By Steve Finley
Special to the BVN
The UCLA football team stepped up to the plate and hit a grand slam home run when they beat USC 38-28 last Saturday at the Rose Bowl. The Bruins out played the Trojans in every phase of the game during a rainy, cloudy day in Pasadena in front of 83,277 fans. What a difference a year makes. Last year USC beat UCLA 50-0.
Now the Bruins are the champions of the South Division of the Pac-12 Conference and will play either Stanford or Oregon on November 30 for the conference championship.
The 9-2 Bruins have a different philosophy, a new coaching staff and one of the best quarterbacks in the nation in Brett Hundley. “I am really proud of this team,” said Mora after the victory over USC. “I am especially happy for our seniors who finally got a chance to beat USC.”
Once again the Bruins were led by red-shirt freshman quarterback Hundley. Hundley had the Trojans’ defense confused the whole game with his passing and running. He completed 22 of 30 passes for 234 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions. He also ran for 49 yards and two touchdowns. USC’s quarterback, pre-season Heisman Trophy candidate Matt Barkley completed 20 of 38 passes for 301 yards and three touchdowns but he also threw two costly interceptions.
“I thought Brett made key plays when he needed to,” said Mora. “He kept his eyes down field and he made the money throws, the hard throws at the important times of the game. We are just seeing the beginning of how great Brett Hundley can be. It’s going to take a lot of hard work but he is a young man who is willing to put in the work. He has great coaching and he is a tremendous leader.”
Hundley gives a lot of credit to his offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Noel Mazzone and his teammates. “I am so blessed to be a part of this team, “said Hundley. “The receivers, the coaches, the offensive line, special teams and the defense are all doing a great job. Remember defense wins championships.”
The Bruins can’t relax because they battle No. 14 Stanford Saturday at the 3:30 p.m. at the Rose Bowl. Stanford is coming off one of the biggest wins in school history, a 17-14 overtime win over No. 1 Oregon.
If the Bruins play with the same intensity Saturday they showed against USC, UCLA will be 10-2 for the Saturday night and will go into the conference championship game with a lot of momentum.
Steve Findley is a former Daily sports editor and columnist. Steve can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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