UCLA 36, Nebraska 30
September 8, 2012
Rose Bowl - Pasadena, Calif.
UCLA head coach Jim Mora
"Our defense made a key stop and had key turnovers. In the second half, our coaches did a nice job with adjustments at halftime. Players adjusted well. We came up with big plays at the right time. Nebraska is a very good football team. [Head coach] Bo Pelini did an outstanding job. [Quarterback] Taylor Martinez is a heck of a good football player. It's a heck of a win for our program. We have to learn from it. We had critical penalties that could hurt us, but we overcame it. We'll enjoy it for 24 hours and then turn our thoughts to Houston."
"I thought we responded well. We started two true freshmen - one on offense and one on defense. They are very well trained because they pay attention in meetings and are mature beyond their age. When you get in an environment like this, it's intense and you're playing a great opponent and you've got a big crowd and the lights come on, and you can become overwhelmed. You didn't see that with these guys. I'm very proud of them.
on UCLA's tackling
"In order to win consistently and play great defense, you have to be a great tackling defense. Sometimes that is a function of them blocking us out and not being able to get over and not moving our feet quick enough. But whatever it is, we have to go put in some tackling drills in practice and get better at it. I thought it was better than last week.
on quarterback Brett Hundley
"He needs to learn how to slide, and he needs to learn how to take a knee. Once he gets down those things, he might be able to avoid injury. He was very calm back there. Brett played outstanding. He doesn't get flustered. When he comes to the sideline, he has a very good understanding of what happened, whether it was good or bad. He keeps his emotions in check. I thought our offensive line did an outstanding job giving him time. I mean, there were some throws out there where he could step into it and got through his progressions, which is good.
on UCLA's offensive line
"I thought they played well. I don't know how many yards we had. I don't think we had more than one or two sacks. But that's was a very good front that we were going against. Nebraska has a good defense. Bo [Pelini] is a great defensive coach, so for us to be able to run the ball effectively like we did and give Brett some time to throw the ball, I think that says a lot about our offensive line and our tight ends and our backs."
on Brett Hundley's ability to make plays happen
"We saw him in the spring. There were times in the spring - in practice you try to create problems for your players that they have to figure out. Because that's what happens out on the field. You cannot hold their hand out on the field. Every time we put Brett in a situation where he made a poor decision in practice, he followed it up by making a really good play. So there were indications early on that this game was not too big for him. He could stay focused when things were going well, or when things were not going well. He has not surprised me.
"There was a tremendous amount of improvement by Brett from week one to week two. He showed willingness to pull the trigger when he saw things down the field. He was much more decisive. We talked about last week how there was some hesitancy in his game, which is understandable since he was starting his first game. We saw a more decisive quarterback."
on the team's reaction to Brett Hundley getting injured
"We have complete confidence in Richard Brehaut and Kevin Prince and Jerry Neuheisel and Devin Fuller and T.J. Millweard and Mike Fafaul and Jake Hall. We know that all of those guys can go in and play well."
on kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn
"I thought that he did a nice job today. He missed a couple of kicks, and we'll get that squared away. He's a young kid, you know. He's 18 years old. He's playing in a huge game on national TV. I think today was a great growing experience for him. I don't see a lack of confidence at all. I don't think that our team has any lack of confidence in him. I was prepared to send him out there to make it a five-point game. He's got the legs for it. We have a lot of confidence in him."
on keeping the team grounded next week
"Any time you come off a win, it's important that you regain your focus, just like after a loss. That's one of the challenges of coaching. I sense determination among our players. Our coaching staff has the experience to know how to get them back and focus."
on defensive end Datone Jones
"You hate to ever say there is a play of the game, because there are so many plays that are critical. But that might have been the play of the game. We had them backed up after Jeff's great punt, and Datone broke through. He has had two really good games now. It gave us that cushion, that extra two points that was so critical at the end there."
on running back Johnathan Franklin
"Well, he's a tenacious runner. He's hard to bring down. I think that people look at him and they think that he's a little running back. He's not. He may be short, but he's powerful. He's got great lower body strength. He's got a heart that just jumps out of his chest. He refuses to be tackled. He charges our team up.
on the significance of Saturday's win
"We're 2-0. It means we are 2-0. It means we beat Nebraska and we are 2-0, and we'll play another game next Saturday."
Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini
"Obviously we didn't play the type of football game that we wanted to and we lost because of it. I'm embarrassed by how we played today and I point the thumb at me first. We didn't play well in any phase of the game in my opinion. We were inconsistent, our fundamentals were lousy and that leads to bad things happening. I give UCLA credit, but I'm disappointed."
on seeing some things defensively going into this game that could be problems
"We didn't execute well, we didn't tackle well, we didn't do anything well on the defensive side of the ball. Many times we had opportunities for tackles for losses that ended up in long gains. Obviously I'm disappointed by how we played defensively. I'm embarrassed by how we played defensively and I point the thumb at me first."
on Nebraska's poor defense putting pressure on their offense
"You want to talk about a team loss, that's it. Defensively we didn't show up in the first half and offensively we didn't show up in the second half. You have to have each other's backs and it didn't happen. UCLA earned the win and we didn't earn it. We didn't deserve to win with the way we played and at the end of the day we have a lot of work to do. Everything is still out there for us for what we want to do this year because in the end we want to end up back here. We want to play our last football game out here. To do that, we have a lot of work to do. We've got to get better obviously."
on Brett Hundley
"I thought Hundley played well, and I thought we contributed a lot to that. But I give him credit. He did a good job."
on the difference for the offense between the first and second halves
"We didn't execute well in the second half. Really it looked like the same thing offensively in the second half from a bird's eye view of what we did offensively in the first half. It's a team game and we didn't deserve to win that game. We didn't make enough plays and that's players and coaches alike."
on how Taylor Martinez played
"Not good enough. But I can say that about every guy that walked out on that field tonight. I don't think anybody played well enough."
on the safety
"I think that's a call, obviously, that we want back. But once again we didn't execute. It was poor execution to say the least and a number of things contributed to that."
on if UCLA's defense made adjustments in the second half
"Not really. Believe me, there were yards out there to get. Obviously starting the second half with the fumble doesn't help, but there were points out there to be had. Anyone's going to make adjustments as the game goes along and we knew what they were doing. To me it starts up front. We didn't play well up front in the second half. We had drops, we had a lot of things. It was a team loss and a team effort there in the second half offensively. We had a breakdown here, a breakdown there and it adds up to not having any sustained drives."
on how much field position played a role in the second half
"It always plays a factor. I thought it hurt especially in the second half but you have to flip the field. You have to do that offensively and make some first downs. We kind of stood up there for a number of series defensively in the second half when they had the field position, but we just couldn't get anything going on the offensive side of the ball at that point."
on Brett Maher's missed field goal (second half) when the game was tied, 27-27
"It hurt us. We had a chance to take the lead and gain some momentum and it was disappointing."
on injured Rex Burkhead and his absence, availability
"There were enough breakdowns where I don't think it would've mattered. As good as Rex is, we didn't deserve to win that football game. Believe me, I wanted to win in the worst way. That was a team effort and we did not play well. I thought our backs played pretty well, other than the fumble from Ameer Abdullah. Not having Rex is not why we lost the game, and that's not taking anything away from how good of a player Rex is either, trust me."