November 25, 2022; Berkeley, California, USA; UCLA Bruins wide receiver Jake Bobo (9) scores a touchdown against California Golden Bears safety Craig Woodson (2) during the first quarter at California Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Dorian Thompson-Robinson, No. 18 UCLA finally finish off Cal

Dorian Thompson-Robinson accounted for three touchdowns and Zach Charbonnet rushed for 119 yards and the game-winning score to lead UCLA to a 35-28 victory over host California on Friday afternoon in Berkeley, Calif.

Charbonnet carried the ball 24 times as UCLA rushed for 352 yards. T.J. Harden rushed for 89 yards and Thompson-Robinson, who threw for 189 yards and a score on 21-of-30 passing, added 88 yards on the ground and two touchdowns.

The Bruins (9-3 overall, 6-3 Pac-12) clinched the win with less than two minutes remaining when Laiatu Latu recovered his second fumble of the game after the ball was punched out of Cal running back Jaydn Ott’s hands.

Cal quarterback Jack Plummer threw for 294 yards and four touchdowns on 24-for-34 passing. Plummer also became the sixth quarterback for Cal to surpass the 3,000 yards passing in a season.

Less than four minutes after Cal (4-8, 2-7) took a 28-27 lead, Charbonnet scored a 5-yard touchdown run and Thompson-Robinson converted a two-point pass play to Jake Bobo as UCLA went 73 yards on 10 plays to take the lead.

The teams traded touchdowns in the first quarter, with UCLA striking first on a 5-yard toss from Thompson-Robinson to Bobo. Plummer capped an 80-yard drive with a 46-yard bomb to J. Michael Sturdivant to tie the score.

Nicholas Barr-Mira punched in a 23-yard field goal for a 10-7 UCLA lead in the second quarter.

Cal seemed to grab the momentum before halftime with a pair of Plummer touchdown passes to Jeremiah Hunter — from 38 and 22 yards out — as the Bears went up 21-10 with 58 seconds remaining.

But Thompson-Robinson led the Bruins on an impressive 75-yard drive on five plays in 40 seconds, rushing 19 yards for the score to make it a 21-17 game at the half.

Thompson-Robinson then helped the Bruins regain the lead at 24-21 with a 14-yard keeper midway through the third quarter.

Latu recovered a fumble after Jack Landherr IV popped the ball out of punt returner Hunter’s hands late in the third quarter in what was Cal’s only other turnover.

The Bruins had to settle for a field goal and a 27-21 lead.

On Cal’s next possession, Hunter gained 49 yards on a reception, setting up an 8-yard screen pass to Ott as Cal temporarily regained a one-point lead.

–Field Level Media

Nov 19, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) throws as Southern California Trojans defensive back Max Williams (4) and defensive lineman Solomon Byrd (51) move in during the second half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

No. 18 UCLA looks to rebound in finale vs. Cal

Coming off a heartbreaking loss that dashed its Pac-12 championship hopes, No. 18 UCLA tries to regroup and finish its season on a high note when it travels to Berkeley, Calif., for a matchup with Cal on Friday.

The Bruins (8-3, 5-3 Pac-12) fell from College Football Playoff contention to out of the hunt for the league title with consecutive losses to Arizona on Nov. 12 and USC on last week.

The latter was a high-scoring, dramatic, back-and-forth contest in which UCLA was driving late with a chance to spoil its crosstown rival’s own playoff hopes, but Dorian Thompson-Robinson had a pass intercepted on the decisive play of the 48-45 contest.

“It hurts, but we want to end this thing on the right foot,” Thompson-Robinson said of switching gears on a short week to prepare for Cal. “We have 20-something seniors on this team, guys I played with here forever. Trying to send those guys out on the right foot, and the underclassmen know that, they understand that.”

Thompson-Robinson passed for four touchdowns and rushed for two in the shootout against USC, continuing to add to the best of his five seasons at UCLA and moving closer to various Bruins records.

Already UCLA’s all-time leader in passing touchdowns with 85, Thompson-Robinson is 474 yards shy of passing Cade McNown as the program’s all-time leader in passing yards. McNown finished with 10,708 yards through the air.

“One of (Thompson-Robinson’s) greatest qualities — and I say it all the time — is his toughness,” UCLA coach Chip Kelly said. “He’s as tough a quarterback as I’ve ever been around, and that’s just the type of kid he is. … He’s going to play the game and give it all he has.”

Cal (4-7, 2-6) had its bowl hopes dashed amid a six-game losing streak, but the Golden Bears can conclude the season with some positive momentum and a winning streak.

They outlasted rival Stanford 27-20 last week thanks to a fourth-quarter rally.

Cal rolled off 21 consecutive points in the final period, which included Jaydn Ott catching a two-point conversion pass after Jackson Sirmon’s 37-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown, then Ott producing the win-sealing touchdown run with less than a minute remaining in the game.

Ott comes in with 842 yards rushing, sixth best among all freshmen in the nation. He became the first true freshman in program history to eclipse 100 yards in his debut, and he holds the conference’s single-game high this season with 274 yards against Arizona.

If he can gain 158 yards on Friday, Ott would become the conference’s first freshman to reach 1,000 since Jermar Jefferson of Oregon State in 2018, and Cal’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Patrick Laird in 2017.

Meanwhile, Golden Bears quarterback Jack Plummer looks to finish strong after underwhelming performances the past two weeks against Oregon State and Stanford. He finished with 147 yards and an interception in the loss to the Beavers, and he threw two interceptions in the red zone against the Cardinal.

“I’ve just got to take those out of the memory bank,” Plummer said. “I knew what was wrong seconds after the play was over. I don’t need to go back and watch the film to say, ‘Hey, I shouldn’t have thrown that.’”

–Field Level Media

Nov 12, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA;  UCLA Bruins head coach Chip Kelly calls a play in the second half against the Arizona Wildcats at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

No. 16 UCLA aims for improved Pac-12 standing vs. No. 7 USC

College Football Playoff stakes may be off the table when rivals Southern California and UCLA meet Saturday in Pasadena, Calif.

The No. 16-ranked Bruins still have Pac-12 Conference championship aspirations when they host the No. 7 Trojans.

UCLA (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12) stumbled out of realistic playoff contention with its 34-28 loss to Arizona last week. The Bruins surrendered 315 passing yards to Wildcats quarterback Jayden de Laura.

The task remains difficult this week when the Bruins face Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams. The Oklahoma transfer immediately thrust himself into the Heisman Trophy conversation at the beginning of the season and has not relented en route to recording 3,010 passing yards with 31 touchdowns, and another 283 yards on the ground and six rushing scores.

Despite Williams’ ability to turn broken plays into positive gains, UCLA coach Chip Kelly said defending the USC quarterback requires a different approach than against de Laura.

“They’re two different people. You don’t compare Caleb to Jayden,” Kelly said at Monday’s media availability. “(USC coach Lincoln Riley) runs a different scheme than (the one Arizona coach Jedd Fisch) runs, so our sole focus now is … (out defense) for what we’re going to do against USC.”

Slowing USC has been a difficult proposition for most opponents this season.

USC (9-1, 7-1) ranks third in the nation at 42.4 points per game. Despite a sluggish start against struggling Colorado last Friday in which their only points in the first quarter came on defense with a sack for a safety, the Trojans got it in gear to cruise to a 55-17 victory.

The 55 points were USC’s most since scoring 66 against Rice in the season opener and marked the Trojans’ fourth consecutive contest scoring at least 41 points.

Despite its offensive proficiency over that stretch, last week’s blowout was the first in USC’s last four games decided by more than a single-possession point margin. The Trojans dropped a 43-42 loss Oct. 15 at Utah for their only loss of the season, kept Arizona at bay in a 45-37 shootout on Oct. 29, and survived a late Cal rally in a 41-35 decision on Nov. 5.

Continuing to successfully navigate a narrow margin for error has USC in contention for both its third Pac-12 Championship Game appearance in six seasons, and the Trojans’ first-ever berth in the Playoff.

USC boasts its best record at this juncture in the season since 2008. Maintaining its current pace depends in part on limiting UCLA’s own prolific offense and quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

“He was impressive from the jump. He really was,” said Riley, who faced Thompson-Robinson in 2018 and 2019 while the head coach at Oklahoma.

“You could tell he had some real ability there at a young age. … A talented player like him and being coached by the guys that are coaching him, it’s no surprise that he has (improved).”

Thompson-Robinson passed for 349 yards with four touchdowns and rushed for another two scores in UCLA’s 62-33 win at USC last season.

A win on Saturday would keep alive the Bruins’ hope of appearing in their first Pac-12 Championship since 2012.

–Field Level Media

Nov 12, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA;  Arizona Wildcats quarterback Jayden de Laura (7) passes the ball in the first half against the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona stops No. 12 UCLA’s last-gasp drive in 34-28 win

Jayden de Laura passed for 315 yards and two touchdowns, and Arizona’s defense made a last-second stop as the Wildcats eliminated any College Football Playoff hopes for No. 12 UCLA with a 34-28 upset in Pasadena, Calif., on Saturday night.

UCLA (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12) began its final drive at its 28 with 1:07 left and no timeouts. The Bruins reached the Arizona 29, but Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw four incomplete passes, including a heave to a diving Jake Bobo at the back of the end zone on the final play.

Arizona (4-6, 2-5) ended a four-game skid and beat a ranked team for the first time since defeating No. 19 Oregon on Oct. 27, 2018.

de Laura completed 22 of 28 passes without an interception. Jacob Cowing caught nine passes for 118 yards.

Arizona had enough offense to offset the return of UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet, who missed last week’s game at Arizona State due to an unspecified injury. He ran for 181 yards and three touchdowns, also catching nine passes for 38 yards. Thompson-Robinson was 26 of 39 for 245 yards and a touchdown.

Arizona led for most of the game and went up 24-21 with 13:20 to go on Tyler Loop’s 35-yard field goal, but UCLA grabbed its first advantage three minutes later when Charbonnet rushed for his third touchdown, a 5-yarder. He rushed six times for 66 yards on the go-ahead drive, including converting a fourth-and-3 with a 6-yard gain.

The Wildcats snatched back the lead with 6:34 left when de Laura hit Tetairoa McMillan for a 17-yard touchdown on fourth-and-4 for a 31-28 advantage.

UCLA then failed to convert fourth-and-6 at its 36 with 5:47 to go. Arizona wasn’t able to put the game away, taking valuable time off the clock but settling for Loop’s 23-yard field goal with 1:07 left.

Arizona led 14-0 late in the first quarter on two Michael Wiley touchdowns — one rushing, one receiving — and was up 21-14 at halftime after de Laura scored on a 3-yard keeper with 2:01 left.

–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

Nov 5, 2022; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils quarterback Daylin McLemore (15) tackles UCLA Bruins wide receiver Jake Bobo (9) during the first half at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

No. 12 UCLA scores 50, enough to put away Arizona State

Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more on Saturday night as No. 12 UCLA stayed alive for a Pac-12 Conference regular season title by outscoring Arizona State 50-36 in Tempe, Ariz.

Thompson-Robinson completed 13 of 20 passes for 169 yards and an interception on the game’s first play. He ran for 120 yards on 10 carries as the Bruins (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12) finished with 402 yards on the ground.

UCLA’s Kazmeir Allen rushed for a game-high 137 yards on just 11 attempts, including a 75-yard scoring run in the third quarter.

UCLA finished with 571 total yards on just 62 plays despite playing without leading rusher Zach Charbonnet. The nation’s 10th-leading rusher with 964 yards entering the game, Charbonnet dressed and went through warmups as usual but never saw the field. The Bruins never disclosed why Charbonnet didn’t play.

Arizona State quarterback Trenton Bourguet completed 38 of 49 passes for 349 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Xazavian Valladay rushed 20 times for 92 yards and two scores, including a 1-yard run with 6:24 left in the game to draw the Sun Devils (3-6, 2-4) within 42-36.

But the Bruins sealed the outcome with a 74-yard touchdown drive, culminating in Colson Yankoff’s 1-yard run up the middle with 2:30 remaining. A 2-point conversion pass allowed UCLA to hit the half-century mark.

Arizona State actually led 10-7 when Bourguet found Messiah Swinson for a 3-yard touchdown pass with 2:41 left in the first quarter. However, the Bruins erupted for 28 unanswered points, beginning with Thompson-Robinson flipping a 3-yard scoring strike to Keegan Jones with 32 seconds remaining in the period.

UCLA upped the lead to 28-10 at halftime when Jones rushed for a 10-yard touchdown, followed by a 9-yard strike from Thompson-Robinson to Michael Ezeike with 33 seconds left before intermission.

Thompson-Robinson made it 35-10 less than five minutes into the third quarter with a 4-yard touchdown run on the Bruins’ first possession of the second half.

–Field Level Media

Oct 8, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA;  UCLA Bruins head coach Chip Kelly on the sideline during the fourth quarter against the Utah Utes at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

High-flying No. 12 UCLA looks to avoid slipup at Arizona State

Sporting the program’s best positioning in the College Football Playoff rankings in eight years, No. 12 UCLA heads to Tempe, Ariz., on Saturday for a Pac-12 Conference matchup against Arizona State.

Still, Bruins coach Chip Kelly knows how quickly a team’s fortunes can change.

“It’s nice that we’re recognized… but you’ve got to keep winning, because if you lose next week — and I know this from a rankings standpoint — you’re not (No. 12) anymore,” Kelly said. “The only way you can continue to move up is if you continue to win.”

The last time UCLA had a higher spot in the CFP ratings was on Nov. 25, 2014, in the first year of the current system. The Bruins have never been slotted higher in the opening rankings of a season, and before this week, they had not made the CFP ratings at all since 2015.

UCLA (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12) is seeking a second consecutive victory after routing Stanford 38-13 last week. The blowout of the Cardinal came one Saturday after a 45-30 loss to Oregon marked the Bruins’ first setback of the season, a result that ended UCLA’s nine-game winning streak dating back to the 2021 campaign.

Stanford did not reach the end zone until well after the game was in hand, scoring with 4:11 remaining. A stout defensive effort (270 total yards allowed) complemented a dominant performance from the UCLA rushing attack, which posted 324 yards and five touchdowns. Zach Charbonnet was responsible for 198 rushing yards and three TDs, earning the Doak Walker Award National Running Back of the Week for his exploits.

The Bruins aim to continue that defensive intensity against an Arizona State offense that has run hot-and-cold through a tumultuous season.

The Sun Devils (3-5, 2-3) have scored 45 and 42 points in two of their last three contests — the team’s two wins under interim head coach Shaun Aguano. The other game in that span was a 15-14 loss at Stanford.

Aguano replaced Herm Edwards, who was fired on Sept. 18 following a 30-21 home loss to Eastern Michigan left the Sun Devils with a 1-2 mark.

Arizona State led by as many as 22 points last week before holding off a fourth-quarter Colorado rally to post a 42-34 road win.

Sun Devils sophomore Trenton Bourguet set a program record for a quarterback making his first career start, racking up 435 yards on 32-of-43 passing. He threw for three touchdowns and was intercepted once.

A consistent passing attack opened up rushing lanes for running back Xazavian Valladay, who produced 118 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries.

“The kids’ excitement of opening it up a little bit, getting the tight ends involved, hopefully it was working,” Aguano said of offensive tweaks, which included his taking over the play-calling.

Integrating tight ends into the passing game included heavy usage of Jalin Conyers, who caught all three of Bourguet’s touchdown passes. Conyers finished with 108 yards receiving on six grabs.

–Field Level Media

Oct 29, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA;  UCLA Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) runs against the Stanford Cardina in the first half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

No. 12 UCLA rebounds to rout Stanford, 38-13

Zach Charbonnet matched his career high with 198 rushing yards and scored three touchdowns to help host No. 12 UCLA roll to a convincing 38-13 victory over Stanford in Pac-12 play on Saturday night in Pasadena, Calif.

It was the fifth straight 100-yard rushing effort for Charbonnet, who also caught five passes for 61 yards for UCLA (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12), which bounced back after losing to Oregon last weekend.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson completed 18 of 29 passes for 199 yards and rushed for 50 yards and one touchdown for the Bruins. Thompson-Robinson moved into third place in UCLA history with 9,512 career passing yards, passing Josh Rosen (9,341 from 2015-17).

Tanner McKee was just 13-of-29 passing for 115 yards, one touchdown and one interception for Stanford (3-5, 1-5), which had a two-game winning streak snapped.

The Cardinal also had a six-game winning streak against UCLA at the Rose Bowl halted. It was the first home win for the Bruins against Stanford since 2008.

UCLA outgained the Cardinal 523 to 270.

After Joshua Karty kicked a 22-yard field goal to cap Stanford’s game-opening possession, the Bruins scored the next 24 points.

Thompson-Robinson scored on a 3-yard run to get UCLA on the board with 6:05 left in the first quarter.

McKee made a big mistake on the Cardinal’s next offensive play as he was intercepted by Darius Muasau, who returned it 5 yards to the Stanford 23-yard line. Charbonnet then took a handoff and sailed through a gigantic hole up the middle for the 23-yard scoring run to make it 14-3.

Nicholas Barr-Mira kicked a 31-yard field goal with 12:57 left in the first half. Eight-plus minutes later, Charbonnet scored from the 1 to make it 24-3 with 4:26 remaining in the half.

Karty booted a 49-yard field goal with 1:23 left in the half to end the UCLA run of points.

Charbonnet scored his third touchdown of the game with three seconds left in the third quarter. He took a handoff on fourth-and-1 and broke three tackles en route to a 37-yard touchdown scamper to complete his night.

The Bruins drove 99 yards on six plays on their first possession of the fourth quarter with Kazmeir Allen doing a solid Charbonnet impression by rushing 72 yards for a touchdown to make it 38-6.

McKee tossed a 2-yard touchdown pass to Benjamin Yurosek with 4:11 remaining in the contest.

–Field Level Media

Sep 17, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA;  UCLA Bruins head coach Chip Kelly on the sidelines during the second half against the South Alabama Jaguars at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

No. 12 UCLA ready to brush off first loss, tackle Stanford

No. 12 UCLA will return home on Saturday, coming off its first loss of the season and looking to keep its Pac-12 Conference title hopes intact against a suddenly resurgent Stanford in Pasadena, Calif.

The Bruins (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) fell to Oregon at Autzen Stadium for the eighth consecutive in a 45-30 loss Saturday. That dropped them behind the Ducks in the conference title race, because the Pac-12 abandoned its prior divisional-representative model to determine conference championship game participants.

As a result, the teams with the top two overall records will advance to the Dec. 2 title game in Las Vegas. Oregon now sits alone in first with the only unblemished league mark; with a single loss, UCLA is tied with Utah, which the Bruins beat on Oct. 8, and Southern California, which the Bruins host on Nov. 19.

“The one thing I told those guys, as I walked up the tunnel at the end of the game, it’s been 357 days since we lost our last game,” UCLA coach Chip Kelly said during his media availability. “Last loss we had before that was Oct. 30, 2021. I think they righted the ship and did a great job to finish out the season with three wins, then starting off this season with six wins. There was only one other team in the country, Clemson, that had more wins than us over that time.

“This is a really good football team,” he added. We didn’t play up to what we should have played on Saturday, then we’ll move on.”

While UCLA’s winning streak dating back to last season ended, Stanford (3-4, 1-4) ended two dubious streaks in its most recent outings.

The Cardinal dropped 11 straight games against FBS opponents dating back to last season before its 16-14 win at Notre Dame on Oct. 15. Ten of those losses came against Pac-12 opponents, a skid Stanford ended last week in its 15-14 win over Arizona State.

Though the Cardinal opened conference play 0-4 this season, they showed flashes of returning to the form typical of coach David Shaw’s teams from 2011 through 2018, when Stanford won at least nine games in seven of eight seasons.

Stanford committed two turnovers inside the 2-yard line in a 41-28 loss to USC in Week 2, and it gave up a befuddling touchdown with 13 seconds remaining to lose to Oregon State on Oct. 8, 28-27.

Shaw said Tuesday that Thompson-Robinson and UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet had “given us fits” in prior meetings.

“Hopefully, we play better than we did last week, and that’s the charge we’ve been on the last weeks … ready to take a significant jump and give ourselves a chance to win on the road at UCLA,” Shaw said.

Since giving up 40-plus points in each of its first three Pac-12 games, the Stanford defense has limited its three most recent opponents to 56 combined points. The passing defense has improved since allowing four first-half touchdowns from USC’s Caleb Williams in Week 2, coming into UCLA holding opponents to fewer than 60 percent completions and 214.4 total yards through the air per game.

Run defense, however, has been an issue. The Cardinal rank tied for 112th nationally at 187.6 yards allowed per game, at 5.2 per carry. Charbonnet went for 118 yards rushing in last season’s 35-24 win at Stanford, while Thompson-Robinson carried for two touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

Oct 8, 2022; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (10) celebrates a touchdown with offensive lineman Ryan Walk (53) against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

No. 9 UCLA, No. 10 Oregon meet in Pac-12 battle of unbeatens

One of the week’s marquee matchups in college football takes place Saturday afternoon in Eugene, Ore., when No. 10 Oregon hosts No. 9 UCLA in a key Pac-12 tilt.

Both the Bruins (6-0, 3-0 Pac-12) and Ducks (5-1, 3-0) are coming off bye weeks, and are the only two remaining unbeaten Pac-12 teams in conference play.

UCLA coach Chip Kelly was the man who guided the Oregon program to its first of two appearances in the national championship game, at the conclusion of the 2010 season. He also led the program to two Rose Bowls and a Fiesta Bowl. Kelly then moved on to coach in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers before taking over at UCLA in 2018.

“It’s always special going back there, it’s a special place in my life and there’s a lot of great people there that had a profound impact on my life,” Kelly said this week. “But I’m not playing the game, so … we’re totally focused.”

Kelly has never beaten the Ducks in three previous meetings against them, though the last two meetings (2020 and 2021) have been three-point losses.

Under Kelly, the Bruins are 24-25. The Ducks are 14-3 against the Bruins since the 2000 season, including a win over the Bruins in the first-ever Pac-10 championship game in 2011.

Oregon has won three straight meetings and nine of the past 10 in the overall series. The Ducks have won seven straight home games against the Bruins, including last season’s 34-31 victory in which Oregon trailed 14-0 after the first quarter.

It’s the first time since 2014 that two Top 10-ranked teams meet at Autzen Stadium, and the sixth time that two teams in the Top 10 will face each other in Eugene. Oregon is 5-0 in the last five of those games.

“It’s going to be an awesome atmosphere, obviously getting the opportunity to play UCLA, who’s a really good team clicking on all cylinders right now,” Oregon first-year head coach Dan Lanning said. “But that environment, I think, from our fans, and for recruits, it’s going to be really special.”

UCLA is led by quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, whose 74.8 percent completion rate leads the conference. He has 15 touchdown passes and just two interceptions. Thompson-Robinson has connected on 77.2 percent of his passes in conference play.

Bruins running back Zach Charbonnet is the Pac-12’s second-leading rusher with 615 yards in five games. He averages 7.1 yards per carry and has six rushing touchdowns.

For the Ducks, Auburn transfer Bo Nix has been everything they hoped he would be since the team’s Week 1 loss to now top-ranked Georgia. Nix has eight rushing touchdowns — five in his past two games — and his 331 rushing yards lead the conference’s quarterbacks.

Nix also has a 70.4 percent completion rate, which trails only his UCLA counterpart in the conference. He has thrown for 12 TDs while getting picked off three times.

The Ducks have three of the top 12 rushers in the Pac-12, running backs Bucky Irving (429 yards) and Noah Whittington (336) and Nix, who ranked sixth, 11th and 12th, respectively.

–Field Level Media