PASADENA — UCLA quarterback Chase Griffin made his second consecutive start on Saturday while Dorian Thompson-Robinson remained sidelined due to coronavirus contact tracing, missing his second straight game for the Bruins.

Griffin made his first college start last week in Autzen Stadium against then-No. 11 Oregon.

Griffin managed the offense in his debut as the starter, completing 19 of 31 passes for 195 yards and one touchdown against Oregon, though he threw two interceptions and fumbled the ball, accounting for three of the Bruins’ four turnovers in their 38-35 loss.

The Bruins have allowed four turnovers in each of their two losses this season.

“Any turnovers I have in a game, that’s on me,” Griffin said. “It’s unacceptable at the quarterback position, and every game you go in, you want to minimize the turnovers, not to two, not to one, you want to have zero turnovers.”

Diamonds in the rough

UCLA’s recruiting effort in the local area has paid off, especially with the effort made by redshirt juniors Mitchell Agude and Caleb Johnson on defense.

Both Johnson and Agude are junior college transfers from the Inland Empire.

“They’ve been playing amazing,” defensive back Stephan Blaylock told reporters about the linebackers this week. “They’ve been popping up all over the field and on film.”

Agude (Corona Santiago/Riverside C.C.) led the Bruins in tackles for a loss (5.5) before Saturday’s game. He has also forced a fumble and recorded a sack.

“He has a great motor and plays extremely hard,” said UCLA coach Chip Kelly during his pregame radio interview with UCLA sports network. “Its hard to defend him.  We see improvement from him every game.”

Johnson played at Vista Murrieta High and Fullerton College before transferring to the University of Texas and eventually winding up with the Bruins.

“I think (ILB) coach (Don) Pellum had recruited him initially, so he knew of him as he went to Texas,” Kelly said. “I think he wanted to get a little closer to home.

Johnson has felt right at home for UCLA this season. Before Saturday’s game, he was second among the Bruins in sacks (2.5) and leads the team with one interception. He has 12 tackles, including 3.5 for a loss.

Before Johnson’s arrival, Kelly said he reached out to Texas to ask about the linebacker.

“I talked to (Texas head coach) Tom Herman,” Kelly said. “When a player is in the portal, and we know somebody on the staff, we’re going to talk to them. Find out the reason and do our investigative work, and Tom had nothing but praise for Caleb, which made us feel really good about Caleb that the former school he was at that the coaches felt very highly about him.”

It’s good

It only took four games but the Bruins have their first field goal attempt of the season, coming in the final minute of the first half against Arizona to give the Bruins a 20-7 lead at half.

Redshirt Freshman Nicholas Barr-Mira’s was successful from 31 yards on the field goal, his first career attempt. He is 17-for-18 on extra point attempts, including two in the first half.

Barr-Mira is the brother of former UCLA all-american linebacker Anthony Barr, who has played the past five seasons for the Vikings and was a first round selection for Minnesota in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Barr-Mira finished 2-for-2 in the first half, after a 30-yard field goal in the final seconds of the second quarter.


By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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