Family affair

UCLA’s regular season finale against Cal will be a family affair – Orange County Register

At least two families will be split in the final days of Thanksgiving week when UCLA hosts Cal at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night.

UCLA redshirt freshman quarterback Ethan Garbers and sophomore kicker RJ Lopez will recognize their siblings in a different shade of blue and gold.

Fifth-year senior Chase Garbers will make his 32nd start as Golden Bears quarterback, while redshirt second Nick Lopez is the team’s backup kicker.

This will be the first meeting between the Garbers brothers at the collegiate level.

“I haven’t spoken to him,” Chase said. “I probably won’t speak to him until we see each other on Saturday.

“Normally we don’t speak during the (season). We chatted briefly after his first start, but we’re both busy with our respective teams.

Chase was reportedly sidelined by Ethan, who was traded from Washington to UCLA for the pandemic-shortened 2020 season opener. The Golden Bears were unable to field a competitive roster due to a positive COVID-19 test and the game was called off, although the teams ended up scheduling a short-notice Sunday meeting the following week. when their two opponents had to cancel due to COVID. concerns.

“They’re a good team and a great game for us,” Chase said of this week’s game. “It’s good to have a full week of preparation and to go (to the Rose Bowl) with the game plan geared towards them and not another team.”

The Garbers brothers went to Corona del Mar High, but they were never on the same college roster together.

The Lopez brothers went to different high schools and have experience of being pitted against each other in the same game.

Nick made all six field goal attempts as Mater Dei defeated RJ and Mission Viejo in a 2017 CIF-SS Division 1 Semi-Final.

RJ played in the UCLA-Cal game last year, but Nick didn’t play.


Chase Garbers also knows UCLA defensive coordinator Jerry Azzinaro, who coached Cal’s defensive line in 2017.

“He was here for a year when I was here,” Chase said. “His defensive style of play is quite aggressive and quite exotic. They love to wreak havoc.

The Bruins’ defense has created chaos in back-to-back wins over Colorado and USC, using pressure to fire quarterbacks and create turnovers, but the secondary remains susceptible to giving up explosive plays on the field.

“They were really balanced (against Stanford), I think they mixed the passing and the running really well.” UCLA coach Chip Kelly said of Cal. “They also mixed their formations well and were able to have multiple receivers on the field to spread things out. If they do, you need to be aware of Garbers as a runner.

Garbers became Cal’s all-time leading runner as a quarterback earlier this season.

“They run the ball really well and it’s part of the running game,” Kelly said. “He can affect the game with his feet. …he does a very good job of handling their offense.

Damien Moore (516 yards, six TDs) and Christopher Brooks (497, one TD) are the star backfield rushers this season, while Garbers has 424 rushing yards and three TDs.


Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is coming off an impressive performance (349 passing yards, four TDs, two TDs) against USC, but he said he’s already put that game behind him as he prepares to lead the offense in what could be his final Rose Bowl home game.

The quarterback can’t afford to get too comfortable against a Cal defense that has shown a consistent ability to create turnovers.

The Golden Bears have intercepted two or more passes in their last three games. Before the Bruins (7-4 overall, 5-3 Pac-12) start throwing the ball, they’ll be looking to establish the running game with running back Zach Charbonnet.

“The running back is extremely difficult to tackle,” Cal defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon said. “He’s a very powerful runner with the way they use him.”

Sirmon thinks Kelly’s ability to use tempo and various formations on offense could force the Golden Bears (4-6, 3-4) into more one-on-one tackle situations.

“I tried to do a little research on the number of (Charbonnet’s) broken tackles forced,” Sirmon said. “It’s all over the tape.”

Charbonnet is coming off a 167-yard performance against USC and could have the majority of carries if running back Brittain Brown can’t play anymore this week.

Cal, who will look to invade the football to limit yards after contact, introduces a pair of SoCal natives to safety (Daniel Scott and Elijah Hicks), who lead the team in tackles.

UCLA (7-4 overall, 5-3 Pac-12) VS. CAL (4-6, 3-4)

When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Or: pink bowl

TV/Radio: FS1/570AM