Sept. 8, 2008
GAME 2 -- UCLA (1-0) takes to the road for the first time in the 2008 season and tangles with 2-0 BYU (15th by USA Today/18th by AP) on Saturday, Sept. 13. Kickoff is scheduled for approx. 1:30 pm (Mountain time) and 12:30 pm Pacific. The game will be televised nationally by Versus (Channel 603 on DirecTV). The UCLA/ ISP Sports Radio Network (KLAC 570 AM is the Los Angeles flagship station) will broadcast the contest with Chris Roberts, Matt Stevens and Wayne Cook calling the action. The game also will be carried live on Sirius Satellite Radio (Channel 125).
BYU has won 12 straight games, the longest current streak in the nation. Last season, UCLA ended an 11-game winning streak by the Cougars.
SERIES WITH BRIGHAM YOUNG -- The Bruins and Cougars will meet for the 10th time on Saturday, Sept. 13. UCLA holds a 7-2 lead in the series, with BYU having won the first meeting in 1983 and the last in the 2007 Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl. UCLA has won all three previous meetings played in Provo, including a 23-9 verdict in 1995, on the last trip to the Cougar campus.
The teams met twice in the 2007 season. UCLA won the first contest, played on Sept. 8, in the Rose Bowl by a score of 27-17. BYU captured the return match-up with a 17-16 decision in the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 22.
The Bruins built a 20-0 lead in last year's home win, however BYU scored 17 unanswered points to close to within three points with six minutes to play. UCLA caused a fumble to halt a BYU drive, but was forced to punt it back to the Cougars. Another big defensive stop gave the Bruin offense the ball back with a chance to put the game away. Running back Chris Markey scored on a three-yard run with 1:12 remaining to secure the Bruin win.
In the Las Vegas Bowl meeting, the teams traded first quarter field goals before BYU jumped out to a 17-6 lead late in the second quarter. A fumble by the Cougar offense gave the Bruins the ball on BYU's four-yard line with just seconds to play before the half. On the last play of the first half, Brandon Breazell hauled in a scoring pass from McLeod Bethel-Thompson to make the score 17-13 at the break. After a scoreless third quarter, UCLA tacked on a field goal at the 6:24 mark of the fourth quarter to pull within one point of the Cougars at 17-16. The Bruin offense got the ball back with 2:02 to play and marched 87 yards to the BYU 11-yard line to set up a potential game-winning field goal attempt. However, the 28-yard kick was blocked on the final play of the game.
In UCLA's last trip to Provo in 1995, the Bruins used three Bjorn Merten field goals and a couple of touchdowns set up by the defense to earn a 23-9 win. True freshman quarterback Cade McNown came on in relief of an injured Ryan Fien to help stake the Bruins to a 6-3 lead at the break. A third Merten field goal at the 4:47 mark of the third quarter gave UCLA a 9-3 lead. On the ensuing BYU possession, UCLA's Donnie Edwards sacked Cougar quarterback Steve Sarkisian and forced a fumble which was recovered by the Bruins and returned to the BYU one-yard line. James Milliner took it in from there and the Bruins led 16-3 with 3:51 to play in the third quarter. On BYU's next possession, the Bruins intercepted a Sarkisian pass and drove for another touchdown and a 23-3 advantage with 3:14 to go in the quarter. BYU closed to within 23-9 on an scoring pass play early in the fourth quarter, but was unable to climb closer. McNown completed 9-18 passes for 91 yards. Karim Abdul-Jabbar ran for 147 yards on the ground.
2008 SCHEDULE NOTES
* 7 home games and 5 road contests
* Bruins play three straight at home this season (9/20-Arizona, 9/27-Fresno St., 10/4-Washington St.)
* Open the season with four of its first five games in the Rose Bowl
* Back-to-back road contests once this season - 11/15-Washington and 11/28-Arizona St. (with a bye week in between)
* Schedule features eight teams that played in bowl games in 2007 with a combined record of 7-1 (Tennessee defeated Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl; BYU defeated UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl; Fresno State defeated Georgia Tech in the Humanitarian Bowl; Oregon bested South Florida in the Sun Bowl; Cal topped Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl; Oregon State beat Maryland in the Emerald Bowl; Arizona State lost to Texas in the Holiday Bowl; USC outscored Illinois in the Rose Bowl).
* UCLA's non-conference opponents -Fresno State (9-4), Tennessee (10-4) and BYU (11-2) each won bowl games and finished with a combined record of 30-10 (.750)
2008 OPPONENT NOTES
* The current season record of UCLA's 2008 opponents is 13-8 (.619)
* Overall, the 2007 record of UCLA's 2008 opponents was 94-60 (.610)
* Seven of those schools (USC 11-2, BYU 11-2, Arizona St. 10-3, Tennessee 10-4, Oregon 9-4, Oregon St. 9-4 and Fresno St. 9-4) won at least nine games
* Home opponents posted a 53-36 (.596) record in 2007, while the road opponents were 41-24 (.631)
* Six teams were in the USA Today pre-season Top 25 - No. 2 USC, No. 16 Arizona St., No. 17 BYU, No. 18 Tennessee. No. 20 Oregon and No. 25 Fresno St. UCLA is the only school in the country with six opponents in the pre-season Top 25 (several have five Top 25 opponents).
* UCLA will meet four teams that won at least a share of a regular season conference title in 2007 (Tennessee-SEC East; BYU-Mountain West; Arizona St. and USC were Pac-10 co-champions)
* Tennessee returns to the Bruin schedule for the first time since a 1997 meeting in the Rose Bowl
* Fresno State will meet UCLA in the regular season for the first time since 2000. The Bruins battled the Bulldogs in the 2003 Silicon Valley Classic in their last matchup
* Sept. 1 - UCLA 27, Tennessee 24 in overtime
UCLA rallied back from a pair of fourth-quarter deficits to pull out a 27-24 overtime win over 18th-ranked Tennessee in the season-opening game for both teams. The contest also marked the Bruin head coaching debut of Rick Neuheisel.
Bruin quarterback Kevin Craft completed 12 of 14 passes in the fourth quarter and led 80 and 70-yard touchdown drives to bring UCLA back from deficits of 14-10 and 24-21. Redshirt freshman running back Raymond Carter's three-yard run around the right end capped off an 11-play, 80-yard drive which put UCLA in front 17-14 with 6:51 to play . Tennessee answered with a 67-yard touchdown drive and regained the lead at 21-17 with 1:54 remaining to play. The Bruins then staged a nine-play, 70-yard scoring drive, culminating on three-yard pass play from Craft to redshirt junior tight end Ryan Moya, to assume a 24-21 advantage with 27 seconds showing on the clock. UT tied it on a field goal on the final play of regulation.
The Bruins went on offense to begin the overtime period and gained no yards on three plays. Redshirt sophomore placekicker Kai Forbath put UCLA in front 27-24 after connecting on a 42-yard field goal. The Bruin defense kept Tennessee from a first down on their possession and the Vols missed a 34-yard field goal attempt. Craft completed 18 of 25 passes in the second half for 193 yards and a touchdown. The redshirt junior finished the night with 25 completions in 43 attempts for 259 yards and a touchdown. He threw four first-half interceptions.
Moya grabbed a career-best seven passes for 65 yards and a touchdown. Redshirt senior cornerback Michael Norris led the Bruin defense with a career-best seven tackles.
* Senior defensive tackle Brigham Harwell leads the team with 30 career starts. Tight end Logan Paulsen (26), linebacker Reggie Carter (21), wide receiver Marcus Everett (20) are the only other Bruins with at least 15 career starts. Junior defensive back Alterraun Verner is the next closest with 13 career starts.
* Senior tight end Logan Paulsen has started 23 straight games, the longest streak on the squad. Junior cornerback Alterraun Verner is next on the team with 10 straight.
TEAM NOTES --
BRUIN DEFENSIVE NOTES
* Has held 13 opponents over the last two-plus seasons to less than 100 yards of rushing offense.
* Held six opponents to less than 100 yards on the ground in the 2007 season (52-Stanford, 44-BYU, 46-Notre Dame, 67-Cal, 43-Oregon, 34-BYU/bowl).
* Oregon gained 148 net yards in the 2007 game at UCLA, the best effort by a Bruin defense since holding Arkansas to 42 net yards in the 1989 Cotton Bowl.
* UCLA's 16-0 shutout of Oregon on Nov. 24 was the first time the Ducks had been shut out in 267 games (Sept. 28, 1985, Nebraska 63-0). It was UCLA's first shutout since a 31-0 blanking of Stanford on Sept. 30, 2006.
* In 2006, the Bruin defense limited seven opponents to less than 100 yards rushing (Rice-53, Washington-49, Stanford-49, Arizona-minus 13, Notre Dame-51, Oregon St.-85, USC-55).
* Has limited opponents to less than 300 yards of offense in 12 contests over the last two-plus seasons.
* Held five opponents short of 300 yards last season (Oregon St.-248, Notre Dame-140, Cal-299, Oregon-148, BYU bowl-265).
* In 2006, the Bruins held seven opponents under 300 yards of offense (Utah-287, Rice-184, Washington-249, Stanford-166, Arizona-222, Oregon St.-260, Arizona St. -264).
* In 13 games in 2007, opponents converted 62 of 214 (29.0%) third down opportunities and UCLA ranked third in the nation and second in the Pac-10 in that category.
* UCLA ranked fifth nationally in third-down conversion defense (28.4%) in 2006, having allowed 13 opponents to convert 50 of 176 third-down opportunities.
* UCLA held its 13 opponents to 1,419 net rushing yards on 472 attempts (3.0 average) and ranked 25th in the nation (109.15) in rushing defense.
* In 13 games in the 2006 season, UCLA allowed 91.1 yards per game (tied for ninth in the NCAA and tied for first in the Pac-10) and just nine touchdowns on the ground.
* Over the last five-plus seasons, UCLA is 21-1 when it scores at least 30 points (won 16 straight) in a game and 12-1 when it scores 40 or more (11 in a row).
* Over the last five-plus seasons, the Bruins are 20-3 when they hold the opponent under 20 points, and had a 16-game winning streak snapped when they lost the Las Vegas Bowl, 17-16.
LETTERWINNERS LOST FROM 2007 (29, including Patrick Cowan)
* 11 offensive players who combined to start a total of 86 games, including 49 on the offensive line (Chris Joseph-13, Brian Abraham-12, Shannon Tevaga-10, Aleksey Lanis-6, Noah Sutherland-6, P.J. Irvin-2) have been lost.
* Nine defensive players who combined to start 91 games, including five players who started all 13 games last season (DT Kevin Brown, CB Trey Brown, DE Bruce Davis, S Chris Horton, S Dennis Keyes) have been lost.
UCLA AGAINST RANKED OPPONENTS
* UCLA has defeated three of its last five Top 10-ranked opponents.
- Won against Oregon (No. 9 AP, No. 10 USA Today/ESPN) on Nov. 24, 2007
- Beat California (No. 10 AP, T-No. 9 USA Today/ESPN) on October 20, 2007
- Defeated No. 2 USC on December 2, 2006. >
- Lost to Arizona State (No. 9), 24-20, on Nov. 10, 2007
- Lost to USC (No. 8 AP, No. 9 USA Today/ESPN) on Dec. 1, 2007.
UCLA IN THE POLLS IN 2008
*Pre-Season: not ranked; Sept. 2: USA Today 26, AP 23; Sept. 7: USA Today 27, AP 26.
*The Sept. 2 ranking was UCLA's first since it took a #11 AP ranking into game three at Utah last season.
*UCLA played seven true freshmen in the 2008 season-opening game against Tennessee --- LB Sean Westgate; S Rahim Moore; TE Cory Harkey; WR Taylor Embree; S; Tony Dye; WR Antwan Moutra; WR Nelson Rosario.
*A school-record 12 freshmen played for the Bruins in the 2004 season.
*In addition to the seven true freshmen listed above, 10 other Bruins saw their first action in the 2008 season-opening win against Tennessee --- redshirt sophomore OL Brandon Bennett; redshirt sophomore LB Mike Schmitt; redshirt sophomore DL Reginald Stokes; redshirt sophomore OL Sonny Tevaga; redshirt freshman DB Courtney Viney; redshirt freshman LB Steve Sloan; redshirt freshman LB Akeem Ayers; redshirt freshman OL Nate Chandler; redshirt freshman RB Raymond Carter.