California Memorial Stadium
The last decade and a half in Berkeley has been anything but pleasant for the UCLA football team.
Maybe it’s that fresh bay air, maybe it’s playing in the home of a fellow University of California program ““ no one really knows.
One thing is for certain, though, the Bruins (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) haven’t beaten the Golden Bears (1-4, 0-2) at Memorial Stadium since 1998.
Despite its poor results in Berkeley, UCLA is not concerned about what has happened in the past.
“We don’t really think about that,” said redshirt sophomore safety Tevin McDonald. “This is a completely new team, and we just have to worry about we’re doing execution-wise. Things like history and stuff don’t really matter.”
For McDonald, remembering his own history against the Bears can only bring up fond memories. Last season, McDonald intercepted three passes, tying the UCLA school record.
McDonald, though, insists that his attention is focused on what will happen Saturday rather than what happened last season.
“I can’t get too greedy just because of what happened last year,” he said. “I just have to do my job, go through my reads and let the plays come to me.”
McDonald and the secondary will have their hands full against the Bears, who boast one of the top receiving corps in the Pac-12 conference.
The primary target is junior receiver Keenan Allen, who currently leads the Bears in receiving with 388 yards and two touchdowns on 33 receptions.
“Keenan is a guy you better have an answer for,” coach Jim Mora said. “You can’t go in a game without a way to try to eliminate him on certain plays. … He’s a guy that you scheme for, absolutely.”
With UCLA honing in on Allen, Cal’s other receivers will have to step up.
Oddly enough, the Bears’ second and third leading receivers nearly became Bruins just eight months ago. Freshmen Chris Harper and Bryce Treggs were recruited by UCLA all the way up until National Signing Day in February.
“When they decided on signing (the) day or the night before they called us to say they were going to Cal. I said “˜We look forward to seeing you. Can’t wait to say hi to you, but understand that when we get on the field, it’s going to be a battle,’” Mora said.
Mora was not lying when he said he expected a battle, as Cal, despite being only 1-4, has shown flashes of excellence this season.
“I know Cal is a good team,” said sophomore offensive lineman Xavier Su’a-Filo.
“We see them on film, and they’re a talented team. Record really doesn’t matter ““ we can’t take them lightly.”