UCLA's eyeblack game is unrivaled


Punters have it rough.

They specialize in surrendering. They're trotted out as a physical embodiment of a failed drive with only one job: concede the ball as gracefully as possible. No fan wants to punt.

So when any component of a punter's job goes awry -- as it did when UCLA's Matt Mengel muffed a long snap against USC on Saturday -- it draws heaps of negative attention.

But when the cameras sought out Mengel on the sidelines for a reaction shot, the punter drew much more attention for something else entirely: his eyeblack. And Mengel wasn't the only one. Defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes eschewed subtlety completely. It looks like the tube ran out halfway across his face.

The bizarre William Wallace look is part of an off-and-on Bruins tradition that Jim Mora began during his first year as the team's head coach in 2012. Before a pivotal matchup with No. 24 Arizona, Mora ostensibly asked his assistants to apply the eyeblack as war paint. The Bruins then dismantled the Wildcats 66-10.

After the game, Mora was asked about the new look and was playfully evasive.

"You know, the lights," he told reporters. "The guys just wear eye black. I don't know."

We don't either.