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UCLA's Brett Hundley can't elude all hounds

Cardinal defenders sack the quarterback seven times, a season high allowed by the Bruins.

November 24, 2012|By Baxter Holmes
  • UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley was sacked seven times by Stanford on Saturday, including this one by the Cardinal's David Parry.
UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley was sacked seven times by Stanford on Saturday,… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

Brett Hundley danced. The UCLA quarterback darted and dodged.

He moved like a cornered hare with a hound closing in, only there wasn't just one approaching.

There were several.

And for every Stanford defender that Hundley somehow avoided in the pocket Saturday, another — sometimes two or three — came from another angle. 

He couldn't elude them all.

In its 35-17 win against No. 15 UCLA at the Rose Bowl, the No. 11 Cardinal finished with seven sacks against Hundley, a season-high allowed by UCLA and two more than its previous high. 

"We've got to be able to protect him better," said UCLA Coach Jim Mora, whose Bruins face Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship game in Palo Alto on Friday.

Hundley had captained UCLA (9-3) to a five-game winning streak, gaining rave reviews for his highlight-reel plays and efficiency.

But Stanford (10-2) knocked Hundley down a peg, making the redshirt freshman appear average.

Hundley did manage to complete 20 of 38 passes for 261 yards, with one touchdown and one pass intercepted, but Stanford's smash-mouth defense made him earn every yard.

"Stanford stayed in their gaps," Hundley said. "They played fundamentally sound. They fit the run when they needed. They fit the pass when they needed."

Stanford Coach David Shaw said his team's defense wasn't perfect against Hundley, but it was effective.

"He's so athletic," Shaw said. "He gets out of trouble. He's slippery."

Hundley gashed Stanford's defense with a 38-yard run and there were several other times when he escaped what seemed like a certain sack.

"They have some dangerous weapons and if you give that quarterback too much time, he's going to find them, and he found a few tonight," Shaw said.

"We've got to make sure we bottle him up again in six days."

Preparing for a player with Hundley's skill set wasn't out of the ordinary for Stanford, said Cardinal safety Jordan Richards.

"We've seen guys like that all year," he said. "It doesn't change for us."

Just the same, multiple Stanford defenders said the defensive plan they had coming into the game wasn't unusual, either. 

"Same thing that it's been every week: Play fast, play physical, bring pressure and put the hurt on the offense," said Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov.

"That's the way we like to play. We like to impose our will on the opposition. It's the same thing we've done every game. We want to dictate the terms of engagement on the field by bringing pressure and making the quarterback feel uncomfortable."

No doubt, the Cardinal did just that Saturday. No doubt, Stanford made Hundley uncomfortable.

And in the next six days, UCLA had better develop a better protection scheme, or hope that Hundley learns some new dance moves, or else his jersey will need a thorough wash once again.

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