UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, left, celebrates with teammate Myles Jack… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)
UCLA Coach Jim Mora's mantra, "every week is a big game," rang extraordinarily true from the moment the Bruins walked off the field with a 37-10 victory over California on Saturday.
The Bruins, who moved up to No. 9 in the Associated Press poll, play at Stanford, which dropped to No. 13 after being upset by Utah, 27-21.
To find this big a game for the Bruins, you have to go all the way back to ... December.
UCLA lost to Stanford, 27-24, in the Pac-12 championship game. The double dip this time is that the Bruins travel to Eugene to play No. 2 Oregon on Oct. 26.
"Now it gets fun," linebacker Jordan Zumwalt said.
The Bruins (5-0 overall, 2-0 in Pac-12 play) go into the game after wading through Cal (1-5) with a solid defensive effort and an on-and-off offensive performance.
Brett Hundley threw for 410 yards, but UCLA got inside the Cal 10-yard line three times and settled for field goals.
"We enjoyed the win, but we weren't satisfied," Mora said. "That says a lot about where we're headed."
The Bruins had seen 116 AP polls come and go since they were last ranked in the top 10. The Bruins peaked at No. 7 in 2005, then went off to Tucson with an 8-0 record. They came back 8-1.
Stiffer competition awaits now: Stanford followed by Oregon.
"In the locker room after the game, there was a sense of what was coming," Mora said. "We try to take the approach that every game carries the same value. We're all human. When you get a chance to go play Stanford, things ramp up."
Memories are stirred as well. UCLA lost twice to Stanford last season and has not beaten the Cardinal since 2008.
"We have been waiting for this," sophomore receiver Jordan Payton said. "Stanford, man, we lost to them twice in one year. We know that, we remember that. This is definitely a big game for us and we're going back up there."
Hitting the books
Hundley had one for the books … the record books.
His 410 yards passing against Cal were the third-most by a UCLA quarterback. His three touchdown passes gave him 41, tying him with Troy Aikman on the UCLA all-time list.
A satisfying evening? Hardly.
"There was a lot left out there," Hundley said.
Particularly inside the 10-yard line.
"Sometimes, on the goal line, there are a lot of tight situations, with fade routes and stuff like that," Hundley said. "I missed on some timing. I missed on some throws. There are a lot of things to get better at."
Said offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone about Hundley: "He likes to know everything and where everything goes and sometimes I say, 'Man, you've just got to go play, just throw it to our guys, all right?' … Instead of putting it exactly there or exactly here."
But, Mazzone said, "that's what makes him the good quarterback."
Cassius Marsh could be suspended
UCLA defensive end Cassius Marsh was ejected after a confrontation with a Cal player. He received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which the Pac-12 could review to see whether a suspension is warranted.
Mora said he did not get an explanation from the game officials. He said that Cal players "were baiting him. I did not see it, but from what I understand, there was a punch thrown. I know the Pac-12 has a review system. We'll see what they say."