicate to me that he’s staying.”

UCLA squanders Pac-12 South lead with loss to Stanford

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The UCLA Bruins will not represent the South division in the Pac-12 Championship game. And the Bruins have no one to blame but themselves.

All Jim Mora‘s squad had to do was beat the underachieving 6-5 Stanford Cardinal. UCLA may not have beaten Stanford during the last six years, but this season was supposed to be different.

The Bruins were ranked eighth overall, and there were conversations during the week that UCLA could sneak into the backdoor of the College Football Playoff after three impressive victories against the Arizona Wildcats, Washington Huskies and the rival USC Trojans.

Stanford didn’t get the message.

The Cardinal played like the program it had been during previous seasons. David Shaw’s squad dominated at the point of attack and controlled the clock. This led to Stanford claiming a decisive 31-10 victory to extend their winning streak over UCLA to seven straight games.

UCLA took an early lead, though, when quarterback Brett Hundley completed a 15-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Thomas Duarte. Stanford responded with a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to tie the game 7-7.

However, the second quarter belonged to the Cardinal.

During the second frame, Stanford ran 19 plays on two drives and gained 167 yards. Both drives ended in touchdowns. With 21-10 halftime, the game was essentially over for UCLA.

Stanford extended its streak of outscoring UCLA to 14 straight halves when it scored 10 more points in the second half of Friday’s contest.

The biggest difference in the game proved to be the play of the quarterbacks.

While Hundley, a junior, celebrated with the seniors because he is expected to leave UCLA for the NFL, Stanford’s Kevin Hogan was the most impressive signal-caller on the field.

Hogan began the game 12-of-12 passing. He was efficient and particularly deadly on third down. Stanford’s junior quarterback finished the game 16-of-19 passing for 234 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Hundley, meanwhile, never got into a groove and struggled to lead his offense before leaving the game with what appeared to be an injured throwing hand. During Hundley’s last game at the Rose Bowl, the quarterback was only 17-of-32 passing for a meager 146 yards and a touchdown.

Both teams are bowl eligible, but Stanford once again proved to the biggest obstacle for a team hoping to go to the Pac-12 Championship Game.

No. 12 Oregon Ducks return to national spotlight after 42-30 victory over No. 18 UCLA Bruins

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After falling to the Arizona Wildcats last Thursday, the No. 12 Oregon Ducks (5-1)  regained the lost momentum by defeating the No. 18 UCLA Bruins (4-2) 42-30.

The score wasn’t as close as the 12-point spread indicated. Oregon dominated the game through three quarters and surrendered 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter after it took its collective foot off the gas pedal.

The victory against UCLA was vital with the heart of Oregon’s divisional schedule looming. The Ducks reemerged against the Bruins as the favorites in the Pac-12 North. Oregon controls its destiny with an opportunity to make an appearance in the Pac-12 Championship Game and potentially be a part of the inaugural College Football Playoff.

Oregon’s remaining schedule against the Washington Huskies, Cal Golden Bears, Stanford Cardinal, Utah Utes, Colorado Buffaloes and Oregon State Beavers should be impressive enough to warrant national consideration as one of the nation’s Top 4 teams should the Ducks run the table.

The biggest difference in Oregon’s play during the past 10 days was improvement along the offensive line.

Senior left tackle Jake Fisher returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games due to a knee injury. His presence proved to be a massive addition to the Ducks’ offense.

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota wasn’t under undue pressure throughout the contest like he was during the previous two weeks. The Bruins didn’t register a sack, and it showed in the signal-caller’s play.

Mariota’s Heisman campaign is alive and well after contributing four touchdowns against the Bruins. The Ducks quarterback was 17-of-7 passing for 210 yards and 75 rushing yards.

Mariota’s second rushing touchdown was especially exciting after the ball was fumbled and the quarterback picked it up while slicing through the Bruins’ defense.

UCLA’s Brett Hundley, who was considered a preseason contender for the Heisman Trophy, proved to be nearly as effective as Mariota, but his team didn’t make the plays needed to stay in the game. Hundley threw for 216 yards and ran for 89 more. The Bruins, though, are now 1-2 in conference play and will require plenty of help to earn a possible berth is the Pac-12 Championship Game as the league’s representative from the South division.