Cal Football: First Look at UCLA Bruins

Jeff Faraudo

Here is the early report on what you need to know about UCLA prior to Cal’s visit to Pasadena next Saturday:

KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA

TV: FS1

WEATHER FORECAST: Pasadena will be cool (daytime high of 54 degrees) and partly cloudy with a 10 percent chance of rain. The temperature is expected top drop into the 40s by game time.

UCLA 2019 RECORD: The Bruins are 4-7 overall, 4-4 in the Pac-12

LAST GAME: UCLA is coming off a 52-35 loss at cross-town rival USC on Saturday and has allowed 101 points in its past two games. Dorian Thompson-Robinson passed for 367 yards and three TDs and he ran for 64 more and a touchdown. Kyle Phillips caught 12 passes for 123 yards and Devin Asiasi caught five for 141 yards and a TD. None of it mattered because the Bruins’ defense was helpless, allowing USC 643 yards and 34 first downs. Trojans freshman QB Kedon Slovis set a school record with 515 passing yards to go with four TD passes. Bruins receiver Phillips said, "It is frustrating, but we made a lot of mistakes. We didn't take advantage of their mistakes. We put up a decent amount of points, but left a lot on the table."

THE SERIES: UCLA leads 55-33-1. The Bruins have beaten Cal the past two seasons, winning 37-7 at Berkeley last year and 30-27 in Pasadena in 2017, when current Cal backup quarterback Devon Modster came off the bench for the Bruins to direct the victory. Cal has won just one of the past six meetings and has not won at the Rose Bowl since 2009.

UCLA COACH: Chip Kelly, in his second season, appears nowhere close to turning around the Bruins’ program. Signed to a 5-year, $23.3 million contract before the 2018 season, Kelly is 7-16 over two seasons - a far cry from his 46-7 record in four seasons (2009-12) at Oregon. His 2012 Oregon team was 12-1, propelling Kelly to a three-year gig as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles (2013-15), then one season (2016) with the 49ers. The NFL proved to not be a good fit (28-35) and by 2018 he was back coaching college football. But the Bruins already have clinched a fourth straight losing season (2016 and ’17 under Jim Mora and Jedd Fisch).

UCLA STORYLINES: The Bruins will miss out on a bowl game three times in a span of four years for the first time since 1989 through ’92. Their offense, led by quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (2,423 passing yards, 20 TDs) has scored more than 30 points six times, but was held under 20 in their other five games. The Bruins have been hurt by 21 turnovers, but they have been particular helpless on defense, where they rank 118th nationally (35.4 points). UCLA has allowed 48 points or more five times. The Bruins have regressed in one-sided defeats to Utah and USC after assembling a string of wins over Stanford, Arizona State and Colorado.

UCLA’S BEST PLAYER: Senior running back Joshua Kelley, a transfer three years ago from UC Davis, has rushed for 2,227 yards and 22 touchdowns in two seasons with the Bruins. He had 157 yards and three TDs against Cal last season, when he also broke out with a 289-yard performance against USC. This fall, he is second in the Pac-12 with 984 yards and 11 touchdowns, including a season-high 164 yards and four TDs in the win over Arizona State.

BETTING LINE: UCLA opened as 2.5-point favorite, according to VegasInsider.com.

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