UCLA Bruins host Cal Golden Bears after dark to conclude more than a century of Pac-12 football

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Wednesday, November 22, 2023

California (5-6, 3-5 Pac-12) at UCLA (7-4, 4-4), Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Line: UCLA by 9 1/2, according to .

Series record: UCLA leads 58-34-1.


The Pac-12 as college football fans have known it for over a century ends with one final after dark affair. The Golden Bears retained possession of The Axe rivalry trophy with a 27-15 win over Stanford, putting themselves in position to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2019 by defeating the other most prominent member of the University of California system. The Bruins regained the Victory Bell with an emphatic 38-20 win at Southern California and will be looking for their third straight eight-win season. UCLA has won the past two meetings.


Cal RB Jaydn Ott vs. UCLA's defensive line. Ott has been a catalyst in the Bears' past two wins, running for 333 yards and two touchdowns on 63 carries against Washington State and the Cardinal. He was held in check by the Bruins last season, managing 55 yards on 13 carries in a 35-28 loss, and will now have to contend with a front four brimming with confidence after holding the Trojans to 1.6 sack-adjusted yards per carry.


Cal: WR Trond Grizzell made his mark in the Big Game by catching seven receptions for 136 yards and two touchdowns, all of which were career bests for the third-year sophomore walk-on. Grizzell has become a preferred option in the passing game since Fernando Mendoza seized the starting quarterback job at the start of October.

UCLA: WR J. Michael Sturdivant transferred to the Bruins from the Bears this offseason, but he will need two huge games for his first year in Westwood to match his breakout redshirt freshman campaign in Berkeley. Sturdivant has six catches for 31 yards over his past four games but still ranks second on the team in receptions (29), yards receiving (438) and touchdown receptions (3).


Cal coach Justin Wilcox is 1-5 against UCLA, with the lone win coming in 2019. That record includes a 34-10 loss at the Rose Bowl during the 2020 pandemic season. a game that was scheduled with less than 48 hours notice. ... UCLA RB T.J. Harden got the bulk of the carries against USC and delivered a career-high 142 yards rushing and a touchdown on 22 attempts. He ran for 89 yards on 12 carries against Cal last season. ... Mendoza threw for 294 yards and three touchdowns with one interception against Stanford. He has multiple touchdown passes in five of his six starts. ... UCLA scored four touchdowns and one field goal in six red-zone possessions against USC after producing two touchdowns and one field goal in eight trips inside the 20 in losses to Arizona and Arizona State.


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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football