Sep 23, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; UCLA Bruins defensive back Kamari Ramsey (27) tackles Utah Utes running back Jaylon Glover (1) in the second quarter at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

No. 11 Utah’s defense overwhelms No. 22 UCLA

Karene Reid’s interception returned for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage set the tone for No. 11-ranked Utah, as the Utes defense overwhelmed No. 22 UCLA en route to a 14-7 Pac-12 Conference win on Saturday in Salt Lake City.

Utah (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) held UCLA to just 243 total yards, an average of 3.6 per play, and went until late in the fourth quarter without surrendering a point.

The Utes needed this stout defensive effort, struggling offensively in their own right. Utah managed only 219 total yards with 3.4 per play.

Quarterback Nate Johnson — starting with Cameron Rising still recovering from a torn ACL sustained in last January’s Rose Bowl Game — threw for Utah’s lone offensive score. He found Landen King for a seven-yard touchdown in the second quarter that gave the Utes enough cushion to hold off the Bruins.

UCLA (3-1, 0-1) leaned on the freshman quarterback Dante Moore with the run game rendered ineffective. The Bruins rushed for just nine yards officially, a byproduct of Moore being sacked six times.

Jonah Elliss led the charge with 3.5 sacks. Sione Vaki recorded one on the final defensive snap.

The pressure resulted in Moore finishing with -51 yards. Despite gaining positive yardage on a keeper inside the red zone as the third quarter ended, Moore lost a fumble caused by Logan Fano, keeping the Bruins scoreless.

Moore went 15-of-35 passing for 234 yards and denied Utah its first shutout since 2019 with a 17-yard pass to Josiah Norwood with 3:39 left.

UCLA forced a punt and regained possession with an opportunity to tie, but Vaki’s sack closed a four-and-out turnover on downs.

Johnson finished 9-of-17 passing for 117 yards. Jaylon Glover rushed for 86 yards on 25 carries to lead the Utes. Along with his interception, Reid made nine tackles and broke up a pair of passes.

Kain Medrano had 2.5 tackles for loss and two sacks for UCLA.

–Field Level Media

Sep 16, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins wide receiver Kyle Ford (19) is brought down by North Carolina Central Eagles defensive back JaJuan Hudson (7) during the first half at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

No. 24 UCLA uses 5 first-quarter TDs to run by N.C. Central

No. 24 UCLA scored touchdowns on all five of its first-quarter possessions to cruise to a 59-7 rout of North Carolina Central on Saturday in Pasadena, Calif.

Dante Moore threw a 67-yard scoring strike to Kam Brown on the first play from scrimmage, then a Laiatu Latu interception set up Carson Steele for a goal-line touchdown carry.

UCLA (3-0) thus jumped ahead 14-0 in two offensive plays, doing so just 74 seconds into the game.

The Bruins produced another one-play touchdown drive when Collin Schlee broke a 57-yard quarterback keeper to the end zone, a score bookended by drives that culminated in a 30-yard Moore touchdown pass to J. Michael Sturdivant and a second Schlee touchdown on a 1-yard carry.

UCLA set a program record for points in a first quarter with 35. The immediate flurry also allowed the Bruins to go deep into their depth chart.

Five quarterbacks took snaps, with Moore finishing 8-for-12 for 182 yards with the two touchdowns, Schlee rushing for 60 yards on three carries and Ethan Garbers, Chase Griffin and Justyn Martin leading drives.

Five Bruins rushed at least three times. Anthony Adkins — who went for a game-high 96 yards on 10 carries and scored a touchdown on a goal-line carry in the third quarter — was the fourth UCLA ball carrier to reach pay dirt.

Colson Yankoff ran for 61 yards on six opportunities and scored a 25-yard touchdown in the third quarter. T.J. Harden went for 62 of his 66 yards on a second-quarter scoring carry.

The most drama of the day came on a late drive by N.C. Central with UCLA trying to preserve its first shutout since a 41-0 defeat of Oregon State in 2015.

The Eagles (2-1) forced a turnover on downs, then went 56 yards in 14 plays, scratching out their first points on a Chris Mosley touchdown carry from 1 yard out. Walker Harris completed five passes on the drive, part of a 12-for-18 day for 114 yards.

Latrell Collier led the Eagles with 48 yards rushing on 14 carries, and Jayden Flaker made a third-quarter interception in the loss.

–Field Level Media

Sep 9, 2023; San Diego, California, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Dante Moore (3) runs the ball while defended by San Diego State Aztecs defensive lineman Garret Fountain (39) during the first half at Snapdragon Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

QB picture coming into focus as No. 24 UCLA hosts NC Central

No. 24 UCLA will conclude its non-conference slate on Saturday when it welcomes Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference member North Carolina Central to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., for the first meeting between the programs.

UCLA (2-0) dominated San Diego State on the road in Week 2 to move into the Top 25 for the first time this season. Notable in the 35-10 rout was that freshman quarterback Dante Moore led the Bruins until late in the fourth quarter, once the outcome no longer was in doubt.

Moore and Week 1 starter Ethan Garbers shared QB duties in the season-opening, 27-13 win over Coastal Carolina. Moore went 7-of-12 passing for 143 yards with two touchdowns and an interception against the Chanticleers, and he finished 17-for-27 for 290 yards and three touchdowns to three different receivers vs. San Diego State.

Bruins coach Chip Kelly had said ahead of Week 2 that he might play three quarterbacks.

Garbers, who completed 10 of 17 passes for 121 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions against Coastal Carolina, did not play in Week 2. Kent State transfer Collin Schlee came on in the fourth quarter and had a pair of runs totaling 35 yards.

“It was good to get Collin finally in and see what he can do, see his athleticism and things that he did (that) were the reason he brought him here,” Kelly said during his media availability on Monday.

Despite Moore playing much of the way at San Diego State, Kelly was non-committal when asked after the game if the freshman would be UCLA’s full-time quarterback going forward.

Meanwhile, wide receiver Logan Loya, who hauled in a 24-yard touchdown pass from Moore just before halftime in Week 2, said the Bruins’ offense has “seen all this” from Moore.

“And we’ve seen more,” Loya said. “So there’s definitely more for you guys to see. I think it will excite you guys for sure.”

North Carolina Central (2-0) enters Saturday’s game with an entrenched starting quarterback, Davius Richard, whom Kelly called an NFL prospect.

The 6-foot-3, 222-pound Richard has been the Eagles’ quarterback since his freshman season in 2019. Last year, he helped guide NCC past Deion Sanders-coached Jackson State in the Celebration Bowl and the MEAC final.

After passing for 2,661 yards and 25 touchdowns with 788 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground in 2022, Richard has 363 passing yards, 137 rushing yards and three touchdowns in each phase to start 2023.

The Eagles opened this season with a 47-21 rout of Winston Salem-State, then held rival North Carolina A&T to 207 yards of total offense in a 30-16 win last week.

This week’s matchup will be North Carolina Central’s first against an FBS opponent since the Eagles faced Marshall in 2021. NC Central has never defeated an FBS team in 12 all-time matchups.

For UCLA, this will be just the second meeting with an FCS opponent. The first was last season against Alabama State, a 45-7 Bruins victory.

“It’s a great opportunity for our guys to take our brand across the country and go over to the West Coast,” Eagles coach Trei Oliver said of visiting UCLA. “We have a great alumni base over there, and they’re very supportive. And a lot of folks are talking about traveling out there to the game.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 9, 2023; San Diego, California, USA; UCLA Bruins running back Carsen Ryan (20) celebrates with wide receiver Ryan Cragun (10) after scoring a touchdown against the San Diego State Aztecs during the second half at Snapdragon Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA rolls past San Diego State

Dante Moore handled quarterbacking duties for UCLA and delivered a 17-for-27, 290-yard performance with three touchdowns and the Bruins rolled to a 35-10 win over host San Diego State on Saturday.

Coach Chip Kelly said throughout the week UCLA (2-0) would use as many as three quarterbacks after the freshman Moore and veteran Ethan Garbers split reps in Week 1. But Moore made the start and played until the late fourth quarter.

He quickly set the tone with an 81-yard touchdown connection to Josiah Norwood with 7:26 left in the first quarter.

San Diego State (2-1) answered with a nine-play, 75-yard drive culminating in Mekhi Shaw’s 21-yard touchdown reception from Jalen Mayden.

The Aztecs did not reach the end zone again.

With Moore behind center, UCLA scored on first-half drives capped with touchdown carries of 13 yards by Carson Steele and 59 yards by TJ Harden.

Jack Browning connected on a 44-yard field goal for San Diego State with 5:03 remaining in the half, but the Bruins responded with a 24-yard Moore touchdown pass to Logan Loya.

UCLA added to its 28-10 halftime advantage with a 6-yard Carsen Ryan touchdown catch from Moore.

Any hope of a San Diego State rally evaporated in the third quarter after the Aztecs’ Zyrus Fiaseu sacked Moore for a fumble that Trey White recovered at the UCLA 1-yard line. San Diego State rushed twice for no gain, then Darius Muasau intercepted Mayden in the end zone.

Muasau also racked up three tackles for loss to spearhead the stout UCLA defensive effort.

The Bruins snuffed out another Aztecs possession at the UCLA 22-yard line early in the fourth quarter.

UCLA held San Diego State to 63 yards rushing on 33 carries. Mayden, who finished 19 of 37 for 196 yards, was intercepted three times — twice by Alex Johnson.

Laiatu Latu made 2.5 tackles for a loss with a sack.

Loya caught four passes for 77 yards. Harden led UCLA’s 254-yard rushing effort with 91 on nine carries. Steele added 84 yards on 12 carries.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Ethan Garbers (4) drops back to pass the ball during the first quarter against the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA names Ethan Garbers starting QB

UCLA coach Chip Kelly named redshirt junior Ethan Garbers as the starting quarterback for Saturday’s season opener against Coastal Carolina.

Garbers got the nod over 5-star freshman Dante Moore and Kent State transfer Collin Schlee. However, Kelly said both Moore and Schlee will see action.

“All three of them deserve to play,” Kelly said Monday. “They’ve all played outstanding. It’s been a really good battle with those guys. Healthy competition and they all have earned the playing time.”

The Bruins are looking to replace longtime starter Dorian Thompson-Robinson, a fifth-round pick by the Cleveland Browns in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Garbers transferred to UCLA from Washington in January 2021. He saw action in six games last season, including the Sun Bowl loss to Pitt after Thompson-Robinson was injured.

Garbers has 599 yards passing with four TDs and four INTs in 12 games (one start) at QB for UCLA.

Moore flipped his commitment from Oregon to UCLA in December. Moore was ranked No. 3 overall in the Class of 2023 by ESPN.

UCLA’s Pac-12 slate begins Sept. 23 at No. 14 Utah.

–Field Level Media

Jul 29, 2022; Los Angeles, CA, USA; A detailed view of UCLA Bruins helmet during Pac-12 Media Day at Novo Theater. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten reveals future scheduling model with UCLA, USC in fold

The Big Ten on Thursday revealed its new football scheduling model for 2024 and onward, incorporating future members UCLA and Southern California into the mix while protecting many traditional rivalries.

The formula is being called “Flex Protect Plus” and described by Big Ten COO Kerry Kenny to The Athletic as “a 3-6-6, maybe with a twist because those three aren’t staying rigid the entire time.”

Eleven rivalries are being permanently protected, with some teams having more than others. The 11 games are:

–Michigan-Ohio State
–Michigan-Michigan State

Penn State was the only school not to have a rivalry protected.

Regardless of the number of permanent rivalries, every team will now play three opponents in back-to-back seasons. In 2026, after the first two seasons of the format, all non-permanent “two-play” opponents will rotate.

The conference also revealed all conference opponents for the 2024 and 2025 seasons on Thursday. Game dates were not yet scheduled.

In Southern California’s first year in the league, the Trojans will fly east to face Maryland and Penn State as well as play road games at Northwestern and Purdue. UCLA has the farthest road trip with a date at Rutgers, along with visits to Indiana, Iowa and Michigan.

–Field Level Media

Sep 11, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Stanford Cardinal wide receiver Elijah Higgins (6) catches a 3-yard touchdown pass as Southern California Trojans cornerback Joshua Jackson Jr. (23) defends in the second quarter  at United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-USC DB Joshua Jackson charged with rape

Authorities in Los Angeles have charged former Southern California football player Joshua Jackson Jr. with four felonies, including three counts of forcible rape, and are investigating whether he could have taken part in other sexual assaults.

Jackson was arrested Wednesday and is being held on $1.4 million bail.

Jackson has been linked with alleged assaults on two women in Los Angeles and one in San Diego. One of the alleged attacks took place in a USC campus apartment in March, with a second allegedly involving a UCLA student in 2020. No additional information was available about the San Diego case.

“USC takes all reports of sexual assault extremely seriously,” the university said in a statement. “We have been cooperating with law enforcement authorities in this matter and will continue to do so.”

Jackson entered the transfer portal in April and graduated from USC in May, the Los Angeles Times reported.

A local product, Jackson primarily was used at defensive back since joining the Trojans in 2020. He played in three games, all in 2021, and recorded nine tackles and an interception.

–Field Level Media

Nov 19, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Navy Midshipmen head coach Ken Niumatalolo looks on during the second quarter against the UCF Knights at FBC Mortgage Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-Navy HC Ken Niumatalolo joins UCLA in advisory role

Ken Niumatalolo, who served as head coach at Navy for the past 15 seasons, was hired by UCLA as the football program’s “director of leadership” on Friday.

Niumatalolo is Navy’s all-time winningest head coach, with a 109-83 record, and is the winningest head coach in the Army-Navy series with 10 victories. He was the first head coach in the history of the service academies’ rivalry to win eight straight installments.

Navy fired Niumatalolo, 57, after December’s loss in the Army-Navy Game. The Midshipmen went 4-8 in 2022 and 11-23 over the past three seasons.

In his position with UCLA, Niumatalolo will fill an advisory role to both student-athletes and the coaching staff.

He told ESPN in an interview that he was excited to work with UCLA coach Chip Kelly. The Bruins went 9-4 last season and will join the Big Ten in 2024.

“He’s an established coach, he’s not threatened by me or anything, he’s not worried about somebody looking over his shoulder,” Niumatalolo told ESPN. “That’s how Chip looks at it — anything I can add. They’re not far off, whatever I can bring, but it just felt right.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 5, 2022; Tempe, AZ, USA; UCLA Bruins head coach Chip Kelly against the Arizona State Sun Devils in the first half at Sun Devil Stadium.

Ncaa Ucla At Asu

Syndication Arizona Republic

UCLA’s Chip Kelly gets extension through ’27 season

UCLA football coach Chip Kelly signed a two-year contract extension that will keep him with the Bruins through the 2027 season.

Athletic director Martin Jarmond announced the extension Friday but did not disclose the financial terms.

In January 2022, Kelly and UCLA agreed on an extension through the 2025 season. The Los Angeles Times reported that Kelly would earn an average of $4.7 million per season.

UCLA leadership rewarded Kelly for guiding the Bruins to a No. 21 season-ending ranking and a 9-4 (6-3 Pac-12) mark. UCLA was in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll for the first time since 2014.

Kelly was hired at UCLA before the 2018 season, and the Bruins finished a disappointing 3-9 (3-6 Pac-12). After back-to-back winning seasons, Kelly now has a 27-29 record in Westwood. His teams were 46-7 in four seasons at Oregon (2009-12).

“I am excited about our football program under the leadership of Coach Kelly and his talented staff,” Jarmond said in a news release. “The football program is on an upward trajectory, both on the field and in the classroom. Coach Kelly and his staff have done a tremendous job developing young men as demonstrated by their academic excellence.”

The 2022 Bruins averaged 503.6 yards per game in 2022 and became the first team in program history to average more than 500 yards of total offense per game.

Kelly, 59, was 28-35 as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers from 2013-16.

–Field Level Media

Oct 26, 2022; San Francisco, CA, USA; Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff during Pac-12 Media Day at Pac-12 Network Studios. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Pac-12 commissioner to visit SMU amid expansion talk

Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff was expected to visit SMU on Wednesday as conference officials ponder expansion, multiple outlets reported.

The Pac-12 will lose UCLA and Southern California to the Big Ten in 2024.

The Athletic reported that SMU, a member of the American Athletic Conference, has had conversations with at least three conferences since last summer. The list includes the Pac-12.

The Mustangs haven’t been in a power conference since 1996, when the Southwest Conference ceased operations. Former Southwest teams TCU and Houston are moving to the Big 12.

Other schools reportedly being reviewed for membership into the Pac-12 include San Diego State, Boise State and UNLV, per The Athletic.

Adding Dallas-based SMU would give the Pac-12 an entry into football-crazed Texas, and it’s a program on the uptick. The Mustangs have gone 32-16 over the past four seasons.

–Field Level Media