UCLA vs. California NCAAF Week 13 Betting Preview: Possible Letdown Game for Bruins

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Dorian Thompson-Robinson #1 of the UCLA Bruins reacts from the ground against the USC Trojans. Harry How/Getty Images/AFP.

No. 17 UCLA looks to end a two-game losing streak when the Bruins visit California in Pac-12 action Friday.

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UCLA Bruins vs. California Golden Bears

Friday, November 25, 2022 – 04:30 PM EST at California Memorial Stadium

FOX has the telecast of this Pac-12 game. It’s the regular-season finale for both, although UCLA will be playing in a bowl game. Cal won’t be.

Last year, Cal was throttled at UCLA 42-14. Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw 3 touchdown passes and Zach Charbonnet rushed for 106 yards and another score.

They are both still at UCLA, which scored 32 unanswered points against the Golden Bears. Chase Garbers and Christopher Brooks rushed for TDs for Cal.

The home team is 9-3 against the spread on the NCAAF picks in the past 12 meetings. The total has gone under in 11 of those 12.

UCLA Off Tough Loss

UCLA’s chance of playing in the Pac-12 title game ended in a 48-45 home loss to rival USC on Saturday. The Bruins had 513 total yards and a 14-0 lead after a quarter but allowed 649 yards.

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson accounted for all 6 of UCLA's touchdowns (4 in the air and 2 on the ground) as he finished with 384 all-purpose yards. But he had 1 fumble and was intercepted 3 times, including on the Bruins' final drive of the game.

“At the quarterback position, you can’t have [four] turnovers and win the game,” Thompson-Robinson said. “It’s just not acceptable.”

New TD Leader for UCLA

DTR became the school’s all-time leader in touchdowns on a second-quarter one-yard run. That touchdown was the 107th of his career, which moved him past Brett Hundley (2011-14), who totaled 106 TDs in his Bruin career. Thompson-Robinson also became UCLA’s all-time leader in total offense as he moved past Hundley (11,713).

Thompson-Robinson finished with 309 yards passing and 75 yards rushing and now has a career total offense total of 11,953. Thompson-Robinson became the only UCLA quarterback to throw for over 300 yards in multiple games against USC: 2022 (309), 2021 (349), 2020 (364), and 2019 (367).

Thompson-Robinson played the second half with his throwing hand taped. He was also knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter only to return 2 plays later.

Has UCLA Missed Coordinator McGovern?

Zach Charbonnet, the Pac-12’s leading rusher, had 95 yards on 19 carries. Tight end Michael Ezeike entered the game with one receiving TD on the year and racked up 3 against the Trojans. The last UCLA player to record 3 scoring receptions in a game was Jordan Lasley in 2017 against USC.

Defensive coordinator Bill McGovern has missed the Bruins’ past 4 games because of an undisclosed illness, and he has been missed as UCLA has allowed an average of 39.9 points in the past 3. UCLA is 1-4 ATS in its past 5 after scoring more than 40 points in its previous game.


California Has Struggled vs. Kelly

At 4-7, Cal will not qualify for a bowl game but apparently, the job of Coach Justin Wilcox is safe. The Bears snapped a 6-game-losing streak Saturday, in beating rival Stanford 27-20 in the 125th version of the Big Game.

The Golden Bears trailed 17-6 in the 4th quarter when Jack Plummer started the comeback with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Monroe Young. Jackson Sirmon then scored the go-ahead TD on a 37-yard fumble return. It was Cal’s 3rd defensive touchdown of the season and the second game in a row it scored one.

''It bounced right to me,'' Sirmon said. ''I was in the right place at the right time. All I did that play is I didn't mess it up. The ball came right to me and I ran with it.''

Daniel Scott had his 3rd interception this season and 7th in his career. Cornerback Tyson McWilliams made his first career start. It was Cal’s first game since Wilcox fired offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave and offensive line coach Angus McClure. They were both in their 3rd season at the school.

Cal has played Oregon or UCLA teams coached by Chip Kelly 8 times and has won just once. Most of the time it hasn’t been close. Kelly’s teams scored 290 points against Cal in those 8 games (an average of 36.3 points) and have put up 42 or more in 4 of those games. The Bruins held the Bears to an average of 11 points in their 7 victories.


The Pick

I certainly expect UCLA to win this game, but I do think they will suffer a bit of a letdown and it will be fairly close.

Cal is 7-2 ATS at the NCAAF odds, in its past 9 at home.

NCAAF Pick: California +10.5 (-110) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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California +10.5 (-110)
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