Football Notes: UCLA Visits No. 8/9 USC
Nov. 26, 2007
GAME #12 -- UCLA (6-5, 5-3 in Pac-10 play) travels across town for to conclude the regular season against USC (9-2, 6-2 in Pac-10 play) in the Los Angeles Coliseum on Saturday, December 1. The Trojans are ranked No. 8 by AP and No. 9 by ESPN/USA Today. Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m. The game will be nationally televised by ABC with Terry Gannon, David Norrie and Jeannine Edwards calling the action. AM 570 (KLAC) and the Bruin Radio Network (Chris Roberts, Matt Stevens and Wayne Cook) broadcasts all of the Bruin games. Sirius satellite radio will air the game nationally (Channel 126) as will ESPN Radio.
BOWL SCENARIOS -- If UCLA defeats USC and Arizona defeats Arizona State, UCLA will advance to the Rose Bowl (that scenario creates a four-way tie between UCLA, USC, ASU and either Oregon or Oregon State and UCLA has the tie-breakers in those cases). If USC defeats UCLA, USC advances to the Rose Bowl. If UCLA defeats USC and Arizona State defeats Arizona, Arizona State advances to the Rose Bowl.Other bowl possibilities (Pacific Life Holiday, Brut Sun, Emerald, Pioneer Las Vegas, Bell Helicopter Armed Forces) would be determined based on UCLA's finish in the Pac-10 standings. In case of ties in the standings, the bowl has the choice.
SERIES WITH USC -- The Bruins trail in the series, which dates back to 1929, by a 28-41-7 count. UCLA owns a 9-7 overall advantage in the last 16 meetings (since 1991). The Bruins are 5-7-1 in games played in the LA Coliseum since UCLA left that venue in 1982 to make the Rose Bowl its home field. The Bruins last win in the Coliseum came in the 1997 season by the score of 31-24.
In last year's contest, the Bruins posted a 13-9 win over then No. 2 USC. UCLA got on the scoreboard first on a one-yard run by quarterback Patrick Cowan with 1:35 left in the first quarter. The Trojans were awarded two points early in the second quarter after a holding penalty on UCLA was called in the end zone. The Trojans took a 9-7 halftime lead on a one-yard run with 51 seconds left in the second quarter. Two Justin Medlock field goal, one in the third quarter and one in the fourth quarter, pushed UCLA back into the lead at 13-9. UCLA's Eric McNeal tipped and then intercepted a Trojan pass with 1:10 remaining in the fourth quarter proved to be the game clincher. The Bruin defense shut out the Trojans in the second half and in the process snapped their NCAA record 63-game streak of scoring 20 or more points in a game.
Prior to last year's game, USC had won seven straight in the series which followed a string of eight consecutive UCLA victories.
SENIORS -- The following 23 seniors are scheduled to make their final regular-season appearance in Los Angeles: OL Brian Abraham, WR Brandon Breazell, DT Kevin Brown, CB Trey Brown, WR Joe Cowan, DE Bruce Davis, DE Nikola Dragovic, LB Fred Holmes, S Chris Horton, OL P.J. Irvin, OL Chris Joseph, S Dennis Keyes, RB Chris Markey, RB Chad Moline, RB Michael Pitre, LS Brian Rubinstein, KR/S Matthew Slater, TE William Snead, OL Noah Sutherland, LB Christian Taylor, OL Shannon Tevaga, CB Rodney Van, LB Aaron Whittington.
LAST GAME -- UCLA used a dominating defense, three field goals by Kai Forbath and a 20-yard touchdown run by Craig Sheppard to defeat No. 9 Oregon, 16-0, at the Rose Bowl on Nov. 24. The victory was the Bruins' sixth of the season, making them bowl eligible.
UCLA took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter when Forbath kicked a 54-yard field goal, the longest ever by a Bruin freshman and third longest in school history. He added a 31-yard field goal in the second quarter to give the Bruins a 6-0 halftime lead.
Forbath's third field goal, from 28 yards late in the third quarter, made the score 9-0 and Sheppard's 20-yard scoring run with 5:29 left in the game increased the margin to 16-0.
UCLA's defense produced the first shut out of Oregon in 267 games and allowed the Ducks just 148 net yards (105 passing and 43 rushing). Three Oregon quarterbacks completed just 11 of 39 passes and threw three interceptions. The last time the Bruins held a team to fewer yards was the 1989 Cotton Bowl, when Arkansas gained just 42 net yards. UCLA forced four turnovers (three interceptions and one fumble) and did not let Oregon inside the Bruin 35-yard line.
Christian Taylor led the way with 13 tackles, including one sack and 3.5 tackles for loss. Bret Lockett and Tom Blake made six stops each while Reggie Carter (three for loss, including one sack), Kyle Bosworth and Alterraun Verner each made five tackles. Verner and Trey Brown made their fourth interceptions of the year while Dennis Keyes made his third. Kenneth Lombard recovered a fumble.
Offensively, Chris Markey rushed for 91 yards on 30 carries and Craig Sheppard added 49 yards, including his 20-yard score, on eight attempts. Ben Olson played the entire second half, his first action since Oct. 6, and completed four of 10 passes for 64 yards. Brandon Breazell (50 yards) and Ryan Graves (14 yards) made two catches each.
UCLA has defeated three of its last four Top 10-ranked opponents. It defeated Oregon (No. 9 AP, No. 10 USA Today/ESPN) on Nov. 24, California (No. 10 AP, T-No. 9 USA Today/ESPN) on October 20 and No. 2 USC on December 2, 2006. It lost to Arizona State (No. 9), 24-20, on Nov. 10 of this year.
In fact, UCLA has won five of its last six home games played against AP ranked opponents with wins over Oregon (2007-9th), Cal (twice, 2005-10th, 2007-10th), USC (2006-2nd) and Oklahoma (2005-21st) and the loss to ASU (2007-9th).
UCLA has outscored its conference opponents in the fourth quarter by an 91-42 margin this season. The Bruins have shut out five of the last six conference opponents (Oregon /7-0, ASU/ 0-0, Arizona/10-0, California/10-0, Oregon State/28-0) in the final quarter.
UCLA utilized nine players in the game against Oregon who began 2007 Fall camp as walk-on athletes --- OL Micah Reed, TE Travis Martin, FB Trevor Theriot, RB Craig Sheppard, KOR Chris Meadows, DE Tom Blake, LB Joshua Edwards, KO Jimmy Rotstein, special teams Chad Moline.
UCLA has turned the ball over the fewest times of any team in Pac-10 conference games with 12 turnovers (tied with Arizona State).
In 11 games, opponents have converted 52 of 184 (28.4%) third down opportunities and UCLA ranks second (tied) in the nation and first in the Pac-10 in that category. Stanford converted four of 18 third-down conversion attempts while BYU was six of 16 and Utah was five of 16. Washington converted four of 16 attempts. Oregon State was one of 14 on third down opportunities. Notre Dame converted three of 17 third-down attempts. California converted seven of 15 opportunities and Washington State was successful on eight of 18 chances. Arizona converted just three of 14 opportunities. ASU converted six of 18 chances. Oregon converted five of 22 third-down attempts. 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 has held its 11 opponents to 1,154 net rushing yards on 395 attempts (2.9 average) and ranks 15th in the nation (104.91) in rushing defense. The Bruins allowed Stanford 52 net yards rushing on 26 attempts (2.0 average), BYU just 44 net yards on 25 attempts, Utah 122 on 37 attempts, Washington had 124 on 32 attempts, Oregon State had 102 on 38 attempts, Notre Dame had 46 on 38 attempts and California netted 67 yards on 30 attempts (Cal was averaging 196.2 yards entering the game). WSU ran for a season-high 274 yards on 51 attempts and Arizona had 128 yards on 34 attempts. Arizona State gained 152 yards on 45 attempts. Oregon gained just 43 net yards on 39 attempts. 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.
The crowd of 72,986 at the BYU game (Sept. 8) was the highest for a home opener since the 2001 opener versus Ohio State (73,723). It was also UCLA's best non-conference crowd since that Ohio State game.
In 2007, UCLA drew 72,986 (BYU), 72,124 (Washington), 78,543 (Notre Dame), 83,494 (California), 78,690 (Arizona State) and 72,434 (Oregon) for its six home games. It is the first time since moving to the Rose Bowl that UCLA drew at least 70,000 for each game. The average of 76, 378 is a new record, breaking the old mark of 73,709, set in 1998.
The crowd of 83,484 for California was UCLA's largest for a non-USC game since Nov. 12, 2005, when it drew 84,983 for Arizona State.
Under Karl Dorrell, 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). The Bruins are 20-2 when they hold the opponent under 20 points, including the last 16 times.
Against Washington and Oregon State, UCLA scored 40 points in back-to-back games (44 vs. Washington, 40 vs. Oregon State) for the first time since the middle of the 2005 season when it scored 40 or more in three straight games.
Under Karl Dorrell, UCLA's home record is 24-7 (.774). UCLA's 10-game home winning streak in 2005-06 was its longest since 1997-1999, when it won 13 consecutive home games. The Bruins have captured wins in 16 of the last 19 games played at home in the Rose Bowl.
UCLA is 23-2 when it wins the turnover battle under head coach Karl Dorrell, including 5-0 (Stanford, BYU, Oregon State, California, Oregon) in 2007. It is 12-24 when it ties or loses the turnover battle, including 1-5 (Utah, Washington, Notre Dame, Washington State, Arizona, Arizona State) in 2007.
Oregon gained only 148 net yards, the best effort by a Bruin defense since holding Arkansas to 42 net yards in the 1989 Cotton Bowl.
Against Oregon State, UCLA finished with 133 net yards rushing against a defense that had allowed just 118 net yards in its first four games.
UCLA held Cal to 299 net yards. The Golden Bears entered the game averaging 434.7 yards per game.
UCLA's 624 yards of total offense in the 2007 opener versus Stanford was the 11th highest total in school history. It is 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). The last time the Bruins scored more points in a Pac-10 road game was the 1998 Arizona contest (52-28).
UCLA's 338 rushing yards against Stanford were the most by the team since the 2004 Washington contest (424 yards).
UCLA's 28 points in the fourth quarter at Oregon State tied the school record for points in a quarter. (since 1958). It had been done 12 other times since 1958, most recently in the second quarter against Rice in 2005.
Against Washington, 18 of UCLA's final 19 offensive plays (all in the fourth quarter) were runs and those plays produced 157 yards, one touchdown and two field goals.
Eight of UCLA's 2007 opponents played in a bowl game following the 2006 season. Only Florida had more regular-season opponents earn bowl berths (10).
UCLA ended USC's streak of 63 straight games of scoring 20 or more points on Dec. 2, 2006 when it held the Trojans to nine points in a 13-9 victory.
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.
UCLA is 6-1 all-time in overtime, including a couple of 2005 wins in extra time --- a 30-27 single overtime win at Stanford and a 44-41 single overtime win at Washington State. Head coach Karl Dorrell is 3-0 in overtime, defeating California in 2003 and Washington State and Stanford in 2005.
In the last seven seasons (2000-2006), UCLA has produced seven consensus All-Americans (2000, WR Freddie Mitchell; 2001, LB Robert Thomas; 2003 DE Dave Ball; 2005 TE Marcedes Lewis and KR Maurice Drew; 2006 DE Justin Hickman and PK Justin Medlock). Only one other school (USC) in the Pac-10 has produced more and UCLA's total is two ahead of third-place California. UCLA has produced 16 consensus All-America selections in the last 15 years (1992-2006), just two fewer than USC and eight more than No. 3 Arizona.
UCLA was one of eight schools to have two or more consensus All-Americans (Justin Hickman and Justin Medlock) in 2006 and the only school not ranked in the final Top 25. The others schools were: Michigan and Ohio State, three each; California, Tennessee, Texas, USC and West Virginia, two each.
UCLA PLAYER / COACH NOTES
UCLA is playing without numerous starters on both offense and defense.Offensively, fullback Michael Pitre has missed 10 games and played a handful of snaps in one game. Quarterback Ben Olson, (head, knee) has missed five full games and most of a sixth. Quarterback Pat Cowan (hamstring, knee) has played in just four games - both quarterbacks have not been healthy at the same time all year. Starting wide receiver Marcus Everett (ankle) has missed the last five games and seven of the last eight (he played a handful of snaps versus Notre Dame) and is out for the year. Guard Shannon Tevaga (knee) missed two games and most of a third but returned to the starting lineup against California. Tailback Chris Markey (turf toe) missed the Notre Dame game and most of the California contest and sprained his foot/ankle early versus Arizona. Tailback Kahlil Bell (knee) was injured in the first quarter at Washington State and is lost for the season. Wide receiver Brandon Breazell (multiple rib contusions) was injured in the second quarter at Washington State but returned versus Arizona.
Defensively, tackle Brigham Harwell (knee) has missed the last nine games and is out for the year. End Nikola Dragovic (groin, hip) has played in just one of the last nine games and is out for the season. Tackle Jess Ward, Harwell's replacement, missed three games (Washington State, Arizona, Arizona State) and most of the Oregon contest. Tackle Chase Moline (neck) has missed the last six games. Linebacker Christian Taylor (concussion) did not play at Washington State.
Osaar Rasshan's start at quarterback against Arizona State marked the first time since the 2002 season that UCLA has started three different players in the quarterback position. He will be the first Bruin QB to start consecutive home games this season. In 2002, Cory Paus started games 1-7, Matt Moore started game 8, Drew Olson started games 9-13.
Redshirt senior Bruce Davis now has 26.5 career sacks to rank second (tied) in school history. This season he has 9.5 sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss, a fumble caused and a fumble recovery. He ranks second (tied) in the Pac-10 and T-14th in the nation in sacks per game (0.86).
Davis is the nation's leading returning sack specialist, based on his sacks in the 2006 season. He ranked fourth (tied) in the NCAA and tied for first in the Pac-10 in sacks (12.5 - 0.96 ave.) and 18th nationally and second in the Pac-10 in tackles for losses (1.35 ave.).He has been selected one of 15 semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award, presented to the nation's top defensive player.
With his three sacks at Arizona, Bruce Davis raised his season total to 9.5, which ranks 10th on the UCLA all-time single season list. Added to his total of 12.5 sacks last season, Davis has registered 22 sacks during the last two seasons which is second only to Dave Ball (27.5 in 2002-03) for the most ever by a Bruin in back-to-back campaigns.