Sept. 9, 2006
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) - Justin Medlock tied his career high with four field goals and UCLA displayed an improved ground attack in a 26-16 victory over Rice on Saturday night.
Medlock's best effort was a 51-yarder in the third quarter that extended UCLA's lead to 16-3. It was the senior kicker's fifth career field goal of 50 yards or more, a school record.
The Bruins (2-0) racked up 401 yards of total offense, including 277 on the ground. Rice managed 184 yards, with 131 coming in the air.
A week ago, Ben Olson passed for 318 yards and three touchdowns in his first college start. This time, he threw for two touchdowns and was 13-of-19 for 124 yards.
The Owls (0-2) lost for the 18th time in 19 games, and are 0-13 on the road since closing the 2003 season with a win at Louisiana Tech. Things only get tougher, too, with No. 2 Texas looming next week and No. 9 Florida State the week after.
A year ago, UCLA routed the Owls by 42 points at the Rose Bowl.
This time, it was hardly the blowout that had been predicted.
The Bruins led 19-10 early in the fourth quarter on Medlock's 34-yard field goal.
They extended the lead to 26-10 when Brandon Breazell hauled in an 18-yard scoring pass from Olson in the back corner of the end zone before being knocked down by defender Brandon King.
Rice coach Todd Graham challenged the play, claiming Breazell had stepped out of bounds. After a 4½-minute review, with the announced crowd of 46,023 booing, referees ruled the play good.
The Bruins needed the score because the Owls came right back.
Quinton Smith, who led Rice in rushing last season, ran down the Owls' sideline for a 48-yard touchdown with 5:38 remaining. The 2-point conversion failed.
The Owls tried on onside kick that also failed.
UCLA was forced to punt for the only time in the game with 43 seconds remaining. Justin Hickman sacked Rice backup quarterback Joel Armstrong twice.
Smith carried 14 times for 76 yards and one touchdown. Jarett Dillard caught seven passes for a career-high 102 yards.
The Bruins led 6-0 on field goals of 32 and 37 yards by Medlock in the first quarter.
Dogged by defender Ja'Corey Shepherd, Junior Taylor caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Olson that extended UCLA's lead to 13-0 early in the second quarter.
The Owls didn't have anything to show for their first three possessions. They lost the ball on a bad snap, went 3-and-out and were forced to punt after UCLA's first touchdown.
The Bruins turned the ball over on their next possession when Dietrich Davis recovered Olson's fumble, but Rice couldn't convert.
However, the Owls caught a break when Marcus Everett went back to receive Jared Scruggs' punt and fumbled it.
Will Moss recovered for Rice, which had 1st-and-goal at the 2-yard line. Smith dove up the middle for a 1-yard gain, but the Owls were penalized for a false start, which took them back to the 6. On the next play, Mike Falco got dropped by Davis for a 15-yard loss. Luke Juist's 38-yard field goal attempt missed.
Juist made up for the miss early in the third quarter, kicking a 45-yarder to get Rice on the board, 13-3