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UCLA escapes Texas, 20-17

Jerry's world, indeed.

It was easy to assume that UCLA would have little chance against Texas when the Bruins lost starting quarterback, Brett Hundley to an elbow injury in the first quarter. But at AT&T Stadium, the house that Jerry Jones built, the Bruins got a huge performance from their Jerry -- backup quarterback Jerry Neuheisel.

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Neuheisel passed for two second-half touchdowns and UCLA improved to 3-0 with a 20-17 win Saturday night. Afterward, he was carted away on the shoulders of his teammates, to a Jer-ry! Jer-ry! chant.

The 12th-ranked Bruins struggled to separate from a Texas team that had been rocked by injuries and lost to Brigham Young at home by 34 points last week, but they escaped.

For most of the game, Neuheisel was a game manager. He didn't get many opportunities to throw the ball more than a couple of yards down the field, and UCLA's offense couldn't get going.

Late in the fourth quarter, though, after the Bruins got a big punt return from Ishmael Adams, Neuheisel got his moment. He pump-faked, then lofted the ball down the sideline and right into the hands of Jordan Payton, who walked into the end zone for a 33-yard touchdown.

After the game, Neuheisel said that he didn't expect this moment to come as a backup, but that it was a dream come true.

The backup was also helped by UCLA's ground game in its best performance of the season. The Bruins piled up 217 yards and averaged  4.6 yards per carry.

Redshirt sophomore running back Paul Perkins continued to build on the strong start to his season, earning 126 yards against a defense that knew the Bruins weren't going to be attempting many deep passes. It was the first time in his career that Perkins totaled over 100 yards.

Texas quarterback Tyrone Swoopes had a good game, completing 24 of 34 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns. UCLA bottled the dual-threat quarterback up on the ground for the most part, though, as he had just 11 yards in eight carries.

Texas fell to 1-2 in Coach Charlie Strong's first season.

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That should do it. UCLA gets a big sack on third down, and Texas can't convert on fourth. Texas has only one timeout left, and UCLA should be able to run out the clock to win this game.

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UCLA 21, Texas 17 (3:00 left in the fourth quarter)

I see you, Jerry Neuheisel. On the first play of the drive, the backup quarterback lofted a 33-yard pass down the sideline, right into the hands of Jordan Payton, giving the Bruins the lead.

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What a return from Ishmael Adams. He takes a 58-yard punt and returns it 45 yards, getting some big blocks and putting UCLA in business.

UCLA needed that big stop. The Bruins will get the ball back with a little over three minutes left in the game, down four points and needing a touchdown.

Instead of milking the clock with four minutes left in the fourth quarter and the lead, Texas continued its hurry-up offense and burned less than a minute off the clock.

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What a swing of events. The first turnover of the game comes with four minutes left in the fourth quarter, as running back Jordon James was stripped of the ball on a carry. Texas now has an excellent opportunity to increase its lead.

The Bruins' drive started out well, as Texas' kickoff went out of bounds, giving the Bruins great field position. On their first play of the drive, Jerry Neuheisel hit running back Paul Perkins for a quick pass that Perkins converted into a 30-yard gain.

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Texas 17, UCLA 13 (5:13 left in the fourth quarter)

And, we've got ourselves a ball game. Texas ripped off big play after big play, including a 31-yad run by running back Johnathan Gray. The Bruins look tired on defense, and couldn't play catch-up the whole drive.

Texas capped the drive with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Tyrone Swoops. Can UCLA get another touchdown with its backup quarterback, Jerry Neuheisel, leading the charge?

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Also of note is that redshirt senior offensive tackle Malcolm Bunche left the game with what appeared to be a leg injury. Redshirt freshman Conor McDermott took his place on the failed third-down conversion of the prevous drive.

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UCLA 13, Texas 10 (9:13 left in the fourth quarter)

Paul Perkins is keeping UCLA in this game. Texas is blitzing like crazy, but the redshirt sophomore running back continues to battle for yards. He finished this drive at 121 yards for the game, his first career game with more than 100 yards on the ground.

Perkins was stuffed on third down, but UCLA went for it on fourth down. The Bruins brought starting defensive tackles Kenny Young and Eddie Vanderdoes into the game, and put bruising running back/linebacker Myles Jack into the game. The play was supposed to go inside, but Jack bounced outside and piicked up nine yards and the first down.

On its next third-down conversion, UCLA was helped out by a pass interference penalty, but couldn't find the end zone. The Bruins settled for the 25-yard field goal, and the lead.

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Texas picked up a first down on the first play of this drive, but fizzled before crossing the 30-yard line. After UCLA scored its only touchdown of the game on its first drive of the second half, it's been a lot of punts back and forth from these two teams.

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UCLA continues to work the ground game, mixed with short passes to the flat that might as well be runs. It doesn't seem like Texas has caught on, though. What the Bruins are doing on offensive isn't complicated, but it worked on this drive. As the third quarter winds down, it's five yards here, four yards there, until freshman wide receiver Mossi Johnson got an entirely unnecessary personal foul call for a late block. That put the Bruins in a first-and-26 position, and the dink-and-dunk offense couldn't make up the deficit. The penalty not only took UCLA out of rhythm, but also out of fiel goal range. 

Texas continues its mental errors, though, and fair-caught the punt at the four-yard line with a little over two minutes left in the third quarter.

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That looked familair. Another three-and-out after pressure from the defense on third down. UCLA defensive back Ishmael Adams tried to return the 59-yard punt, but got swallowed up. The Bruins will start this drive from their own 12-yard line.

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Another uneventful drive. On third down, Texas brought pressure on a play-action fake, and Jerry Neuheisel had to get rid of the ball quickly. Another three-and-out.

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After getting a first down through the air, Texas attempted a running back screen on third down. Eric Kendricks, UCLA's senior defensive leader, blew the play up for his 10th tackle of the game. UCLA gets the ball back on its own 11-yard line with eight minutes left in the third quarter.

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The Bruins tried to get fancy on first down with a misdirection throwback against the grain, but Texas sniffed it out and UCLA lost two yards. The Bruins were inches short of converting the third down play, but couldn't overcome the initial loss and are forced to punt after a three-and-out.

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Very nice coverage from freshman Adarius Pickett on third down to force a three-and-out. The Bruins are getting the ball back with a chance to take the lead.

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Texas 10, UCLA 10 (12:26 left in the third quarter)

Well, that's one way to start the second half. Needing a big play, running back Paul Perkins tore through the Texas defense for a 58-yard gain, putting the Bruins in good position to score with backup quarterback Jerry Neuheisel at the helm.

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On third down, deep in Texas' side of the field, Perkins picked up two yards to convert for the first down.

On third down, Neuheisel executed a perfect play-action fake to Myles Jack, then lofted the pass into the end zone. Fullback Nate Iese was able to hang on, and the Bruins tied the score of this game up.

The UCLA offense now has as many touchdowns with Neuheisel in at quarterback today as it did with Brett Hundley in the first week of the season. 

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According to reporter Chris Foster, on the scene in Arlington, quarterback Brett Hundley came out of the locker room with a big bandage and ice pack on his left arm. Earlier in the game, a UCLA spokesman said that he was probable to return, but now, a Fox sideline reporter said that Hundley is now "very doubtful" to return to the game according to head coach Jim Mora.

Meanwhile, UCLA recieves the ball despite also getting it to start the game. The Bruins elected to defer, but the Texas captains messed up and elected to kick, allowing UCLA to get the ball to start the game and to start the second half.

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Wasn't Texas supposed to be the under-performer here? The team riddled with injuries?

The Longhorns are up at halftime, 10-3, and are going to win this game if UCLA doesn't get something going on offense. Starting quarterback Brett Hundley, who does everything for the Bruins' offense, left the game in the first quarter after an apparent elbow injury. UCLA is saying he probable to return to the game in the second half, but Hundley spent most of the first half in the locker room.

Backup Jerry Neuheisel has completed eight of 12 passes, but for only 46 yards. If Hundley doesn't return, and UCLA doesn't let Neuheisel throw passes of longer than five yards, the Bruins are in trouble.

UCLA's defense has been playing fine, but doing nothing spectacular. The Bruins have two sacks -- doubling their season total -- and haven't been making it easy on Texas quarterback Tyrone Swoopes. In his second career start, Swoopes is getting more confident as the game goes on, though.

One surprise has been true freshman Jaleel Wadood, who started in place of Anthony Jefferson. Wadood has made a couple nice open-field tackles, and is currently tied for the team lead with seven tackles.

Unfortunately for the Bruins, the result of this game isn't going to be determined by the defense.

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That was a little bit of feast or famine for Jerry Neuheisel. He completed a nice pass after a scramble on his first downfield throw of the game, but then almost had a pass intercepted on his next deep try. The pass should have been intercepted, actually, and the Bruins couldn't get into field-goal range.

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Well, never mind. Texas ran into the punter for the second time this game, giving the Bruins a fresh set of downs.

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UCLA had a chance to tie the score with two minutes left before halftime, but apparently didn't feel comfortable with letting Jerry Neuheisel air it out. After two short passes to the flat and a run, Texas is going to get the ball back with 48 seconds left in the second quarter.

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Texas 10, UCLA 3 (2:01 left in the second quarter)

Perfect play call from the Longhorns. On third down, Tyrone Swoopes faked the dive, and lofted a pass to the back corner of the end zone for the first touchdown of the game.

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The Longhorns were just five yards from paydirt, but a holding penalty pushed them back. On second down, Tyrone Swoopes scrambled for a nine-yard gain, staying up despite taking multiple big hits on the play. Texas takes another timeout, and it's going to be third-and-goal when we return.

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Texas needed a yard on third-down near midfield, and quarterback Tyrone Swoopes bullied his way for the first-down. He's fast, but hasn't been a decisive runner in open space. There's too much dancing.

Swoopes is also 11-12 through the air to start this game, though, and made a beautiful throw on the run to convert a long third down. His first incompletion of the game didn't come until four minutes left int he second half.

The Longhorns were right on the border of potential field-goal territory, and went for it on fourth-and-eight. After avoiding pressure in the pocket, he completed another gorgeous throw on the run for a 33-yard gain.

Texas then took a timeout, and will have a fresh set of downs from the five-yard line.

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After UCLA ran the ball for a yard and Jerry Neuheisel had a ball tipped at the line, running back Paul Perkins saved the drive by getting a pass in the flat and converting it for a 14-yard gain. On third down, though, Neuheisel was sacked for the second time since entering the game, and Texas is going to start its drive with good field position on its own 37-yard line.

That Bruin drive went six plays for four yards -- not exactly a winning formula. Because Jerry Neuheisel hasn't been trusted enough to air it out, Texas has been able to load the box and make it hard for UCLA running backs to get seperation. It doesn't help that the Bruin offensive line is struggling, too.

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Another bad UCLA penalty. Kick returner Ishmael Adams only managed to return the ball to the 15-yard line, and a holding penalty took the ball back even further. Quarterback Jerry Neuheisel is going to start his first full drive this season from his own 8-yard line.

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It looked like Brett Hundley might have been headed back into the game, but he fumbled a few of the practice snaps on the sideline and is now walking back into the locker room. We won't be seeing him for this series, at least.

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UCLA 3, Texas 3 (11:00 left in the second quarter)

On the first play of the second quarter, Texas quarterback Tyrone Swoops found Jaxon Shipley for a 15-yard gain. Two plays later, running back Malcolm Brown ate up the middle of UCLA's defense for a 22-yard run. Brown ran for another first down, but the Longhorns couldn't find the end zone. UCLA got its second sack of the game on third down, and then Texas tied the game up on a 33-yard field goal.

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According to Chris Foster, the reporter on the scene, a UCLA spokesman says that Hundley's return to the game is probable. It's the end of the first quarter, and Texas has the ball in its own half of the field. Offensively, this game has benn less than appealing.

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A FOX sideline reporter says that UCLA trainers are rubbing some sort of something on Brett Hundley's left elbow, and are asking him to open and close his fist. It's his non-throwing arm, so we'll see if he comes back in this game. I don't need to tell you how important he is to this UCLA team, though.

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UCLA 3, Texas 0 (0:37 left in the first quarter)

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We're getting Jerry Neuheisel in at quarterback, as Brett Hundley is now sitting on the bench. Hundley was scrambling to avoid a sack, and appeared to land awkwardly on his left elbow after being tackled.

With the redshirt sophomore in at quarterback for the potential Heisman candidate, UCLA leaned on its running backs. Paul Perkins and Jordon James received carry after carry. When Neuheisel was given his first chance to throw something other than a screen in the flat, he was sacked for a nine-yard loss.

Despite the sack, Ka'imi Fairbairn converted a 47-yard field goal to finish the drive with the first points of the game. It was Fairbairn's first field goal of the season.

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The Bruins started their second drive of the game on their own 10-yard line, and that drive almost ended as soon as I finished typing this sentence. Brett Hundley was almost sacked on third down, but did a great job of keeping his balance to scramble for the first down. Myles Jack entered the game at running back, gained three yards, but was then was stuffed behind the line of scrimmage on his next carry.

On third down, Hundley fired a beautiful pass to a streaking Jordan Payton for a 50-yard gain, but another UCLA penalty nullified a big play. Starting tackle Caleb Benenoch wasn't flush with the other lineman, and the illegal formation penalty called back the big gain.

Trying to convert another third-down penalty, Hundley appeared to injury his left elbow on a scramble. He's sitting near the sideline, and we might be seeing backup Jerry Neuheisel.

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Texas is converting just 23% of its third downs this season, but picked up one on its first opportunity tonight. UCLA stayed solid, though, and the Longhorns are punting. There was a good showing from the UCLA defensive line, as Eddie Vanderdoes picked up a sack with the Longhorns driving down the field.

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First play of the game is a 12-yard pass from quarterback Brett Hundley. The quarterback then ripped off a 31-yard run, but it was called back because of a facemask penalty on offensive tackle Malcolm Bunche. Running back Paul Perkins made up for it the next play, though, with a 23-yard reception. Hundley was then sacked, and the Bruins couldn't find another big play to get a fresh set of downs.

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During the pregame interview, UCLA coach Jim Mora said, "When you're playing a team like Texas, you have to put it all together." The Bruins won the toss, and chose to defer. Texas decided to kick, which is weird. Might have been a mistake by the captains, as UCLA will also begin the second half with the ball. We'll see if the Bruins can put it all together, starting with the offense.

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UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks said AT&T in Arlington, the site of tonight's UCLA-Texas game, is the best NFL stadium that there is.

Agree or disagree?

I visited CenturyLink Field in Seattle earlier in the summer, and I think that has to be up there.

I would also listen to arguments for the Superdome in New Orleans. I will not listen to arguments for whatever the Raiders are now calling their stadium.

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Might be time to forget about that sellout. Columnist Bill Plaschke is also on scene, and he says that there are still many empty seats in the stadium with 15 minutes until kickoff. He also heard that tickets to the game were going for half price.

That's a little surprising, but considering that both these teams have underperformed in the first two weeks of the season -- though UCLA is 2-0 -- maybe it's just a slow-arriving crowd.

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One of the FOX pregame show talking heads just predicted that Myles Jack will get more than 12 carries in this game. I can't see any possible situation in which that happens, but I guess we'll see.

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Another interesting subplot has to do with UCLA coach Jim Mora. He was reportedly offered the head coaching job at Texas after last season, but turned it down to stay in Westwood.

The Longhorns eventually went with Charlie Strong, who has made quite a splash in his initial season. The former Louisville coach has been suspending and dismissing players left and right, and Texas got blown out at home last week by Brigham Young, 41-7.

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Welcome to the UCLA Now's live blog for the UCLA football team's tilt against Texas. The game is on Fox (Channel 11 in Los Angeles), and since Gus Johnson is announcing, I highly suggest tuning in (as well as getting some analysis and updates on this live blog, of course).

Texas is dealing with a littany of injuries, which is a big reason why UCLA is the favorite despite being on the road. The Longhorns are starting their backup quarterback, Tyrone Swoopes, but because he's a dangerous runner he could still pose a threat for the Bruins defensive line. Here's a blog from earlier on that topic, as well as a post about the defense in general.

According to reporter Chris Foster, who is in Arlington, the pregame scene inside of AT&T Stadium feels like a bowl game. Both schools brought at least a portion of their bands, cheerleaders, and mascots for what is expected to be a sold-out game.

Not surprisingly, starting safety Randall Goforth isn't dressed. He's not playing after suffering a shoulder injury last week against Memphis, and will likely be replaced in the starting lineup by sophomore Tahaan Goodman. Also not in uniform is cornerback Marcus Rios, who has had the flu all week.

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