Is Los Angeles the most penalized city in the United States?
In college football it is.
UCLA is the third-most penalized team (in penalty yards) among the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision schools. USC is sixth. The Bruins are dinged at the rate of 86.5 yards per game and the Trojans at 80.0.
The problem has been costly to UCLA, which had 99 yards in penalties during a 43-17 loss to California on Saturday.
Bruins Coach Jim Mora said the penalties “affected us more Saturday.” But he added, “I think there’s a distinction between discipline and penalties.”
He went on to say, “penalties, some of them the other day, can certainly be seen as a lack of focus.” But, he said, “some of the penalties are a function of a good player that got one on you so you react and grab and hold.”
There is no distinction, though, in consequences.
A holding call wiped out a 20-yard pass completion to running back Johnathan Franklin with UCLA trailing California, 29-17, with eight minutes left. Instead of a first-and-goal on the eight-yard line with a chance to cut the deficit to five, the Bruins were backed up to the 38.
Two plays later, quarterback Brett Hundley had a pass intercepted, dousing any comeback thoughts.
“There are focus penalties and decision-making penalties that we always have to address.”
Penalties and losing don’t always go hand in hand.
Oregon State has the second-most penalty yards in the country, averaging 89.75 per game. The Beavers are 4-0.