UCLA Football

Cal vs UCLA: Pitiful Bears Defense Will Aid Brett Hundley's Heisman Trophy Stock

Sep 21, 2013; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley (17) during the game against the New Mexico State Aggies at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Jesse ReedCorrespondent IOctober 12, 2013

The Cal Bears are about to put Brett Hundley on the national map. 

California travels south in Week 7 to face UCLA this Saturday night, and it's a game that will solidify Hundley as a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender. 

UCLA last played on Thursday, Oct. 3, against an underrated and tough to dispose of Utah squad, winning the game 34-27. Hundley wasn't sharp in that contest, completing 17 of his 27 attempts for 211 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

It was his worst showing of the season, but he still found a way to get the job done by leading the Bruins on two scoring drives in the fourth quarter to put his team on top for good. 

As is often the case, Thursday night games are forgotten by the time Saturday rolls around, and no one was talking about Hundley and the UCLA Bruins over the weekend. Heading into Week 7, he's barely a blip on the Heisman radar, with just one fifth-place vote on ESPN.com's Experts' Poll.

Hype matters when discussing Heisman Trophy status. Right now, Hundley doesn't have much, and his fans are surely upset about that fact. This lack of hype isn't unwarranted, however.

Through four games, he has completed 65.5 percent of his passes for 1,059 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions and has added another 242 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. 

Oct 3, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley (17) is pursued by Utah Utes defensive back Eric Rowe (18) on a 36-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter at Rice-Eccles Stadium. UCLA defeated Utah 34-27. Mandatory Credit: Kir
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

These are good numbers, but thanks to his poor outing at Utah, they certainly don't jump off the page.

Thankfully, Hundley's Heisman stock is about to receive a tremendous boost by way of the horrid Cal Bears defense. 

Of the 123 teams ranked in total defense on NCAA.com, Cal ranks No. 121, allowing 524 yards per game. Yes, you saw that correctly: Only two teams in the entire nation have allowed more yardage than the Bears.

Cal ranks No. 116 in the nation against the pass, allowing 304.2 passing yards per game, and it ranks second-to-last in scoring defense, allowing 45 points per contest.

Marcus Mariota and Kenny Guiton combined to score six touchdowns against the Bears, and Mariota didn't come close to finishing the game.

Heck, even little-known Washington State gun-slinger Connor Halliday got in on the action, going off for 521 yards and three touchdowns in last weekend's 44-22 beat down. 

Mike Shumann of ABC 7 noted after the game that the Bears gave up a total of 570 yards, while commenting on the bleak outlook for Cal if things don't change soon:

Hundley and the Bruins are going to absolutely torch this defense. 

If Jim Mora is smart, he'll leave Hundley in the game well into the third quarter to give his quarterback some confidence after he struggled against Utah. If he does, then it's no stretch to envision Hundley easily surpassing the 400-yard mark through the air with four-plus touchdowns. 

You can be sure the fleet-footed signal-caller will make a few plays with his legs, too, and it's conceivable Hundley will finish the game with 500 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns. 

Make no mistake about it: After Week 7, the eyes of the nation will be turned toward the West coast after Hundley puts up highlight-reel play after highlight-reel play against Cal's pitiful defense. 

A big game certainly won't win Hundley the coveted trophy.

He'll earn his seat in New York by performing with skill and grace against Stanford, Oregon and Washington later this year, but a breakout game this weekend will get him back on the map as a player to watch in the second half of the season. 

 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78 

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