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Thursday, December 7, 2023

UCLA football’s offense finally feels it’s in a rhythm – Orange County Register

LOS ANGELES — UCLA quarterback Ethan Garbers posted an Instagram photo of himself at the Coliseum, arms crossed, a day after beating USC with the caption: “I run LA, YA THE NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN.”

That caption was stolen from Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams, who had posted it a year prior when USC had taken down UCLA.

“He earned that,” offensive lineman Duke Clemens said. “Especially taking us and winning in the Coliseum. That’s not easy to do. I’m proud of Garbs and I feel like he deserves to celebrate a little bit.”

Even on Tuesday, the Bruins were still feeling good about Saturday’s offensive performance against the Trojans, which featured zero turnovers. It’s an improvement from the game prior against Arizona State in which UCLA (7-4 overall, 4-4 in Pac-12) had fumbled twice.

In all, UCLA’s offense has thrown 12 interceptions this season and fumbled 13 times, losing the ball on six occasions.

“The way you work on (reducing turnovers) in practice is relating it back to the game,” Clemens said. “Just trying to put yourself in those same situations as much as you can. When it comes to game time, it’s just about being focused and locked in on your assignment. If you do that, then things usually go well.”

Running back TJ Harden also ran for a career-high 142 yards against USC and Garbers set a new career-high for touchdowns thrown in a game with three, earning him some Instagram bragging rights. The redshirt junior quarterback did not play against Arizona State and was coming off an apparent injury that had affected mobility in the lower half of his body.

One of Garbers’ touchdown passes was thrown to Hudson Habermehl in the first quarter, making for the tight end’s first touchdown catch of the season. He shed a Trojan defender and ran a shallow route into the end zone to get open for a 14-yard catch.

“It was awesome,” Colson Yankoff said. “He made one miss and then kind of dove in there. We’re like, ‘Hud! That was amazing.’ So it was great. Definitely got the guys going.”

The Bruins are hoping to replicate that feeling this weekend at the Rose Bowl against Cal (5-6, 3-5) to close out their final Pac-12 season and improve even more.

“We didn’t play a perfect game by any means,” receiver Logan Loya said. “There were drives that we fell short of that we for sure could have finished in the end zone and we’re working to fix that this week.”


Defensive lineman Jay Toia was not seen participating in Tuesday morning’s practice during the media viewing period. Coach Chip Kelly said that Toia was “unavailable” on Monday, making it the second straight practice that he had missed.

Quarterback Collin Schlee appeared to be a full participant in practice for the second straight day after not dressing for Saturday’s game against USC.


Former UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson earned his first NFL victory in his rookie season with the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 13-10.

He completed 24 of 43 passes for 165 yards with one interception in the game.

“It’s really good to see the guys that come from this program have a lot of success at that level,” UCLA running back Colson Yankoff said. “We’ve got a bunch of guys that are up there, I couldn’t even name them all, but it’s always really encouraging to see. Always stoked for those guys and makes you feel good about what you’re doing here.”


Senior linebacker Darius Muasau said 20-30 of his family members from Hawaii will be joining him this week for Thanksgiving and Saturday’s senior night game against Cal. It’ll be his first time seeing his family since the beginning of the offseason.

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