Is Alamo Bowl a finale for UCLA coach Jim Mora?
SAN ANTONIO (AP) The Alamo Bowl raises an intriguing question for UCLA: Is this the college farewell for coach Jim Mora?
Mora goes into Friday’s matchup between the No. 14 Bruins (9-3) and No. 11 Kansas State (9-3) amid talk he could be a candidate for open coaching jobs with the San Francisco 49ers and New York Jets.
Mora went 32-34 coaching the Atlanta Falcons (2004-06) and Seattle Seahawks (2009). He also spent five seasons as the 49ers’ defensive coordinator.
He insists the college game has a lot of appeal.
”I enjoy getting to coach this age group,” he said. ”I don’t mind the recruiting. I’m at the point in my life where I would rather deal with moms and dads rather than wives and agents.”
But when discussing his future Thursday, he left himself some room to maneuver.
”I have no plans to coach anywhere else at this time,” he said.
More certain are the plans of UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, a junior who Mora says will leave school following the Alamo Bowl. He could be among the top quarterbacks in the draft.
Hundley has put up strong numbers: 3,019 yards passing, a 70.4 completions percentage and 21 touchdowns with five interceptions and a 155.4 efficiency rating.
Far less heralded is Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters. But the senior also has impressive stats: 3,163 yards, a 66 percent completion rate, 20 TDs as well as six interceptions for a 157.8 rating.
In Hundley, the Wildcats will be facing another top-flight quarterback. They’ve already had a taste of the Big 12’s Bryce Petty of Baylor and Trevone Boykin of TCU.
”I think Hundley fits into that category,” Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said. ”I think he does so many things well – throws the ball well, can run the ball well. Makes good decisions. That is enough for us to be concerned about for sure.”
A few other things about the Alamo Bowl:
PROVE IT TO THE PROS: A handful of standouts want to show their worth to NFL scouts, even if they’re down on the draft board now. K-State’s Tyler Lockett is a star receiver but just 5-foot-11. UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks is the Butkus Award winner, but he’s considered undersized as well at 6-0.
THEY CAN RUN, TOO: Hundley and Waters have passed for more than 3,000 yards this season. But they are trouble outside the pocket as well. Hundley is UCLA’s second-best rusher this season with 548 yards and eight touchdowns. Waters also has scored eight times on the ground and has gained 471 yards.
A RUN OF GAMES: UCLA and Kansas State never met in football until five seasons ago (UCLA won 23-9 at the Rose Bowl). The Alamo Bowl will be the third matchup between the teams. Bruins safety Anthony Jefferson is the only player from either team to play in a UCLA-Kansas State game, a 31-22 loss to the Wildcats at Manhattan in 2010.
GET USED TO THEM, SAN ANTONIO: In a little bit more than eight months, Kansas State will be back in San Antonio playing at the Alamodome. It’s the home field of the UTSA Roadrunners of Conference USA, who host to K-State on Sept. 12.
DE JA VU ALL OVER AGAIN?: The last time K-State came to San Antonio, the Wildcats lost the Big 12 Championship game and accepted the Alamo Bowl bid when the major bowls did not invite them to play. The Wildcats lost to Purdue in an upset. Now, the Wildcats are back after losing a chance to win a share of the conference title in the final week of the regular season at Baylor.