Following consecutive losses to Oregon and Utah and then having a week off, UCLA and embattled head coach Chip Kelly look to get back to winning when the Bruins host Colorado in a Pac-12 game Saturday in Pasadena.
The Buffaloes, coached by former UCLA coach Karl Dorrell, are coming off a 37-34 double-overtime victory over Oregon State at Boulder, Colo.
Colorado is 0-3 on the road this season losing by an average of almost 23 points.
The Buffaloes (3-6, 2-4 Pac-12) dropped consecutive games on the road against California and Oregon, losing 26-3 to the Golden Bears and 52-29 to the Ducks, before the win against the Beavers.
“We got a lot of work to do, and we can feel good about what we’ve done at this point,” said Dorrell, who was a receiver at UCLA from 1983-86 and was 35-27 as a head coach there from 2003-07.
“Hopefully we play better and continue to do some positive things as we move through this last part of the season.”
UCLA (5-4, 3-3) has lost three of its last five, including two games at the Rose Bowl against Arizona State and Oregon.
Kelly is facing criticism from the Los Angeles media for the Bruins’ record in his fourth season as head coach. He is 15-25 overall and 13-18 in Pac-12 games during his tenure.
The Los Angeles Times ran a story this week with the headline: “Chip Kelly is nowhere close to elite, and UCLA can do much better.”
The Bruins, who played without injured starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson in the loss at Utah two weeks ago, are facing the likelihood of having their Rose Bowl drought reach 23 years.
“We still got a lot of football to be played this season,” Kelly said. “I wouldn’t bet against that group (his players) in that room there. That group in that room there’s awesome and I love those kids.”
Thompson-Robinson returned to practice this week after suffering a right thumb injury against Oregon that kept him out against Utah. He warmed up before the game against the Utes but did not play.
Ethan Garbers replaced Thompson-Robinson at Utah and the Bruins had the opportunity to take the Pac-12 South lead but lost 44-24 because their defense allowed the Utes to rush for 290 yards.
Colorado quarterback Brenden Lewis has been efficient in the Buffaloes’ last two games, throwing six touchdown passes with no interceptions. He has completed 40 of 57 pass attempts for 394 yards with only one sack.
–Field Level Media