The Sports Report: Season opener does not go well for UCLA

UCLA running back Demetric Felton tries to push for more yards during the Bruins' loss to Cincinnati on Thursday.
(Getty Images)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Does anyone know the name of UCLA’s backup quarterback? Asking for a friend.


Some quarterbacks are great at throwing the ball deep, others are better with quick, short passes. Some quarterbacks can scramble out of the pocket, some are better not moving around so much. But there’s one thing all successful quarterbacks can do: maintain possession. It’s a fundamental requirement. Which brings us to UCLA’s season opener on Thursday.

Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson committed four turnovers (two intercepted passes and two fumbles to end drives deep in Cincinnati territory) as UCLA lost to the Cincinnati Bearcats, 24-14 in Cincinnati.


In their defense, they were playing without running backs Joshua Kelley or Kazmeir Allen, safety Darnay Holmes and receiver Theo Howard.

Thompson-Robinson’s first two turnovers led to Cincinnati touchdowns. After the Bruins reached Cincinnati’s five-yard line on their opening possession, Thompson-Robinson rolled out to his left searching for a receiver in the end zone. But as he neared the sideline, the quarterback had the ball slip out of his hands for a fumble and the Bearcats recovered before scoring five plays later.

On UCLA’s first series of the third quarter, Thompson-Robinson threw into double coverage on third down and his pass was intercepted at the Bruins’ 30-yard line. The Bearcats eventually scored take a 17-7 lead.

With just over four minutes left, Thompson-Robinson fumbled at Cincinnati’s 18-yard line and the Beacats recovered.

“Obviously with four turnovers, all from the quarterback, that’s not good,” said Thompson-Robinson, who described his play as “poor” on a night he completed eight of 26 passes for 156 yards with two touchdowns to go with the two interceptions.


Fresno State quarterback Jorge Reyna threw just 12 passes a season ago and redshirted prior to that, so in order to find game footage of Reyna in action, USC had to go back to three years ago, when he played for West L.A. College in Culver City.


As USC prepares to take on Fresno State in its opener Saturday, Reyna will be a focus of the Trojans’ defense. Even if they don’t quite know what to focus on.

“You look at everything,” senior defensive end Christian Rector said. “But at the same time, we have our game to play. We’re not gonna go out chasing ghosts. They have to get through us.”

Rector, wideout Michael Pittman and linebackers John Houston and Jordan Iosefa were named 2019 captains in a team vote.


No. 1 Clemson 52, Georgia Tech 14
No. 12 Texas A&M 41, Texas State 7
No. 14 Utah vs. BYU, late
No. 17 Central Florida 62, Florida A&M 0

Read all about them by clicking here.


Hyun-Jin Ryu continued his descent out of the Cy Young race as he gave up seven runs in 4.2 innings as the Dodgers were routed by the Arizona Diamondbacks, 11-4.



Kobe Bryant was in the stands at the U.S. Open on Thursday and..... I’ll let Helene Elliott tell you.

Kobe Bryant, a successful entrepreneur and enthusiastic tennis player in his post-Lakers life, has co-authored a young adult fantasy novel called “Legacy and the Queen,” about a 12-year-old girl whose passion for tennis inspires her to discover her inner strength. Coco Gauff, 15, and Naomi Osaka, the defending U.S. Open champion at 21, are living that story on the very real courts of Flushing Meadows.

In an intriguing plot twist, Osaka and Gauff won their respective matches on Thursday and will face each other in the third round on Saturday. Osaka, who had a low profile last year as she advanced to her first Grand Slam event title, marveled at the turn of events that brought celebrities such as Bryant and Colin Kaepernick to sit with her team at Louis Armstrong Stadium to enjoy her decisive 6-2, 6-4 victory over Magda Linette of Poland. “It’s just crazy who you run into in life,” she said.

Gauff fell awkwardly a couple of times and got few gifts from stubborn Timea Babos in her Thursday evening match but Gauff hit some great angle shots and never got rattled. She’s the youngest player to reach the third round here since 15-year-old Anna Kournikova made it to the fourth round in 1996. “This is just the beginning, I promise,” Gauff told the adoring crowd that jammed into the stadium and chanted her name.

Osaka is a big fan of Bryant’s. “Kobe gives me real-life advice. He’s someone I look up to as an athlete and also as a person,” she said. “I’m really grateful that I even have the opportunity to, like, talk to him and stuff.”

She was aware he was in the stadium, though she still has difficulty a celebrity would want to watch her, and she wanted to make the experience as enjoyable for him as possible. “Last year compared to this year there is no way Kobe would sit in my box. Kaepernick too,” she said. “For me, it wasn’t pressure. It was just I really didn’t want them to sit in the sun too long, honestly. That was the thing that was on my mind. I was like I don’t really want to play a third set.”


In the biggest upset of this year’s tournament, Taylor Townsend went to the net early and often and outplayed Simona Halep — the current Wimbledon champion — to earn a 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) victory in a second-round match.

Two other top-10 women’s seeds were eliminated. Andrea Petkovich upset No. 6 Petra Kvitova 6-4, 6-2 and Yulia Putintseva defeated No. 9 Aryna Sabalenka 6-3, 7-6 (3).


Police in Mobile, Ala., have issued an arrest warrant for Lakers center DeMarcus Cousins, who is accused of threatening to shoot his ex-girlfriend, the mother of his young son.

Police said the warrant was generated earlier this week and signed by Cousins’ ex-girlfriend, Cristy West.

Cousins could face a third-degree domestic violence charge of harassing communications.


Quarterback John Wolford passed for two touchdowns to lead the Rams to a 22-10 victory in a preseason game.

The roster will be trimmed over the next two days from 90 to 53 players. The Rams can sign 10 players to the practice squad.

Meanwhile, in their final preseason game, the Chargers defeated the San Francisco 49ers, 27-24.

To read about the other preseason games Thursday, please click here.



Chelsea Gray scored a career-high 30 points and tied a franchise record with seven three-pointers, leading the Sparks to an 87-83 victory over the Indiana Fever.

Gray scored 20 points, including five three-pointers, in the Sparks’ 33-point third quarter that erased a nine-point halftime deficit and gave them a four-point edge heading into the fourth quarter.

The Sparks went up by 11 points early in the fourth quarter. The Fever closed within two with 29.1 seconds remaining before Gray clinched it with an 18-foot jumper with 6.9 seconds left.


What is your favorite all-time L.A. sports moment? Click here to tell me what it is and why and I might run it in a future newsletter. And yes, if your favorite moment is about the Angels or Ducks or a team just outside of L.A., I’ll count that too.

Today’s moment comes from Dennis McGarry:

My favorite moment was the Breeders’ Cup Classic of 1987 at Hollywood Park. It pitted two Kentucky Derby winners against each other: Ferdinand, the 1986 champion trained by Charlie Whittingham with Bill Shoemaker riding, vs. Alysheba, the 1987 champion trained by Jack Van Berg with Chris McCarron up.

There were over 75,000 at the track that day for this epic battle. This is the only time that two Derby winners have faced off against each other in the Classic. They did not disappoint the fans. Everyone was on their feet cheering as they battled each other down the stretch, with Ferdinand prevailing by a rapidly decreasing nose!


I have been attending the races for over 50 years, and this was one of the very best I have seen. What a great day. Shoemaker was in the twilight of a wonderful career, but at the age of 56 he could still ride with the best of them. He timed his move on Ferdinand perfectly, just as he had done the previous year in the Kentucky Derby. Oh, man! What a race!


All times Pacific

Dodgers at Arizona, 6:30 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570

Boston at Angels, 7 p.m., FSW, AM 830


1918: Baseball player Ted Williams (d. 2002)

1921: Boxing trainer Angelo Dundee (d. 2012)

1943: Skier Jean-Claude Killy

1944: Baseball player Tug McGraw (d. 2004)

1952: Tennis player Wojtek Fibak

1953: NBA player Robert Parish

1955: Archer Butch Johnson

1977: NFL player Shaun Johnson

1982: Tennis player Andy Roddick


1952: Baseball player Arky Vaughan, 40

2008: Golfer Tommy Bolt, 92


Ted Williams hits his final home run. Watch it here.


That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email me by clicking here. If you want to subscribe, click here.