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UCLA

UCLA putting more heat on opposing quarterbacks

Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Cyler Miles, Takkarist McKinley
UCLA’s Owamagbe Odighizuwa, left, and Takkarist McKinley, right, pressure Washington quarterback Cyler Miles during the Bruins’ win Nov. 8.
(Otto Greule Jr. / Getty Images)

UCLA’s pass rush, all-but nonexistent early in the season, has made steady improvements the past month.

That was clear in the Bruins’ 44-30 victory over Washington Saturday. They had only three sacks, but spent a good deal of time harassing Huskies’ quarterback Cyler Miles.

“I felt it the last four weeks,” Coach Jim Mora said.

The development of Takkarist McKinley has been a big part of the increased pressure. It gave the Bruins options.

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McKinley transferred from Contra Costa College in September and was immediately eligible after a clerical error was discovered in his high school transcripts. He has been effective coming from the outside, allowing defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa to attack from the inside.

“Owa is playing a little more violent, and I don’t mean that in a negative way,” Mora said. “He’s just cutting it loose more.”

He has become a guy who opposing teams need to locate, defensive line coach Angus McClure said.

“He’s athletic enough to move him anywhere,” McClure said. “It makes a difference when people scout us. Multiple guys have to scout Owa and what his moves are.”

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Odighizuwa had one sack against Washington. Linebacker Deon Hollins had two, giving him a team-high five of the season. UCLA has 16 sacks as a team.

The best part of the defensive front, according to McClure, is the youth.

“Owa is a senior and Elli McCarthy is a junior,” McClure said. “The rest are freshmen, sophomores and redshirt sophomores.


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