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TV demands the Pac-12 late show

UCLA FOOTBALL FYI

Commissioner Larry Scott says the conference gets more attention with games at night because of less competition.

October 03, 2013|By Chris Foster
  • Bruins safety Randall Goforth goes for the tackle against Utes receiver Jake Murphy in the first quarter Thursday night.
Bruins safety Randall Goforth goes for the tackle against Utes receiver… (Gene Sweeney Jr. / Getty…)

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The Pac-12 has become the conference of East Coast night owls and insomniacs. That's the best-case scenario.

Or the conference, which has had several games go well past midnight in the Eastern and Central time zones, is missing out on influencing polls and awards nationally.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott chose the night owl theory, saying, "Truth is, they rate well. We get a lot of attention because there's not a lot that is going on."

Except sleep, maybe.

UCLA's game against Utah on Thursday had a 7 p.m. PDT start. Texas at Iowa State was the 4:30 p.m. game.

It was the third time in four games that the No. 12 Bruins, one of the conference's top teams, have had a starting time of 7 p.m. or later on the West Coast. UCLA plays California at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 12.

Scott's pitch is, "It is actually an advantage for our conference. On any given Saturday there are 50-plus football games going on. There is a lot of dilution of the audience."

Scott added, "It is really our TV partners that like these. It's part of the new TV deal, with the revenue we got and the commitment that every game would be available nationally. That meant playing eight weeknight games, Thursdays and Fridays. We're playing more evening windows on Saturday."

Historically, UCLA has struggled with its non-Saturday games since 2008. The Bruins ended a five-game losing streak with a 49-24 victory over Rice to open the 2012 season. UCLA will play Washington in a Friday night game at the Rose Bowl on Nov. 16.

Scott said there has been no movement toward a deal with DirecTV.

Hundley moves up

Brett Hundley's 15-yard pass to Devin Fuller in the second quarter moved him past Wayne Cook on the all-time UCLA passing list. Cook had 4,723 yards from 1991 to '94.

Hundley had 4,588 yards passing going into the game.

"If someone is going to pass me, Brett's the guy," said Cook, now a sideline radio reporter for UCLA games. "I think some of the quarterbacks who move past you move past you because of the era they play. I think Brett is a great quarterback in any era."

White hurt

UCLA tackle Torian White left because of what appeared to be a right knee injury in the second quarter. Freshman Caleb Benenoch was brought in at right tackle and Simon Goines moved to White's spot on the left.

Family ties

A 54-yard touchdown reception by Utah's Dres Anderson in the first quarter might have stung UCLA fans a bit. Anderson is the son of former Bruins receiver Flipper Anderson (1984-87).

Anderson took a short pass from Travis Wilson, bolted past two defenders and sprinted along the sideline, diving into the end zone.

Mr. Versatility

Hundley added punting and receiving to his job description Thursday.

He pooched a 27-yard punt to the eight-yard line in the first quarter.

Hundley then became a receiver. Running back Jordon James took a direct snap, then flipped the ball to Fuller, a quarterback-turned-receiver. Fuller then tossed a seven-yard touchdown pass to Hundley.

chris.foster@latimes.com

Twitter: @cfosterlatimes

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