Sept. 4, 2006
VS. RICE -- For the second straight season, the Bruins will host Conference USA opponent Rice. The Bruins lead the series, 3-0, after winning last year's matchup 63-21 in the Rose Bowl. The Bruins scored on their first seven possessions of last year's contest and enjoyed a 49-14 halftime advantage. Junior Taylor caught a pair of touchdown passes from Drew Olson in the contest (39 and 10 yards). Olson threw for 296 yards and three scores overall. Maurice Drew ran 11 times for 95 yards and scored two touchdowns, one on the ground and one on a 66-yard punt return.
THE 25TH YEAR -- The 2006 season marks the 25th year that the Rose Bowl has served as the home of the Bruins. UCLA moved from the L.A. Coliseum in the summer of 1982 and went 6-0-1 in that first year, capping the season with a victory over Michigan in the Rose Bowl game. The season-opening win against Utah was UCLA's 100th at the Rose Bowl. The Bruins own a record of 100-43-2 since moving to Pasadena, including a 3-2 record in Rose Bowl games. UCLA is 15-4 under head coach Karl Dorrell, including a current streak of seven straight wins.
HONORARY TEAM CAPTAIN -- Former UCLA standout Jim Brown who played guard on the 1954 and 1955 teams will serve as an honorary captain for the Rice game. The 1954 Bruin team was voted National Champion by the United Press International. The `54 team set numerous school records, including points in a season (367), points in a game (72) and touchdowns in a season (55). It led the nation in scoring (40.8 avg.) and scoring defense (4.4). Jim earned first-team All-America honors following the 1955 season when the Bruins played in the Rose Bowl. He teammed with Hardiman Cureton to form one of the nation's top guard tandems. UCLA went 18-2 in Brown's two seasons.
LAST GAME -- UCLA opened the 2006 season with a 31-10 victory over Emerald Bowl champion Utah, which had won its last four games against Pac-10 schools.
The Bruin offense produced 425 yards, led by quarterback Ben Olson. Making his first start as a Bruin and his first start anywhere since 2001, when he was a high school senior, Olson showed the poise of a veteran. He completed 25 of 33 passes for 318 yards and three touchdowns. He completed his first nine passes and his first eight were to eight different receivers. His 318 yards were the most by a UCLA quarterback making his first start since Tommy Maddox threw for 353 at Michigan in 1990 and third-highest on the first start list (Steve Bono threw for 399 versus BYU in 1983 but UCLA lost both of those games).
Ten different Bruins made receptions, led by tight end Logan Paulsen's five for 90 yards. Matt Willis made four receptions for 40 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown, and both Brandon Breazell (49 yards) and Chris Markey (45 yards) made three receptions. Marcus Everett and Ryan Moya made the other touchdown receptions.
UCLA added 107 yards on the ground, led by Kahlil Bell (34) and Markey (32). UCLA did not commit a turnover and did not allow a quarterback sack.
Defensively, UCLA allowed just 287 yards, 79 in the second half when it outscored Utah 17-0. The yardage total was the lowest by an opponent in a season opener since 2003, when Colorado had 245 yards and the point total was the lowest in a season opener since 1999 (Boise State - 7). UCLA held Utah to zero for 11 on third-down conversions and the point total was Utah's lowest since 2003.
UCLA played nickel and dime packages extensively against the Utes' spread offense and allowed just 175 yards passing and 112 yards rushing. The rushing total was the lowest by a Bruin opponent since Wyoming had just 76 in the 2004 Las Vegas Bowl.
Dennis Keyes led the Bruins with seven tackles (one for loss) and two pass breakups while Chris Horton added five solo tackles. Rodney Van and Aaron Whittington (two for losses) had four tackles each. Kevin Brown (two for losses) and Nikola Dragovic, both returning from season-ending injuries a year ago, had three tackles each.
True freshman Alterraun Verner returned an interception for a touchdown and recovered a fumble and Trey Brown made the fourth interception of his career. UCLA took the opening kickoff and moved right down the field, scoring a touchdown on a 16-yard pass from Olson to Ryan Moya to cap a 79-yard drive. On it's next drive, UCLA drove from it's own three-yard line to the Ute 20 before a dropped pass and a penalty resulted in a missed field goal.
Tied at 7-7 with 2:16 to go in the first half, Verner intercepted a pass and returned it 34 yards for the go-ahead score. UCLA led 14-10 at halftime and outscored Utah 17-0 in the second half, highlighted by the defense holding the Utes to just 79 yards and Olson firing touchdown passes of 19 yards to Willis and nine yards to Everett.