UCLA Football Prepares For Senior Night, Regular Season Finale Against Cal

Whether they beat the Trojans or end up on the losing side, the Bruins’ result the following week has been consistent.

And that result has not typically favored the blue and gold in recent years.

Since the Pac-12 expanded in 2011 and first moved UCLA football's (7-4, 5-3 Pac-12) game against crosstown rival USC to the penultimate regular season week, the Bruins are 1-6 in ensuing conference games. Rotating between playing its two in-state Bay Area rivals in those finales, Cal (4-6, 3-4) is up next in that spot this year, wrapping up the 2021 regular season on Saturday at the Rose Bowl.

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Coach Chip Kelly is 0-3 after USC games since coming to UCLA, but he said the statistic falls into his favorite category of "true but useless."

"You can look at any metric you want and come up with a million different things: what’s your record after day games, what’s your record when — it just depends on who you’re playing and what you do," Kelly said. "There was no lull on Monday and there was no lull on Tuesday. They’ve got the same energy and juice today. These kids love playing football so that’s not a concern of ours."

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Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson sensed that same high energy on the practice field throughout the week, and he said he and his teammates are ready to move on to Cal after nearly a week of celebration and social media trash talk.

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"Guys are chomping at the bit again, want to put ourselves in the best position possible to make the best bowl game and move on from there and leave on a high note," Thompson-Robinson said.

Leaving on a high note implies the senior may be starting to draw up his plans to declare for the NFL Draft this offseason, but he clarified that wasn't the case later on Monday. Thompson-Robinson could not officially say whether or not Saturday would be his final home game in a UCLA uniform, but he did say that he's going to be playing as if it's his last performance at the Rose Bowl, in case that turns out to be the path he chooses.

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"We know that there's gonna be some decisions that have to be made," Thompson-Robinson said. "We're just gonna go out there and live it up like it's our last one, even if it may not be."

If Saturday were to be Thompson-Robinson's final outing at America's Stadium, he would likely end up finishing No. 3 in UCLA history in total touchdowns and No. 4 in total yards.

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Kelly said any player who is set to graduate, either undergraduate or graduate school, is welcome to be honored as part of Saturday's Senior Night ceremony, and that a player's decision to walk is not necessarily indicative of whether or not they plan to return to the team next year.

"Anybody that wants to walk on senior day can walk on senior day," Kelly said. "Anybody who walks on senior day, that’s their option to walk on senior day so that’s available to anybody."

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One of the few players who has exhausted all of their collegiate eligibility is cornerback Obi Eboh, a super senior and second-year graduate transfer from Stanford. 

Eboh, striker Qwuantrezz Knight, running back Brittain Brown, left guard Paul Grattan and linebacker Jordan Genmark Heath are among the players who are barred from returning following this season, and Eboh said the group has been incredibly tight and sentimental this fall in their final go-around.

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"It's definitely an emotional time and I appreciate all these guys," Eboh said. "It just seems like yesterday I was coming in during COVID and trying to figure all this stuff out, and now we're kind of down to our last rope, but I feel like the guys that came in during that year are feeling pretty good about what we've accomplished and still trying to accomplish."

While Eboh said his short UCLA journey has been everything he wanted it to be, that doesn't mean he left his Stanford days completely in his rear-view mirror. The Bruins and Golden Bears are rivals, but not to the level of the Stanford-Cal rivalry on the gridiron.

Cal beat Stanford in Eboh's senior season back in 2019, and the Golden Bears are coming off a 41-11 victory over the Cardinal just last week. Eboh said he talked trash after UCLA beat Cal in 2020, and that some of that same energy could pop up against Saturday.

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"I kinda took that a little personally and I maybe said something about me getting the axe back, even though I was over here," Eboh said. "It still lingers over a little bit."

UCLA and Cal will kick off at the Rose Bowl at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. If the Bruins win, they will complete the season sweep of the three California Pac-12 teams for the first time since 1998. 

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Source : https://www.si.com/college/ucla/football/ucla-prepares-for-senior-night-regular-season-finale-against-cal

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Can UCLA broadcaster Josh Lewin cover two games in two states during a 10-hour span?

Source:Yahoo News

Can UCLA broadcaster Josh Lewin cover two games in two states during a 10-hour span?