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The Sports Report: UCLA tries to cash in, gets reality check instead

UCLA Utah Football
It was a tough night for Dorian Thompson-Robinson
(Associated Press)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Talk of that UCLA football resurgence may have been premature.

UCLA FOOTBALL

Remember when UCLA won three games in a row, and fans thought maybe the program had turned a corner? Remember when Bruins fans were excited that the team could reach the Rose Bowl game? Remember when Bruins fans thought, while it would be tough to beat Utah, it was certainly possible, and seemed almost likely after the offense began clicking the last three weeks? Remember all of that? Keep that memory, because here is what happened Saturday:

Utah 49, UCLA 3.

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That’s not a misprint. Let me run that again for you: Utah 49, UCLA 3. To paraphrase Harry Doyle in “Major League,” “That’s all we got, three lousy points?”

UCLA (4-6 overall, 4-3 Pac-12) had won three consecutive games against average-to-good teams but did not stack up against one of the nation’s best. Now the Bruins’ margin for error in reaching a bowl is zero with games remaining against USC and California.

Their upset bid was effectively over by halftime after quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson committed two of his four turnovers and the UCLA defense reverted to its bad early season habits, surrendering 269 yards and allowing the Utes to go 85 yards for a touchdown in just 46 seconds on their final drive of the half.

Then, on the third play of the third quarter, UCLA safety Stephan Blaylock missed a tackle after Utah tight end Brant Kuithe found an opening in the defense for an easy catch and scurried for a 69-yard touchdown. The Utes led 35-3 and it felt even more lopsided given their defense left no hope for another 32-point comeback a la UCLA’s miracle earlier this season against Washington State.

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The Bruins managed a season low for points after entering the game leading the Pac-12 in multiple offensive categories in conference play, averaging 37 points per game.

UCLA was outgained in yardage, 536-269, and couldn’t reliably move the ball on the ground against Utah’s best-in-the-nation run defense. They generated 50 rushing yards, ending their streak of having topped 200 yards in that department at five games. Tailback Joshua Kelley managed 78 rushing yards, averaging 4.1 yards per carry.

Read more

Helene Elliott: UCLA’s masquerade as a winner ends after Utah exposes its true nature

UCLA’s game plan against Utah ravaged by a plague of turnovers

UCLA FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

All times Pacific. Radio: AM 1150

at Cincinnati 24, UCLA 14

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San Diego State 23, at UCLA 14

Oklahoma 48, at UCLA 14

UCLA 67, at Washington State 63

at Arizona 20, UCLA 17

Oregon State 48, at UCLA 31

UCLA 34, at Stanford 16

at UCLA 42, Arizona State 32

at UCLA 31, Colorado 14

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at Utah 49, UCLA 3

Nov. 23 at USC, TBD

Nov. 30 vs. California, TBD

USC FOOTBALL

One after another, the deep passes fell from the pitch-black sky over Memorial Stadium, originating from the cannon right arm of Kedon Slovis.

The freshman quarterback sent pass after pass soaring into a stalwart Cal secondary, letting them fly for 33 yards, for 50, for 45 -- each perfectly placed into the outstretched arms of Michael Pittman Jr. or Amon-ra St. Brown or Drake London, each doing more damage than the last.

When Slovis had finally stopped firing, one of the Pac-12’s best defenses had long since waved the white flag, leaving USC with the spoils of a 41-17 victory, their third straight on the road.

In perhaps his best game of an already stellar freshman season, Slovis finished 29-of-35 with 406 yards and four touchdowns.

The young quarterback had long since blown away any reasonable expectations for a freshman season that began with him as a backup. Almost three months earlier, he was an unheralded three-star recruit behind JT Daniels, with no likely path to playing time. Now, as the end of an uneven USC season nears, Slovis had begun to unleash on opposing secondaries unlike any Trojan quarterback in recent memory.

USC FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

All times Pacific. Radio: 790 KABC

USC 31, Fresno State 23

USC 45, Stanford 20

at BYU 30, USC 27 (OT)

at USC 30, Utah 23

at Washington 28, USC 14

at Notre Dame 30, USC 27

at USC 41, Arizona 14

USC 35, at Colorado 31

Oregon 56, at USC 24

USC 31, at Arizona State 26

USC 41, at California 17

Nov. 23 vs. UCLA, TBD

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

College football columnist J. Brady McCollough on Tua Tagovailoa’s injury:

One of the criticisms of California’s “Fair Pay for Play Act” and similar bills being floated in state legislatures across the country is that only a select handful of players would have the power in the marketplace to earn significant compensation from the use of their name, image and likeness.

And so?

Tua Tagovailoa is one of those special young men. No matter what the specific wording of state laws, federal law or the eventual NCAA attempt at a rule change on NIL, we can all agree that Tagovailoa, the best quarterback in University of Alabama history, would already be worth millions of dollars if he were allowed to cash in on his fame, talent and handsome face.

For anyone who loves college football yet wants to enjoy it without near-constant ethical dilemma, Tagovailoa suffering a dislocated hip injury that will end his season and possibly affect his NFL draft stock and long-term ability to play at a high level is a punch to the gut.

“Tank for Tua” has been the theme of the Miami Dolphins’ season. For anywhere from $20-30, you can purchase a variety of T-shirts featuring that catch phrase. Will Tagovailoa receive a dime of that money? You know the answer.

When will this end? It’s criminal.

Read the rest of his column by clicking here.

As soon as Tagovailoa went down in pain late in the second quarter of No. 5 Alabama’s 38-7 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday, people lashed out at Alabama coach Nick Saban for having started Tagovailoa to begin with.

SATURDAY’S TOP 25 SCOREBOARD

No. 1 LSU 58, Ole Miss 37

No. 2 Ohio State 56, Rutgers 21

No. 3 Clemson 52, Wake Forest 3

No. 4 Georgia 21, No. 12 Auburn 14

No. 5 Alabama 38, Mississippi State 7

No. 6 Oregon 34, Arizona 6

No. 7 Utah 49, UCLA 3

No. 20 Iowa 23, No. 8 Minnesota 19

No. 9 Penn State 34, Indiana 27

No. 10 Oklahoma 34, No. 13 Baylor 31

No. 11 Florida 23, Missouri 6

No. 14 Wisconsin 37, Nebraska 21

No. 15 Michigan 44, Michigan State 10

No. 16 Notre Dame 52, Navy 20

No. 17 Cincinnati 20, South Florida 17

No. 18 Memphis 45, Houston 27

Iowa State 23, No. 19 Texas 21

No. 21 Boise State 42, New Mexico 9

No. 22 Oklahoma State 31, Kansas 13

West Virginia 24, No. 24 Kansas State 20

No. 25 Appalachian State 56, Georgia State 27

SATURDAY’S PAC-12 SCOREBOARD

at No. 7 Utah 49, UCLA 3

USC 41, at California 17

at No. 6 Oregon 34, Arizona 6

at Washington State 49, Stanford 22

at Oregon State 35, Arizona State 34

PAC-12 STANDINGS

North

Oregon, 7-0 in Pac-12, 9-1 overall

Oregon State, 4-3, 5-5

Washington, 3-4, 6-4

Stanford, 3-5, 4-6

California, 2-5, 5-5

Washington State, 2-5, 5-5

South

Utah, 6-1, 9-1

USC, 6-2, 7-4

UCLA, 4-3, 4-6

Arizona State, 2-5, 5-5

Arizona, 2-5, 4-6

Colorado, 2-5, 4-6

CLIPPERS

With Kawhi Leonard absent for his fourth game of the season, Paul George provided a commanding performance in his first home game as a Clipper by scoring 37 points in 20 minutes in his team’s 150-101 victory over Atlanta at Staples Center.

The victory ended a two-game losing streak and also provided further evidence that George, who hadn’t played in 207 days until he scored 33 points in 24 minutes during his season debut Thursday, is already far along in his progression back to the court after offseason surgery on both shoulders. George called that performance “terrible,” in part because it occurred during a loss in New Orleans.

He didn’t grade Saturday’s effort so critically.

“It means everything,” George said afterward, on the television broadcast. “I could get used to this.”

When he went to the bench with 8:07 remaining in the third quarter, George had already scored 34 points in his first 18 minutes. Had he not returned for the fourth quarter, it would not have been shocking. The Clippers (7-5) were already leading by double digits and there was no need for an encore. Fans had already chanted “6-6-1!” during his free-throw attempts – the number for the area code of Palmdale, where George grew up.

But then, during the break between the third and fourth quarters, George wiped his shiny, silver sneakers on a traction pad at the scorer’s table and returned to the court.

Within 18 seconds, George caught a pass from JaMychal Green and drilled a three-pointer from 28 feet, and as he jogged backward on defense, he shrugged while rapper Quavo cheered from a courtside seat. Four possessions later, he provided an emphatic coda on his first home game as a Clipper when he sprinted ahead of Atlanta’s defense in transition and bounced a pass off the backboard that was caught and dunked by teammate Montrezl Harrell.

When George finally checked out for good shortly thereafter, Hall of Famer Jerry West, a Clippers adviser, was among the fans who rose to applaud.

Lou Williams added 25 points off the bench and Jerome Robinson scored a career-high 21 points.

USC BASKETBALL

Nick Rakocevic scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and USC beat Nevada 76-66.

Daniel Utomi added 12 points and Elijah Weaver scored 11 for USC.

After Nevada took a 21-18 lead with 8:33 left in the first half, USC went on a 13-0 run over the next five minutes and never trailed.

USC’s size advantage proved too much for the Wolf Pack and its senior-laden backcourt. The Trojans (4-0) outrebounded Nevada 42-37 and outscored the Wolf Pack 42-10 in the paint.

Rakocevic, a 6-foot-11 senior, made 10 of 15 from the field. Onyeka Okongwu grabbed 11 rebounds and Ethan Anderson had eight assists.

KINGS

From his back, the man of the night pumped his fists and wildly nodded his head. First, he screamed. Then, he cracked a smile.

This wasn’t the calm, quiet Jeff Carter the hockey world has come to know over the last 15 years. But after scoring the game-winning goal in his 1,000th NHL game, even the Kings’ usually stoic scorer recognized the moment. The story line was too perfect for him to not break character, too poetic for anything other than a candid celebration.

“I just felt like that was going to happen,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty told Fox Sports West. “Jeff’s a goal-scorer and has scored big goals like that his whole career. I don’t think anyone is too shocked in here.”

So much of Saturday’s game, a 4-3 Kings win over the Vegas Golden Knights that was decided by Carter’s tie-breaking tip-in with 7:18 remaining, was befitting of the forward’s landmark career.

When Carter was recognized on the video board in the opening minutes, cameras caught him challenging an official. Later in the game, the public address announcer revealed Carter’s 1,000th game jersey would be auctioned off for the Kings Care charity. Earlier in the week, his wife, Megan, asked the franchise not to give her family any gifts, but make a donation to the club’s foundation instead.

And, after his brief burst of excitement, Carter tried to downplay his emotions postgame.

“Nothing special about it,” he claimed of the goal, reverting back to his normal non-attention-seeking self. “Won a faceoff, shoot a puck, go to the net.”

DUCKS

Derek Grant completed his first career hat trick, Ryan Getzlaf added a goal and an assist, and the Ducks beat the St. Louis Blues 4-1.

It was just the second multigoal game of Grant’s 229-game career and first since Oct. 20, 2017.

John Gibson made 37 saves as the Ducks snapped a five-game losing streak.

RAMS

Not so long ago — circa 2018 — Sean McVay was the toast of the NFL, a coaching wunderkind and whiz kid play-caller on his way to leading his team to the Super Bowl.

A year later, Sean McVay is trying to keep the teetering Rams from falling out of playoff contention.

That could happen if they lose to the Chicago Bears today at the Coliseum.

It’s a far different scenario than last season, when the Rams won their first eight games en route to a second consecutive NFC West title.

They enter Sunday’s game with a 5-4 record and a distant view of the first-place San Francisco 49ers and surging Seattle Seahawks in the division.

“I would be lying to say that this hasn’t been more challenging,” McVay said. “But that’s also why there’s a motivation to make sure to do right and to use this as an opportunity to try to respond in the way that you challenge your players and everybody else to.

“You want to make sure that you’re epitomizing those things as well.”

RAMS SCHEDULE

All times Pacific. Radio: 710 ESPN, 93.1 JACK FM

Rams 30, at Carolina 27

at Rams 27, New Orleans 9

Rams 20, at Cleveland 13

Tampa Bay 55, at Rams 40

at Seattle 30, Rams 29

San Francisco 20, at Rams 7

Rams 37, at Atlanta 10

Rams 24, Cincinnati 10 (at London)

at Pittsburgh 17, Rams 12

Today vs. Chicago, 5:15 p.m., NBC

Nov. 25 vs. Baltimore, 5:15 p.m., ESPN

Dec. 1 at Arizona, 1 p.m., Fox

Dec. 8 vs. Seattle, 5:15 p.m., NBC

Dec. 15 at Dallas, 1:15 p.m., Fox

Dec. 22 or 23 at San Francisco, TBD

Dec. 29 vs. Arizona, 1:15 p.m., Fox

CHARGERS SCHEDULE

All times Pacific. Radio: KFI-AM 640, KFWB-AM 980

at Chargers 30, Indianapolis 24 (OT)

at Detroit 13, Chargers 10

Houston 27, at Chargers 20

Chargers 30, at Miami 10

Denver 20, at Chargers 13

Pittsburgh 24, at Chargers 17

at Tennessee 23, Chargers 20

Chargers 17, at Chicago 16

at Chargers 26, Green Bay 11

at Oakland 26, Chargers 24

Nov. 18 vs. Kansas City, 5:15 p.m., ESPN (at Mexico City, counts as home game for Chargers)

Dec. 1 at Denver, 1:15 p.m., CBS

Dec. 8 at Jacksonville, 1 p.m., Fox

Dec. 15 vs. Minnesota, 5:15 p.m., NBC

Dec. 22 or 23 vs. Oakland, TBD

Dec. 29 at Kansas City, 10 a.m., CBS

TODAY’S LOCAL MAJOR SPORTS SCHEDULE

All times Pacific

Chicago at Rams, 5:15 p.m., NBC, 710 ESPN

Atlanta at Lakers, 6:30 p.m., Spectrum Sportsnet

BORN ON THIS DATE

1930: Decathlete Bob Mathias (d. 2006)

1944: Baseball player Tom Seaver

1945: Basketball player Elvin Hayes

1983: Baseball player Ryan Braun

1983: Baseball player Nick Markakis

DIED ON THIS DATE

1982: Boxer Duk Koo Kim, 23

1998: Football coach Ween Ewbank, 91

2006: Football coach Bo Schembechler, 76

AND FINALLY

Tom Seaver‘s 1978 no-hitter. 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 at houston.mitchell@latimes.com. If you want to subscribe, click here.


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