UCLA’s Hundley Experiment A Success

Man on a mission: UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley had a sensational 2012 football campaign. Photo Credit: Ronald Jenkins
Man on a mission: UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley had a sensational 2012 football campaign. Photo Credit: Ronald Jenkins
Man on a mission: UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley had a sensational 2012 football campaign. Photo Credit: Ronald Jenkins

Despite Holiday Bowl defeat, 2012 season a breakout year for UCLA redshirt quarterback Brett Hundley

SAN DIEGO-From the first official snap of his college football career when he dashed 72 yards for a touchdown against Rice, UCLA redshirt quarterback Brett Hundley has shown how much of a special talent he is. And just how fortunate the Bruins are to have him.

Hundley validated head coach Jim Mora Jr.’s decision to make him the team’s starter by pushing UCLA’s offense to the mettle in leading the Bruins to unexpected wins against Nebraska and cross-town rival USC.

More importantly, the 6-foot-4, 225 pound Hundley instilled the type of aura of fearlessness and self-assuredness into his teammates as their proverbial on-the-field leader, a noticeable trait that has been missing for a long time. Hundley looked very much like the answer to the quarterback woes with his powerful right arm, coolness under pressure, smart reads and nimble feet.

Hundley has all of the tools to be one of the greatest quarterbacks in the school’s history. So far, college football has seen just the tip of the iceberg of what Hundley can do. That has to be somewhat disheartening for future UCLA opponents because all he did was lead an offense that put up just over 35 points a game, recorded 300 yards passing in a game three straight times-the first in the school history- and established single-season marks in pass completions and total offense.

Hundley has had a massively impressive 2012 college football campaign. For much of the season, Hundley has made it looked effortlessly easy in dissecting opposing defenses on his way to owning the Bruins’ single-season passing yardage record, which he accomplished against Baylor in the 35th Bridgeport Education Holiday Bowl.

Even in defeat, UCLA redshirt quarterback Brett Hundley looks good. Despite being overwhelmed by an aggressive, blitzing Baylor football team that resulted in Hundley being sacked six times and completing only 26 of 50 passes in a 49-26 defeat to the Bears at the 35th Bridgeport Education Bowl, UCLA’s signal-caller still managed to shine.

UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley faced pressure most of the game from a rugged Baylor defense. Photo Credit: Rondald Jenkins
UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley faced pressure most of the game from a rugged Baylor defense. Photo Credit: Rondald Jenkins

“It is what it is, I don’t feel the pressure,” Hundley said. “I got to play my game and make sure I’m on top of the offensive line and they’re trying their best and I got to help them out by making something happen or just throwing the ball where it needs to be.”

Hundley somehow found the steely resolve that have made him a hit this season for the Bruins, throwing for 329 yards and three touchdowns, despite Baylor defenders getting up in his grill all night and tossing him around like a ragged doll. Each time he took a big hit Hundley would always bounce back up, go back to the huddle and run the next play as if nothing just happened.

As cool a customer as you might find on the football field, Hundley was just as steely in his resolve for the team to learn from this experience and move on to next season.  After whipping USC and looking every bit like a major BCS-bound team, UCLA faltered at the end, losing its final three games, including two to Pac-12 champions Stanford. UCLA finished the season with a 9-5 record.

The defeat to Baylor didn’t tarnish what was a pretty good season that Hundley and the Bruins put together.  It is now time to put 2012 in its proper prospective and look ahead to the 2013 campaign, which Hundley appeared to already be doing during the team’s post game conference following its last game of the season.

“You’ve got to keep pushing, you’ve got to learn and get better and keep pushing,” Hundley said.

 

 

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1271 Articles
Dennis is a news and sports photojournalist. Dennis has covered and written on issues such as civil rights, education, politics, and social justice. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Daily Breeze, Daily Press, Los Angeles Wave, Los Angeles Sentinel, and other media outlets. Dennis is currently the editor and publisher of News4usonline. He covers the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, and NCAA. Dennis is an alum and graduate of Howard University.