UCLA (0-5, 0-2) at Cal­i­for­nia (3-2, 0-2)

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Ben Bolch ben.bolch@la­ Twit­ter: @latb­bolch

To­day, 4 p.m., Cal­i­for­nia Memo­rial Sta­dium. TV: Pac-12 Net­works. Ra­dio: 570, 1150, 97.3.

Mar­quee matchup

UCLA quar­ter­back Do­rian Thomp­son-Robin­son vs. the Cal de­fense. Thomp­son-Robin­son is try­ing to put to­gether con­sec­u­tive strong per­for­mances for the first time, hav­ing strug­gled against Fresno State and Colorado fol­low­ing a solid show­ing against Ok­la­homa in his de­but as a starter. The fresh­man played his best game last week­end against Wash­ing­ton, throw­ing for a ca­reer-high 272 yards and two touch­downs. He’ll face a de­fense that has been es­pe­cially stingy against the pass, giv­ing up only 175.6 yards per game to rank No. 19 na­tion­ally.

Get­ting of­fen­sive

UCLA (334 ypg/18.4 ppg): UCLA’s new­found run game has helped the Bru­ins sus­tain drives at an ac­cept­able rate for the first time this sea­son. They con­verted a sea­son-best eight of 14 of their third downs (57%) against Wash­ing­ton af­ter hav­ing con­verted only 17 of 56 third downs (30%) in the first four games of the sea­son. Cal (410 ypg/26.2 ppg): Quar­ter­back Bran­don McIl­wain had one of the sea­son’s more bizarre stat lines last week­end against Ari­zona in his first ca­reer start. He threw for 315 yards and ran for 107 more but had three passes in­ter­cepted and lost a fum­ble, with two of the turnovers lead­ing to Wild­cats touch­downs.

Get­ting de­fen­sive

UCLA (429.6 ypg/36.4 ppg): The Bru­ins have been their own worst enemy on this side of the ball in each of the last two games, com­mit­ting a com­bined four penal­ties that sus­tained scor­ing drives. They’re also not get­ting nearly enough pres­sure on op­pos­ing quar­ter­backs from their de­fen­sive line­men, who have com­bined for only three sacks in five games.

Cal (331.4 ypg/24.8 ppg): Af­ter spot­ting Ari­zona a 10-0 lead last week­end, the Golden Bears’ de­fense did not give up an­other score the rest of the game while hold­ing the Wild­cats to 149 yards and 3.5 yards per snap over the fi­nal three quar­ters.

Some­thing spe­cial

UCLA’s Ste­fan Flintoft leads the Pac-12 in punt­ing av­er­age (47.4 yards) and punts of 50 or more yards (13). … Cal’s Ashtyn Davis ranks first in the con­fer­ence and No. 12 na­tion­ally in kick re­turn yardage, av­er­ag­ing 28 yards per re­turn. His first kick re­turn this sea­son went 89 yards for a touch­down in a 45-23 vic­tory against Idaho State.

Of note

The teams the Bru­ins have faced in their first five games own a com­bined 25-3 record. … Cal has en­dured even more penalty strug­gles than the Bru­ins, its 71.2 penalty yards per game rank­ing No. 103 na­tion­ally. Each of the Golden Bears’ of­fen­sive line­men com­mit­ted at least one penalty last week­end against Ari­zona.

In­jury re­port

UCLA line­backer Jae­lan Phillips, re­ceiver Kyle Philips and of­fen­sive tackle Justin Mur­phy seem doubt­ful to play af­ter sit­ting out against Wash­ing­ton. Mur­phy was the only one of the three play­ers to ap­pear at prac­tice this week, al­beit in a yel­low non­con­tact jersey. … Golden Bears backup tail­back Der­rick Clark and backup guard Henry Baza­kas were de­clared out for the sea­son last week be­cause of lower-body in­juries.

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