UCLA-Washington St. Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 06, 2012
Brett Hundley knows what's going on in the Pac-12 South standings. His fellow UCLA students have told him all about it in the past two days since the Bruins climbed over Southern California to get on top. But the freshman quarterback has been around Los Angeles long enough to know the crosstown rivalry shouldn't consume him. Even after No. 17 UCLA vaulted past the Trojans in the AP Top 25, the BCS rankings and the division standings, he's only thinking about what's in front of him - a trip to ice-cold Washington State this Saturday. "Yeah, there has been a lot of people just talking about the SC game,'' Hundley said. "But I try to remind everybody, they have an opponent who's not us this week. They play, I think, (Arizona State) this week, and we have Washington State this week. That shouldn't even be coming into our heads, and it hasn't. We're preparing for Washington State, and we'll play SC next week, and then we'll focus on SC.'' Hundley and his Bruins (7-2, 4-2 Pac-12) are basking in good feelings in Westwood after they routed Arizona 66-10 last weekend for their third straight win, racking up their best record through nine games since 2005. UCLA has risen quickly in Jim Mora's first season, earning bowl eligibility in October and surging ahead of 4-3 USC at the latest point in a season for at least a decade. But the coach says there's no danger of the Bruins overlooking struggling Washington State (2-7, 0-6). After three months of steady progress, Mora is confident his players won't get caught leaping ahead to the city rivalry game that might decide the division title, their season-ending matchup with Stanford - or even their pending postseason plans. "Well, they haven't been distracted up to this point,'' Mora said. "They've done a tremendous job of focusing on the here-and-now, the goal that's directly in front of them - and the goal that's directly in front of us now is the Washington State Cougars. That's what we think about.'' The Cougars were reeling even before their skid was extended to six with a 49-6 loss at Utah on Saturday - coach Mike Leach described the effort of his players as "bordering on cowardice" - and things only got worse two days later. Washington State suspended star receiver Marquess Wilson on Monday for at least a week for an unspecified violation of team rules. Wilson has caught 52 passes for 813 yards and five touchdowns this season. It's unlikely Washington State will try to stick to the ground game with its biggest deep threat out. Leach's team is last in the nation in rushing yards, totaling 264 in nine games - a 1.5-yard average - and finishing with negative yardage on the ground in its past two losses. While the Cougars are coming off their most lopsided loss in more than two years, UCLA enters off its highest-scoring performance in 15. The 56-point blowout of a ranked opponent was among the sweetest moments in the Bruins' mediocre recent history, all the way down to the navy-blue uniforms they debuted to widespread acclaim among the players and fans. Those special uniforms aren't the only new identity being developed by the Bruins this season. Mora and offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone have built a balanced, tough team that plays up-tempo, versatile football - and it's been enough to get the Bruins into first place. "I was pleased with it,'' Mora said of the blowout. "I wouldn't say that I was surprised by it, though. These guys, ever since we got here, have worked extremely hard. When you start to experience some success, I think you get anxious to get out there and do it again, and I felt that through the week. The effort was good, but the effort is expected to be good. That's what we're trying to establish as our standard.'' The Bruins have seven regular-season victories for the first time since 2006, and they're in control of their fate for a second straight appearance in the Pac-12 title game. A return would be much better than last season's trip, since UCLA only got that opportunity to get blown out by Oregon because of postseason ineligibility for USC, which beat the Bruins 50-0 and finished two games ahead in the standings. But first, UCLA must survive probable temperatures in the 20s on the Palouse. Mora is no stranger to frigid Washington winters, but he sees no reason why it will affect his sizzling team or its sunny future. "That stuff doesn't matter to us,'' Mora said. "Once you let temperature, environment and the psyche of another team bother you, you've got issues. We don't address it. It doesn't matter to us. It's not in our orbit. We don't care. We're worried about the UCLA Bruins.''
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jerry Jones sets deadline for decision on Tony Romo’s future with Cowboys

Jason Kidd believes Isaiah Thomas is in NBA MVP race

Kyrie Irving takes blame for Cavs’ recent skid: ‘I need to demand more out of myself’

Ichiro Suzuki wants to play until age 50

Minute Maid Park doesn’t look the same without Tal’s Hill

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Six NFL teams have not renewed their daily fantasy deals

A Chicago Bulls and Jimmer Fredette reunion makes sense

Cardinals may look at a veteran to ultimately replace Carson Palmer

Ottawa Senators visit sick teen during road trip to Minnesota

Adrian Peterson works out with Jameis Winston, gets Dirk Koetter’s attention

Report: Martavis Bryant reinstatement ‘imminent’

The 'So, is this the last ride for the Dead Man?' quiz

Athletes in other sports (or famous professions) who played in the NCAA Tournament

2016 MLB playoff teams that won't make it back this season

Box Score 3/29: Free hats (Caps fans only)

The 'Are you mentally prepared for 'One Shining Moment'?' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Serge Ibaka can't connect

Can the Padres' Christian Bethancourt really succeed at pitcher and catcher?

The Raiders will forever belong to Oakland

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Best, worst and hard to stomach MLB offseason moves

Box Score 3/28: Wilt's last game

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Athletes in other sports (or famous professions) who played in the NCAA Tournament

The 'So, is this the last ride for the Dead Man?' quiz

2016 MLB playoff teams that won't make it back this season

The 'Are you mentally prepared for 'One Shining Moment'?' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Serge Ibaka can't connect

Can the Padres' Christian Bethancourt really succeed at pitcher and catcher?

The Raiders will forever belong to Oakland

Best, worst and hard to stomach MLB offseason moves

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker