UCLA

Chip Kelly hired as UCLA head coach

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Chip Kelly hired as UCLA head coach

LOS ANGELES -- Chip Kelly is headed to UCLA with plans to create another Pac-12 powerhouse.

The coach who helped changed college football with his groundbreaking offense at Oregon agreed to a five-year, $23.3 million deal on Saturday to return to the sideline with the Bruins.

Kelly, who turned 54 on Saturday, spent the past year out of coaching after four seasons in the NFL. He entertained serious overtures from Florida this month before deciding to take charge of the sleeping giant of a program at UCLA, which hasn't won a conference title since 1998.

"I am thrilled to welcome Chip Kelly to Westwood," UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said. "His success speaks for itself, but more than that, I firmly believe that his passion for the game and his innovative approach to coaching student-athletes make him the perfect fit for our program."

Kelly replaces Jim Mora, who was fired last Sunday with one game left in his sixth season in Westwood.

Kelly won three conference titles and reached four major bowl games in just four seasons (2009-12) in charge of the Ducks, who were turned into a marvel of exciting football by his no-huddle spread offense and up-tempo approach to almost everything they did.

Oregon went 46-7 during his tenure, reaching the BCS championship game after the 2010 season and also playing in two Rose Bowls and a Fiesta Bowl.

Kelly then went 28-35 with the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers from 2013-16, getting fired from both teams after losing seasons. He was an ESPN football analyst this fall.

The Bruins almost certainly fired Mora early -- and ate more than $12 million remaining on his contract through 2021 -- because they hoped to land Kelly, the most coveted coach on the college football landscape.

Florida also pursued Kelly to fill their own high-profile job opening. But after the Bruins' presentation Tuesday, which included input from former UCLA quarterback Troy Aikman and powerful booster Casey Wasserman, Kelly elected to return to the West Coast, where he already has recruiting contacts after years of landing California talent for Oregon.

"It is an absolute honor to join the Bruin Family, and I am grateful to Chancellor (Gene) Block and to Dan Guerrero for this incredible opportunity," Kelly said in a statement. "UCLA is a world-class institution with a distinguished history in athletics, and we will do our part to uphold its tradition of excellence."

Kelly's UCLA contract contains a $9 million reciprocal buyout, the Bruins said. UCLA will introduce Kelly in a news conference on campus Monday.

Jedd Fisch, Mora's first-year offensive coordinator, served as the Bruins' interim head coach Friday night when UCLA (6-6, 4-5 Pac-12) beat California 30-27 to earn bowl eligibility for the fifth time in Mora's six seasons. Fisch was expected to run the Bruins in December through practices and a to-be-determined bowl game.

Kelly likely sees the opportunity to do big things at UCLA, which plays in the Rose Bowl in the nation's second-largest media market. Although the Bruins are frequently overshadowed by powerhouse rival Southern California, UCLA is hoping Kelly can be the ingredient that tips the balance back toward the Bruins, who had only seven winning records in the previous 14 years.

Although star quarterback Josh Rosen is likely headed to the NFL, Mora leaves behind plenty of elite talent at UCLA, which recently opened the $65 million Wasserman Football Center. The lavish training complex finally provides the Bruins with facilities approaching the standards of their Pac-12 competitors -- even Oregon, with its famously impressive trappings backed by Nike boss Phil Knight.

UCLA plays at Oregon on Nov. 3, 2018.

Kelly left Oregon with the school under investigation by the NCAA for recruiting violations. The Ducks eventually got three years of probation. Although the NCAA determined Kelly didn't know about the violations, he was still given an 18-month show cause order, requiring any school wishing to hire him to justify its decision to the Committee of Infractions. That order has expired.

Kelly jumped to the NFL and the Eagles, but he was fired late in his third season in Philadelphia despite posting winning records in his first two campaigns.

He spent 2016 in charge of the 49ers, but that troubled franchise abruptly fired him last winter after going 2-14.

Kelly becomes the Bruins' fifth full-time coach since 1995, when Terry Donahue left after winning five Pac-10 titles during 20 seasons. The Bruins won two more league titles in the late 1990s under Bob Toledo, but they haven't claimed another conference crown or appeared in the Rose Bowl game in nearly two decades.

Mora was arguably the Bruins' most successful coach since Donahue, going 46-30 and starting off his tenure with four consecutive winning seasons. Mora's second and third teams tied the modest school record with 10 wins.

But the Bruins declined sharply in the past two seasons. UCLA went 4-8 last year with one of the FBS' worst offenses. UCLA went undefeated at the Rose Bowl and winless on the road this season. The Bruins won just 10 of their last 27 games under Mora after their 28-23 loss to USC last Saturday night.

Best of College Football: Josh Rosen leads epic UCLA comeback to beat Texas A&M

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Best of College Football: Josh Rosen leads epic UCLA comeback to beat Texas A&M

LOS ANGELES — Josh Rosen faked a spike and threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Lasley with 43 seconds remaining and UCLA overcame a 34-point deficit to stun Texas A&M 45-44 on Sunday night.

Rosen was 35 of 59 for 491 yards and four touchdowns, and Jalen Starks and Soso Jamabo had touchdown runs for the Bruins in the opener for both teams. They overcame a deficit of more than 20 points for the first time since the 2005 Sun Bowl against Northwestern.

Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond was stopped short of the first-down marker on a scramble with 20 seconds left to close out the biggest FBS comeback since 2006.

UCLA scored on five straight possessions after trailing 44-10 with 4:08 to play in the third quarter. Rosen threw touchdown passes of 9 and 42 yards to Darren Andrews before finding Theo Howard for a 16-yard score on a broken play with 3:08 remaining.

UCLA got the ball back with 2:39 to go and drove 51 yards in seven plays, including an 11-yard throw and catch to tight end Caleb Wilson. Rosen capped the remarkable comeback with a fade to the far corner of the end zone after faking the spike to freeze Texas A&M's defense. JJ Molson kicked the winning extra point.

Wilson had 15 receptions for 203 yards, and Andrews had 12 catches for 147 yards.

Trayveon Williams rushed for 203 yards and two touchdowns, and Keith Ford added 114 yards rushing and three touchdowns for Texas A&M. The Aggies lost for only the second time in six openers under coach Kevin Sumlin.

Rosen spent much of the game under constant pressure from Texas A&M for the second straight season until mounting the stunning comeback. After being sacked five times last season in a 31-24 overtime loss at College Station, Rosen was dropped three times and lost two fumbles in his return after missing the final six games last year with a shoulder injury (see full recap).

No. 21 VT's last-second stand sends Hokies past No. 22 WVU
LANDOVER, Maryland — Josh Jackson passed for 235 yards, ran for 101 and accounted for two touchdowns in his first start for Virginia Tech, and the No. 21 Hokies made a last-second stand to beat No. 22 West Virginia 31-24 on Sunday night.

The 52nd meeting between the Appalachian region rivals was the first since 2005. It ended up being a classic at FedEx Field, which turned into Lane Stadium northeast at the end. Hokies fans screamed along to "Enter Sandman" after Virginia Tech held the Mountaineers out of the end zone on two last plays from the 15.

After 11 years, the Hokies get to bring the Black Diamond Trophy back to Blacksburg.

Jackson, the redshirt freshman who won a three-way competition for the job, was up and down with his passing, but showed off some nifty moves running in the opener for both teams. His 46-yard keeper up the middle set up Travon McMillian's 3-yard touchdown run that put Virginia Tech up 31-24 with 6:30 left.

West Virginia's new quarterback looked good, too. Florida transfer Will Grier, who left Gainesville after being suspended by the NCAA for failing a test for performance-enhancing drugs in 2015, pass for 371 yards and three touchdowns.

Usually reliable Virginia Tech kicker Joey Slye missed a 32-yard field-goal attempt with 1:55 that gave the Mountaineers a chance.

Grier slinged and scrambled West Virginia down to the Virginia Tech 15, but his second-to-last pass into the end zone under pressure was a little behind David Sills and it went through the receiver's arms. Grier's last throw sailed high and away, but a couple of penalties on the West Virginia offensive line made it moot (see full recap).