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UCLA QB Brett Hundley's passing yardage declines against Oregon

He threw for only 64 yards in a loss to the Ducks that followed a defeat by Stanford. 'I can do better than what I have done these past two games,' he says.

October 28, 2013|By Chris Foster

There were more questions than answers about UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley this week.

Hundley threw for 64 yards in a 42-14 loss to No. 2 Oregon. He had two passes intercepted.

The last time UCLA threw for fewer yards was in a 24-7 loss to Washington in 2011, when the Bruins had 55 yards. Starting quarterback Richard Brehaut was injured during that game, leaving UCLA with walk-on Clayton Tunney and Darius Bell, who is now a receiver.

UCLA averaged 45 points through the first five games, all victories. It has scored 24 points in losing the last two games.

Hundley threw for 192 yards in a 24-10 loss to Stanford.

Hundley assessed his performances against the Ducks and Cardinal as "steppingstones that you've got to cross over. You've got to cross over them to become great at any position."

The easy explanation was that the Bruins were playing the second-ranked Ducks and the sixth-ranked Cardinal. But Hundley also looked less than sharp in a 37-10 victory over California on Oct. 12. He failed to see a few open receivers in that game, and three times the Bruins were forced to settle for field goals after getting inside the 10-yard line.

Said Hundley: "I can do better than what I have done these past two games. In order to be a great team we have to learn to be consistent."

Hundley fell back on "we have to execute better" as the solution.

Hundley said his recent play was unrelated to hitting his head on the turf in Utah on Oct. 3. He left that game for two plays.

"That was just a hit, football happens," Hundley said. "Nothing came from that."

Defense solid

The ease with which Oregon pulled away masked a good defensive game by UCLA, particularly by its linebackers.

All you had to do was look at the stats.

Jordan Zumwalt: 14 tackles, two for a loss.

Eric Kendricks: Eight tackles before injuring his shoulder.

Anthony Barr: two sacks, one fumble recovery.

Myles Jack: one forced fumble, one blocked punt.

"What impresses me most is how fast they play," UCLA safety Anthony Jefferson said. "Once they see the ball, there is no hesitation. There is no second-guessing. It's just go, go, go. How physical and fast they play, we feed off that."

The Bruins contained Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota well enough. Mariota, a leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy, had 230 yards passing but was held to 18 yards rushing in seven attempts. He had been averaging 10 yards per carry.

"We have an athletic group," defensive coordinator Lou Spanos said. "Obviously, in the 40-yard time, we can't run with them. But in play speed, I thought we could relate to their guys."

Sign language

Zumwalt certainly reminded the Ducks how the Bruins were playing as the game went along.

Zumwalt clobbered De'Anthony Thomas for a six-yard loss in the second quarter. He then put his hands to his head as if to say he had put the running back to sleep. Two plays later, he collared Thomas and flung him backward like a rag doll. Zumwalt then waved bye-bye to him.

"I was just caught up in the emotion," Zumwalt said. "It was nothing personal. I wasn't taking shots or trying to celebrate. I was caught in the moment."

And how'd that go over?

"I had a few Oregon fans hit me up on Instagram, talking a bunch of stuff," Zumwalt said. "They're meaningless."

Twitter: @cfosterlatimes

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