October 21, 2014

Brett Hundley has been forced to throw underneath since teams are taking the deep ball away from the UCLA quarterback.

His counterpart at Colorado, Sefo Liufau, can relate.

Hundley's No. 25 Bruins visit Liufau and the Buffaloes on Saturday in a matchup of teams at the bottom of the Pac-12 South.

Hundley leads the nation in completion percentage at 72.5 and went 31 for 42 for 330 yards with two touchdowns in last Saturday's 36-34 win at California. His yards-per-attempt figure over the last two weeks is 6.91 after it was at 14.00 over his three previous games.

''Teams are going to make us take the 5- or 6-yard throws to go down the field, and that's what we have seen a lot,'' Hundley said.

Liufau has a conference-worst yards-per-attempt mark of 6.28. That number was at 4.09 in last Saturday's 56-28 loss at then-No. 22 Southern California, as he threw for a career-low 143 yards with two scores and two interceptions.

Colorado's Nelson Spruce is the Pac-12's leading receiver with 801 yards but has just 104 over the last two games. The Buffaloes have dropped three straight.

"I think a lot of teams right now are making us throw the ball underneath, making sure we don't have anything deep," Liufau said. "And that doesn't just I guess go for Spruce, that goes for every receiver that we have. We just have to take what they give us, though."

UCLA (5-2, 2-2) is 3-0 all-time in Pac-12 games against Colorado (2-5, 0-4), with Hundley throwing for 554 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in wins by an average of 25.0 points the last two seasons.

Hundley remains the focus for the Buffaloes, who have allowed two quarterbacks to throw for seven touchdowns in a game - including the Trojans' Cody Kessler last weekend.

"He's just very, very explosive," said Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre about Hundley. "The other thing is he's just very, very accurate in the passing game. Even when you make him move his feet, he still is pretty accurate. So he makes it all go, there's no doubt about it."

Liufau leads the conference with nine interceptions and called last week's defeat one of his worst experiences in football.

He was treated rudely in last season's 45-23 defeat to the Bruins in which he went 25 of 36 for 247 yards with one score. UCLA had 11 penalties for 122 yards and was called twice for late roughing-the-passer infractions.

"None of it carries over," Liufau said. "It was done as soon as the game was over. The hits, they come with the game, you just gotta take them. Maybe it will be chippy again, I have no idea."

UCLA has a conference-low 10 sacks and coach Jim Mora Jr. is wary of Liufau, whose 21 TD passes rank third in the Pac-12.

"They're doing the same thing, they're just doing it better," Mora said. "You get a guy that's in the system for an extended amount of time and is talented like he is and smart and a hard worker, they get better. There's a chemistry that develops."

Hundley has the better running game at his disposal, with the Bruins averaging 200.6 yards to 158.6 for Colorado. UCLA's Paul Perkins is second in the Pac-12 with 816 rushing yards to the 909 by the Trojans' Javorius Allen, who gained 128 on 15 carries last weekend against the Buffaloes.

Colorado has dropped 16 straight to ranked teams since a 34-30 win over then-No. 17 Kansas on Oct. 17, 2009. The Buffaloes have lost 27 of 31 conference games since joining the Pac-12.

"There's definitely no doubt we want to get one as quick as we can, there's no doubt about that," MacIntyre said.

You May Like