Nov 19, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; Southern California Trojans running back Austin Jones (6) celebrates his touchdown scored against the UCLA Bruins with wide receiver Tahj Washington (16) and wide receiver Michael Jackson III (9) during the first half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Late interception clinches USC win over UCLA, trip to title game

Korey Foreman’s interception of Dorian Thompson-Robinson with 1:25 remaining preserved No. 7-ranked USC’s 48-45, road win over rival and No. 16 UCLA Saturday in Pasadena, California, and preserved the Trojans’ College Football Playoff aspirations.

USC (10-1, 8-1 Pac-12 Conference) gave up three consecutive UCLA touchdowns over the late third quarter and into the fourth. Laiatu Latu delivered a critical third-down sack, forcing the Trojans’ first punt of the game and giving the Bruins possession again.

UCLA (8-3, 5-3) was driving when Thompson-Robinson found Jake Bobo for a 27-yard gain, part of Bobo’s team-high 76 yards receiving.

On the next play, Foreman stepped in front of Thompson-Robinson’s pass attempt up the middle for USC’s third interception of the UCLA quarterback, to get the critical stop.

With the win, USC sewed up a berth in the Dec. 2 Pac-12 Championship Game. The Trojans close the regular season hosting nonconference rival Notre Dame.

Thompson-Robinson completed 23-of-38 pass attempts for 309 yards with four touchdown passes — three to tight end Michael Ezeike — and rushed for another 81 yards with two touchdowns.

USC quarterback Caleb Williams outdueled him, setting a career-high with 470 yards on 32-of-43 passing. Jordan Addison caught 11 passes for 178 yards with a touchdown, and Kyle Ford hauled in Williams’ other touchdown pass.

Williams added another 33 yards with a touchdown on the ground, while Austin Jones — starting in place of the injured Travis Dye – ran for 120 yards on 21 carries with two touchdowns.

UCLA (8-3, 5-3) jumped ahead 14-0, capitalizing on a pair of early USC misfires deep in Bruins territory. The Trojans had three trips into the UCLA red zone that failed to net any points.

The Bruins, meanwhile, went 4-of-4 on red-zone attempts. UCLA’s inability to slow the USC offense, which gained 649 total yards, made the difference. The Bruins gained 507 yards.

–Field Level Media

Nov 5, 2022; Tempe, AZ, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) reacts after running for a touchdown against the Arizona State Sun Devils in the first half at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-Arizona Republic

Ncaa Ucla At Asu

No. 12 UCLA looks to use run game against Arizona

No. 12 UCLA can run the ball, and Arizona has trouble stopping it. The teams’ Saturday night matchup in Pasadena, Calif., might not get more complicated than that.

The Bruins (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12) are seventh nationally and first in the conference in rushing yards per game (242.3), and they are coming off a 402-yard performance on the ground in a 50-36 road win over Arizona State, despite star running back Zach Charbonnet being unavailable due to injury.

Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson contributed 120 rushing yards, Kazmeir Allen rushed for 137 and Keegan Jones added 98.

“It’s a credit to our depth from a skill position standpoint,” UCLA coach Chip Kelly said. “I thought our offensive line and tight ends played really, really well. They understood it was a challenge. When you lose somebody like Zach, that’s a big blow to your football team. … I think our offense, guys on the offensive side of the ball, really responded when they knew that Zach wasn’t gonna play after warmups and what are we gonna do.”

Charbonnet, third nationally with 137.7 yards per game, practiced on Tuesday and likely won’t want to miss a chance to run against the Wildcats (3-6, 1-5). They are 125th in the country in rushing defense, allowing 218.7 yards per game, and have given up 300 rushing yards in a game three times this season.

Arizona has made strides in coach Jedd Fisch’s second season, notably on offense, but needs to play a clean game to compete against the top teams in the Pac-12.

That didn’t happen last week. Arizona fumbled seven times, losing four, in a 45-20 loss in the rain at Utah. Quarterback Jayden de Laura, who has been brilliant but inconsistent, threw for a season-low 159 yards.

“The elements were kind of affecting us,” Fisch said. “I thought we didn’t really handle the full passing game the way we normally would. We certainly are a better football team than we showed.”

The Wildcats might be without leading receiver Jacob Cowing, who was considered questionable on Monday due to a leg injury.

UCLA didn’t see any movement in the College Football Playoff rankings, but still has an outside shot at making the final four. Winning out against Arizona, USC and Cal would land the Bruins in the Pac-12 title game, where they potentially could avenge their only loss — to Oregon.

Kelly has been vocal about late kickoffs affecting how many people get to see — and properly evaluate — his team. This week’s game begins at 10:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.

“We had a team run for 400 yards last Saturday night and no one knows about it,” Kelly said. “We’ve got a good football team and I hope people get a chance to see us play.”

While this week’s matchup favors the high-powered UCLA offense, Kelly has been fretting about his defense. UCLA gave up 349 passing yards and 30 first downs last week versus ASU.

“I talked to it a little bit after the game, but I think with the amount of missed tackles we had, we’ve got to do a better job in open spaces,” Kelly said. “And part of that is gang tackling, getting more than one guy to the ball.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 22, 2022; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks wide receiver Troy Franklin (11) catches a touchdown pass during the first half against UCLA Bruins defensive back Kenny Churchwell III (23) at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

No. 10 Oregon continues dominance of No. 9 UCLA

Bo Nix threw for 283 yards and five touchdown passes, leading 10th-ranked Oregon to a 45-30 win over No. 9 UCLA on Saturday afternoon at Eugene, Ore.

The Ducks (6-1, 4-0 in Pac-12) ended the day as the only undefeated team in the conference and won their 23rd straight game at Autzen Stadium.

Bucky Irving rushed for 106 yards and caught a touchdown pass, while Troy Franklin had eight catches for 132 yards and two TDs for the Ducks.

UCLA (6-1, 3-1) got 259 yards passing and two touchdown from Dorian Thompson-Robinson. The Bruins also had 154 rushing yards from the Pac-12’s leading rusher, Zach Charbonnet.

Since a 49-3 loss to top-ranked Georgia at Atlanta in the first game of the season, Oregon has won six straight games and scored no fewer than 41 points in each win.

With Oregon up 17-10 after Nix hit Franklin for a 49-yard touchdown pass, the Ducks seized momentum for good when kickoff specialist Andrew Boyle recovered his own onside-kick attempt.

Oregon took over at its own 46-yard line and marched down the field for Jordan James’ 2-yard touchdown run for a 24-10 lead with 6:34 to go in the second quarter.

The Ducks took a 31-13 lead into halftime thanks to Nix’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Franklin with six seconds left in the first half. The score completed a 10-play, 88-yard drive.

The Ducks totaled 544 yards of offense, with 283 passing yards and 261 rushing yards.

After UCLA’s Nicholas Barr-Mira made a 33-yard field goal in the third quarter to cut Oregon’s lead to 31-16, the Ducks converted two fourth downs in their own territory on their way to a 7-1/2 minute touchdown drive that ended with Nix’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Cam McCormick.

Oregon scored again early in the fourth quarter. Facing fourth-and-4 from the UCLA 37-yard line, Nix found an open Irving near the sideline and the back scooted up the field and into the end zone for a 45-23 lead.

Former wide receiver Bryan Addison intercepted a Thompson-Robinson pass into the end zone midway through the fourth quarter, ending any hope of a Bruins comeback.

The Ducks’ win left former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly winless against his former program in four meetings with UCLA. The Ducks improved to 15-3 against the Bruins since the 2000 season.

Oregon has won four straight meetings and 10 of the last 11 in the overall series.

–Field Level Media

Oct 8, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA;  UCLA Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) runs with a ball during the first quarter against the Utah Utes at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

No. 18 UCLA wards off comeback to defeat No. 11 Utah

Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s five total touchdowns powered No. 18 UCLA to its second win over a top-20 opponent in as many weeks, this time knocking off No. 11 Utah 42-32 on Saturday in Pasadena, Calif.

UCLA (6-0, 3-0 Pac-12) led from wire-to-wire, but Utah threatened all the way into the fourth quarter before Thompson-Robinson’s fourth touchdown pass. The 70-yard connection with Logan Loya pushed a 28-25 Bruins lead to 10 points, and Thompson-Robinson eclipsed Brett Hundley for the most career touchdown passes in UCLA history.

Thompson-Robinson finished Saturday’s win with 76 scoring throws during his time with the Bruins.

On the ensuing possession, Darius Muasau forced a fumble from Utah quarterback Cameron Rising. Jaylin Davies took the recovery 37 yards down to the goal line, where Zach Charbonnet finished the job with a touchdown carry.

Charbonnet rushed for 198 yards on 22 carries.

Utah (4-2, 2-1) made one final push to rally, but a failed conversion attempt at the UCLA 32-yard line on fourth down continued a game-long trend for the Utes.

Utah had four possessions that ended at the Bruins 28-yard line or better combine for just three points.

They included a Muasau interception of Rising on a first-quarter pass down to the 5-yard line, a drive early in the second quarter that stalled at the 5-yard line resulting in a field goal, a missed field-goal attempt from 43 yards just before halftime and the turnover-on-downs on the final offensive possession.

The Utes cut into the deficit in the final minute when Clark Phillips III produced a pick-6 for the second time in as many weeks, returning an interception 80 yards in the final minute.

The misfire was a rarity for Thompson-Robinson on an otherwise spectacular day. He completed 18 of 23 pass attempts for 299 yards and spread his four touchdown throws to three pass-catchers, including Jake Bobo, who caught a pair of scores for a second consecutive week.

Thompson-Robinson started the day’s scoring with a 7-yard touchdown run.

Rising went 23-for-32 passing for 287 yards and ran for a pair of touchdowns. Tavion Thomas led the Utes with 91 yards rushing on 18 carries.

–Field Level Media

Sep 30, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) runs for a 4 yard gain in the first half against the Washington Huskies at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

No. 18 UCLA puts win streak on line vs. No. 11 Utah

Undefeated and No. 18 UCLA welcomes a top 15-ranked, Pac-12 opponent to Pasadena, Calif., for the second time in as many weeks with 11th-ranked Utah’s visit on Saturday.

The Bruins (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) scored arguably the signature win of coach Chip Kelly’s five seasons at UCLA, outside of two victories over rival Southern California, with a 40-32 defeat of then-No. 15 Washington last Friday.

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson was electric, going 24-of-33 passing for 315 yards with three touchdowns and rushing for another 53 yards and a score. Running back Zach Charbonnet rushed for 124 yards with a touchdown, and wide receiver Jake Bobo caught six passes for a career-high 142 yards and two touchdowns.

The offensive onslaught gave UCLA a second-half lead of as many as 24 points against the previously unbeaten Huskies. The Bruins’ defense put enough pressure on nation-leading passer Michael Penix Jr. to force two interceptions and got into the backfield for the first two sacks Washington allowed all season.

“We didn’t think we’d go into that game and we’re going to shut down that offense for the entire game, but you’ve gotta get stops,” Kelly said this week. “That’s the key to what our defense has done.”

The Bruins’ defense draws another prolific offense this week.

Utah (4-1, 2-0) is putting up some of the most impressive offensive numbers in the nation at 42 points per game, 11th in the nation. The Utes hit their average in last week’s 42-16 home rout of Oregon State, a game in which Utah flexed its muscle on both sides of the ball.

Cornerback Clark Phillips III had three interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, to complement quarterback Cameron Rising’s 19-of-25 passing performance for 199 yards.

Rising passed for three touchdowns, giving him 13 through the air on the season – a pace that, if continued, would be the most from any Utah quarterback since Alex Smith threw for 32 in a Heisman Trophy-contending 2004 season.

Rising and Thompson-Robinson, both passing for three touchdowns while rushing for a fourth last week, continued a season-long parallel in their production.

The duo has attempted almost an identical number of passes – 140 from Thompson-Robinson, 139 from Rising – gone for 1,211 (Thompson-Robinson) and 1,153 (Rising) passing yards and are at per-attempt clips of 8.7 and 8.3 yards respectively.

The dual threats also have put up a high volume of touchdowns while limiting interceptions. Thompson-Robinson has 11 passing scores and one pick thrown, while Rising has thrown just two interceptions.

“You can see him getting better and better. He’s playing his best football right now, as far as my vantage point,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said about Thompson-Robinson. “Chip has done a great job of developing. Not that (Thompson-Robinson) was not good before, but he’s really taken his game to another level.”

Thompson-Robinson’s play this season is a continuation to his strong finish to 2021. He scored nine total touchdowns – seven passing and two rushing – over UCLA’s last two games a season ago. He accounted for six total TDs in a victory against USC alone.

And the Bruins have flourished right along with their quarterback, carrying a winning streak of eight games – a program-best since 2005 – into Saturday. The last UCLA defeat? At Utah 44-24 on Oct. 30 last season.

Adding a ninth-consecutive overall victory for the Bruins means ending a different streak. Utah has won the last five meetings between the teams since 2016 and has not lost to UCLA inside of the Rose Bowl since 2012.

“I’m very aware,” Thompson-Robinson said of the losing streak to the Utes. “I circled about three or four games before the start of the season, Utah being one of them.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 13, 2021; Pasadena, California, USA; Colorado Buffaloes wide receiver Daniel Arias (6) is tackled by UCLA Bruins defensive back Cameron Johnson (3) in the second half at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado gets shot to spark season with 3-0 UCLA in town

Teams that have started the season in opposite directions meet when undefeated UCLA visits winless Colorado in the Pac-12 opener for both schools on Saturday in Boulder, Colo.

After lopsided wins over Bowling Green and Alabama State to open the season, UCLA (3-0) needed Nicholas Barr-Mira’s 24-yard field goal as time expired to pull out a 32-31 win over visiting South Alabama on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Colorado’s three losses to open the season have been by an average of 32.7 points after the Buffaloes were trounced 49-7 at Minnesota last weekend.

The setback prompted athletic director Rick George to release a statement reiterating his confidence in coach Karl Dorrell, who is 8-13 since taking over the Buffaloes in 2020.

“He’s all-in just like I’m all-in,” said Dorrell, who went 35-27 in five seasons as Bruins head coach from 2003-07. “I know our fans are disappointed. We’re just as disappointed. We’re not trying to do these things. Unfortunately that’s part of the game, that’s part of the pressure and the expectation, particularly of a program like the University of Colorado that I have a lot of respect for.

“I know we can get better, and I know we will be better. … We, as a team, and as a football program, those young players down there, they want to play well for their fans.”

UCLA coach Chip Kelly said he isn’t paying attention to the Buffaloes’ off-the-field drama.

“We look at their scheme and their personnel,” Kelly said. “We are very analytical about what we are doing. We don’t start to delve into what is the psyche and non-psyche of the team and how they feel and all of those other things.”

UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson has completed 72.6 percent of his passes for 662 yards with six touchdowns and an interception while also running for 114 yards and two scores. Zach Charbonnet is the team’s leading rusher with 34 carries for 189 yards and a touchdown.

However, no Bruin has more receiving yards than Jake Bobo’s 168 on 11 receptions, with Kazmeir Allen notching a Bruins-best 16 catches.

Colorado has been unsettled at the quarterback position with J.T. Shrout and Brendon Lewis each struggling to lead an offense that has mustered only 30 points over three games.

Deion Smith has rushed for 159 yards and a score on 28 carries (5.7 yards per carry), while Daniel Arias has 124 receiving yards on nine receptions, which is at least six more than any other Buffaloes player.

UCLA posted a 44-20 home win over the visiting Buffaloes last year and has lost their last three games in Boulder since a 40-37 win in 2014.

–Field Level Media

Sep 17, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins running back Zach Charbonnet (24) carries the ball for a first down in the first half against the South Alabama Jaguars at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Nicholas Barr-Mira’s FG helps UCLA hold off South Alabama

Nicholas Barr-Mira connected on four field-goal attempts, including a 24-yarder as time expired, and UCLA escaped becoming the latest Power Five conference team to lose to a Sun Belt Conference opponent this season with a 32-31 decision over South Alabama on Saturday in Pasadena, Calif.

UCLA (3-0) trailed 31-29 with about three minutes remaining and South Alabama bringing on its field-goal unit for what appeared to be a 39-yard attempt. Instead, the Jaguars attempted a fake on the fourth-and-2 play, resulting in a sack by Carl Jones Jr. and the Bruins taking possession.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who finished 20-of-30 passing for 263 yards and three touchdowns, completed three consecutive throws that, combined with a South Alabama penalty, moved UCLA from its own 33-yard line to deep in Jaguars territory.

A few running plays later set Barr-Mira for the chip-shot field goal. He also connected on attempts of 38, 49 and 28 yards.

South Alabama (2-1) came into Saturday’s contest looking to join conference counterparts Appalachian State, Georgia Southern and Marshall with Power Five wins after the three knocked off Texas A&M, Nebraska and Notre Dame, respectively, last week.

Tough red-zone defense that allowed UCLA only six points combined on three of its trips inside the Jaguars 20-yard line and a balanced offense that produced 399 total yards had South Alabama ahead much of the way.

It led 17-6 in the first half, and 31-23 heading into the fourth quarter after the second Bruins turnover — a botched pitch from Thompson-Robinson to Zach Charbonnet — set South Alabama up at the 6-yard line.

The Jaguars cashed in on the takeaway with Caullin Lacy’s touchdown reception from Carter Bradley. Bradley finished 26-of-36 passing for 237 with the score and an interception. La’Damian Webb rushed for 124 yards to lead all ball-carriers, and Marco Lee scored a pair of goal-line touchdowns for South Alabama.

–Field Level Media

Nov 13, 2021; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) hands the ball off to running back Zach Charbonnet (24) the first half against the Colorado Buffaloes at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA feeling fresh with South Alabama ahead

UCLA aims to complete a perfect nonconference portion of its schedule when it hosts South Alabama in a Saturday matinee at Pasadena, Calif.

The Bruins (2-0) faced little resistance in its first two outings, routing Bowling Green 45-17 in Week 1 and getting the best of Alabama State last week 45-7.

UCLA coach Chip Kelly used the two blowouts to rotate multiple players into the lineup, a strategy reflected in six different players accounting for the Bruins’ eight rushing touchdowns through the first two games.

Kelly said during his weekly media availability that the opening weeks have helped UCLA improve in various position groups in preparation for the Pac-12 Conference season.

“The (offensive) line is getting better as a group, playing together,” Kelly said. “The left side’s new with (Garrett) DiGiorgio and Raiqwon (O’Neal) out there. Those guys are starting to get a little bit more familiar with each other.”

The line has paved the way for UCLA to average 241 yards on 5.8 per carry rushing. The Bruins can expect resistance from a South Alabama defense that ranks in the top 20 nationally against the run early into the season.

The Jaguars (2-0) followed a 48-7 dismantling of Nicholls State in Week with a 38-24 win on the road last week at Central Michigan. South Alabama held the Chippewas to 81 yards rushing and limited Nicholls State to 59.

UCLA presents a much different challenge with dual-threat quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who has carried for 87 yards on just seven attempts with two touchdowns. Powerhouse running back Zach Charbonnet has 111 yards on 21 rushes.

Thompson-Robinson was used sparingly against Alabama State, while Charbonnet wasn’t used at all as the Bruins elected not to lean on their stars against an overmatched opponent.

“Zach Charbonnet, their running back, has tremendously improved from where he was when he was at Michigan,” South Alabama coach Kane Wommack said. “We went against him my last year at Indiana and watching him from that point to where he is now, I feel he’s done a tremendous job. Hats off to Chip Kelly and his staff for maximizing him.”

The Jaguars look to become the next Sun Belt Conference team to score an upset over a Power Five opponent. League counterparts Appalachian State and Marshall knocked off Texas A&M and Notre Dame last week, while Georgia Southern won at Nebraska.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins tight end Hudson Habermehl (81) is pursued by Alabama State Hornets defensive back Jeffrey Scott Jr. (7) on a touchdown reception in the first half at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

First-half surge guides UCLA past Alabama St.

Ethan Garbers replaced Dorian Thompson-Robinson at quarterback early in the second quarter and ran for two touchdowns before halftime to help UCLA pull away for a 45-7 win against Alabama State on Saturday afternoon in Pasadena, Calif.

After Thompson-Robinson completed 9 of 11 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown, Garbers completed 14 of 18 passes for 164 yards with an interception.

Thompson-Robinson appeared to sustain a leg injury while making a shovel pass, and Garbers finished off the 11-play, 70-yard drive by scoring on a 5-yard run for a 21-7 lead with 10:39 left in the opening half.

The drive was kept alive three plays earlier when Alabama State was penalized for roughing the passer on third down.

Nicholas Barr-Mira booted a 19-yard field goal for UCLA (2-0) to make it 24-7 with 2:43 left before halftime.

Garbers added his second touchdown run from 2 yards out to make it 31-7 with 1:02 remaining in the half.

Alabama State (2-1) began the game with a long drive, but it stalled after 10 plays when Myles Crawley threw an incomplete pass on fourth-and-3 from the UCLA 32-yard line.

The Bruins took over and Thompson-Robinson completed four straight passes to start the drive and get into the Alabama State red zone.

A defensive pass interference penalty gave UCLA the ball on the 2-yard line and Keegan Jones ran into the end zone on the next play to give the Bruins a 7-0 lead with 7:58 left in the first quarter.

UCLA’s defense then came up with a big play when Crawley was sacked and lost a fumble at his own 25.

On the next play, Hudson Habermehl caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Thompson-Robinson to stretch the lead to 14-0 with 4:53 remaining in the opening quarter.

Alabama State strung together another long drive and this time the Hornets finished it off on a high note.

Crawley found Jeremiah Hixon over the middle for a 21-yard touchdown pass to cap the eight-play, 60-yard drive and cut the lead to 14-7 with 13:53 left in the first half.

Crawley completed 16 of 27 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown and interception.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) throws a pass against the Southern California Trojans in the first half at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

QB experience abound when UCLA faces Bowling Green

UCLA softened its nonconference schedule considerably this season, yet the Bruins still will be on guard Saturday afternoon at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., with a visit from Bowling Green in the season opener for both teams.

UCLA will be trying to replace a number of departed players, many of whom went on to the NFL, while Bowling Green returns nine starters on defense, as well as proven quarterback Matt McDonald.

“He’s obviously the guy we’ve got to focus on and stop,” UCLA coach Chip Kelly said of McDonald, a redshirt senior and native of nearby Newport Beach, who is entering his third season as the starter for the Falcons.

The Bruins will send an experienced starting quarterback onto the field on Saturday as well.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson is set to begin his fifth season with the Bruins. He threw 21 touchdown passes last season, the same number he had in 2019, but cut his interceptions from that campaign in half to six.

“I haven’t changed anything going from fall camp to now game week cause the habits are gonna stay the same,” Thompson-Robinson said. “That’s the foundation I’ve laid before. And so now, just adding onto that and being able to stay consistent with it, I think has been the biggest part of this week so far.”

Thompson-Robinson lost his three top receivers from last season, but has developed a solid working relationship with Jake Bobo, a redshirt-senior receiver who led Duke with 74 catches for 794 yards and a touchdown last season.

Bowling Green will be the first team from the Mid-American Conference to play in the Rose Bowl and it also is the first-ever matchup ever between the schools.

McDonald might feel at home, however. And he no doubt will be motivated.

Not only is McDonald a Southern California native, his father, Paul McDonald, was a USC quarterback in the 1970s. Facing UCLA gives the younger McDonald a chance to take on his father’s rival.

“It’s the grandaddy of them all. I’m excited,” Matt McDonald said, according to Bowling Green’s Sentinel-Tribune, repeating the Rose Bowl Game’s tagline. “I’ve always dreamed of playing in that stadium. I took a little different route to get there, but nonetheless I’m excited to be playing in that stadium.”

UCLA’s passing defense gave up 260.3 passing yards per game last season, last in the Pac-12, and will need to be ready, Kelly said.

“It seems like he’s a sharp, really well-coached kid,” Kelly said of McDonald. “He also makes a lot of plays off-script, so when the rush gets home, he can stay alive.”

–Field Level Media