Aug. 22, 2008
BRUINS KICK OFF 2008 SEASON VS. TENNESSEE AT THE ROSE BOWL ON SEPT. 1 On ESPN
Fireworks Show to Follow Game
Game time is 5:15 pm
2008 SEASON OPENER -- UCLA opens its 90th season of football with a Labor Day evening game against Tennessee in the Rose Bowl. Kickoff on Monday, Sept. 1 is scheduled for approx. 5:15 p.m. and the game will be televised nationally by ESPN (Mike Patrick, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe). 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 and Sports USA Radio Network (Larry Kahn, Terry Donahue, John Robinson and Troy West). In addition, UCLA will produce a Spanish-language broadcast of the game that can be heard on uclabruins.com. Following the game, FSN Prime Ticket will air "Bruins Live" and "Lexus Gauntlet Live" from the Rose Bowl.
The Bruins have opened the 1996 (L, 20-35 in Knoxville), 1994 (W, 25-23 in Rose Bowl), 1989 (L, 6-24 in Rose Bowl), 1974 (17-17 in Knoxville), and 1967 (W, 20-16 in Los Angeles) seasons against the Volunteers. Rick Neuheisel will become the third Bruin head coach to begin his UCLA coaching career against Tennessee. Bob Toledo coached his first game at UT in 1996 (35-20 loss). Dick Vermeil took the field for his first Bruin game at Tennessee in 1974 (17-17 tie).
The Bruins are 58-26-5 overall in season-opening games. UCLA won 45-17 at Stanford in last year's opener for its third straight season-opening win (2005, won 44-21 at San Diego State; 2006, won 31-10 over Utah in Rose Bowl).
SERIES WITH TENNESSEE -- The Bruins trail in the series by a 4-7-2 margin, but have won three of the five series games played in Los Angeles.
Tennessee captured the last meeting in the series, played on Sept. 6, 1997, by a score of 30-24 in a contest played in the Rose Bowl. The third-ranked Volunteers jumped out to a 24-0 lead in that game, thanks in part to a couple of Peyton Manning touchdown passes. However, the Bruins scored 18 straight fourth quarter points to narrow the margin to 27-24 with 7:33 to play. A UT field goal made it 30-24 with 4:42 remaining. The Bruins then had two more chances to impact the outcome. UCLA drove to the Volunteer 21-yard line before fumbling away that opportunity. In the final seconds of the battle, the Bruins drove to the Tennessee 20-yard line before giving the ball up on downs. Manning, a senior that season, finished with 341 passing yards for UT. Bruin junior quarterback Cade McNown threw for 400 yards. The Bruins would go on to win the next 20 games in a row over two seasons and the next 13 straight home games over the following three seasons.
UCLA's last win in the series came in 1994, when the 14th-ranked Bruins bested 13th-ranked UT 25-23 in the Rose Bowl. A Bruin field goal with 13:06 left to play in the fourth quarter extended the home team's advantage to 18-0. Tennessee quarterback Todd Helton, now a MLB star with the Colorado Rockies, then directed a couple of scoring drives and threw for a pair of two-point conversions to make it 18-16 with 6:41 to play. UCLA was forced to punt on its next possession and the boot pinned the Volunteers down at their own one-yard line with just over three minutes to play. Six plays later, Bruin linebacker Donnie Edwards intercepted a Helton pass, giving the Bruins the ball at the Tennessee 32-yard line. Running back Daron Washington found the end zone on a third-and-eight play from 30 yards out to put the Bruins up 30-16 with 1:34 remaining. Tennessee tallied with 10 seconds left to make the final score 25-23. Senior quarterback Wayne Cook threw for a then-career best 295 yards in the contest.
HEAD COACH Rick Neuheisel
Rick Neuheisel, who quarterbacked UCLA to victory in the 1984 Rose Bowl and who compiled a record of 66-30 as a collegiate head coach, is now his alma mater's head football coach.
The energetic and personable Neuheisel returns to the collegiate ranks after spending the past three seasons in the NFL. In his eight years as a college head coach at the University of Colorado and the University of Washington, he fashioned a record of 66-30, winning at least 10 games on three occasions and finishing in the Top 10 three times, while leading his teams to seven bowl games. His winning percentage of .688 places him No. 17 among active coaches with at least five years in the Football Bowl Subdivision. He was also recognized as one of the nation's top recruiters during his college coaching days.
Neuheisel spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach for the NFL's Baltimore Ravens. He served as quarterbacks coach in 2005 and 2006 and in January of 2007, was promoted to offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach.
During his four seasons (1999-2002) as head coach at the University of Washington, Neuheisel led the Huskies to a record of 33-16 (.673) and four bowl games (one Rose Bowl, two Holiday Bowls and one Sun Bowl). His Pac-10 record was 23-9 (.719) and Washington won one league title and finished second twice in those four seasons. In 2000, Neuheisel led the Huskies to an 11-1 record, a first-place finish in the Pac-10 and a victory in the 2001 Rose Bowl.
During his four seasons (1995-98) as head coach at the University of Colorado, Neuheisel won 33 of 47 games (.702), including all three bowl appearances. His 20-4 record in his first two seasons at Colorado were the fifth-most wins at the time for a first-time head coach in the Football Bowl Subdivision (Division IA). Neuheisel spent the 1994 season as a Colorado assistant coach under Bill McCartney after going to CU from UCLA.
Neuheisel spent six seasons (1988-93) as an assistant coach at his alma mater. During his final four years he tutored the wide receivers, helping to develop some of UCLA's all-time great receivers, such as J.J. Stokes, Kevin Jordan and Sean LaChapelle.
Neuheisel joined the UCLA staff full-time in 1988 and coached quarterbacks for two seasons, including NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman's senior year (1988). Aikman earned consensus All-America honors and finished third in the Heisman Trophy race, completing a school-record 228 passes (since broken) for 2,771 yards, a .644 percentage and a school-record 24 touchdowns (since broken). Aikman was the No. 1 selection in the 1989 NFL Draft.
In 1986, he served as a volunteer coach and his major assignment was to teach the offense to a transfer from Oklahoma who had to sit out the 1986 season - Aikman. Neuheisel began his collegiate career at UCLA (1979-83) as a walk-on, holding for place kicker John Lee, and earned the starting quarterback job during his senior season (1983). In his final game as a Bruin, he overcame food poisoning to lead UCLA to a 45-9 victory against Illinois in the 1984 Rose Bowl. He was named the game's MVP after throwing for 298 yards and four touchdowns.
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-confernece 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
* Overall, the 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 are 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
WHO's BACK -- UCLA returns:
Four Offensive Starters
Five Defensive Starters
Four of Its Top Five Rushers from 2007
(#1 Kahlil Bell-795 yds.; #3 Chane Moline-196; #4 Craig Sheppard-133; #5 Osaar Rasshan-109)
Five of Its Top Seven Receivers
(#3 Dominique Johnson-25 catches; #4 Terrence Austin-17; #5 Kahlil Bell-13; #6 Logan Paulsen- 12; #7 Marcus Everett-10)
Five of It's Top Seven Receiving Yardage Leaders
(#3 Dominique Johnson-322 yards; #4 Terrence Austin-248; #5 Logan Paulsen-144; #6 Marcus Everett-134; #7 Kahlil Bell-93)
Two of Its Top Five Tacklers
(#4 Alterraun Verner-75 tackles; #5 Kyle Bosworth-74)
Three of Its Top Seven Tackles for Loss Leaders
(#3 Reggie Carter-12.0; #4 Korey Bosworth-8.5; #T5 Brian Price-7.0)
Top Three Scorers
(#1 Kai Forbath-105 points; #2 Kahlil Bell-30; #3(tied) Dominique Johnson-24)
Top Punt Returner
(Terrence Austin- 31 returns for 311 yards, 10.0 avg.)
Top Field Goal Kicker
(Kai Forbath- 25/30 field goals made)
(Aaron Perez-91 kicks for 42.3 avg.)
TEAM NOTES --
BRUIN DEFENSIVE NOTES
* Has held 13 opponents over the last two 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 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.
* UCLA's 624 yards of total offense in the 2007 opener versus Stanford was the 11th-highest total in school history.
* It was the most ever in a Bruin season opener and the most in any game since the 2005 Arizona State game (660 yards).
* UCLA's 45 points versus Stanford were the most in a season opener since 1998 when it scored 49 to open the season versus Texas at the Rose Bowl.
* It is also the most points scored by UCLA in a season opener on the road (UCLA scored 44 at San Diego State in 2005).
* Over the last five 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 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.