UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley hoped Saturday's game at Stanford would vault him to the forefront of the Heisman Trophy race and the Bruins into BCS title contention. Instead, it served as a reminder that, for all his potential, Hundley still has work to do.
Hundley was 24-of-39 passing for 192 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions in the 24-10 loss to the Cardinal, showing many of the limitations NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks identified earlier this week when studying film of the redshirt sophomore.
Dealing with pressure from the loaded Stanford front seven behind a battered offensive line -- left tackle Simon Goines, who was replacing injured starter Torian White, hurt his knee -- Hundley was unable to set his feet and throw the ball with power.
Hundley also pressed noticeably in the fourth quarter. Down by seven points in the fourth quarter, UCLA had three consecutive three-and-outs with Hundley going 3 of 8 for 10 yards and one interception on those possessions.
UCLA was never able to convert on the few deep-ball opportunities it created against the sound Stanford defense, with its longest pass covering only 26 yards.
The running game didn't offer much help. Missing running back Jordon James for the second straight game, UCLA finished with 74 yards on 27 carries. Hundley had some success on the ground, though four sacks cut down his final totals significantly.
Credit to Stanford, which tightened up the vulnerabilities against a sideline-to-sideline spread offense it showed in its loss at Utah last week. Jordan Richards had 10 tackles to go along with his two picks, and outside linebacker Trent Murphy picked up a pair of sacks.
Hundley (6-foot-3, 222 pounds) has outstanding physical tools, an innate charisma and natural leadership -- all the necessary attributes to be a franchise NFL quarterback. Another season of finishing will let him reach that potential and put UCLA in position to truly rejoin college football's elite.