Football Notes: UCLA Takes On BYU In Las Vegas Bowl

Dec. 11, 2007


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GAME #13 - UCLA (6-6, 5-4 in Pac-10 play - T-4th place) travels to Las Vegas to face Mountain West Conference champion BYU (10-2, 8-0) in the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium on Saturday, December 22. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:00 pm PT. This will be the third trip to the Las Vegas Bowl for the Bruins. UCLA bested New Mexico (27-13) in the 2002 game and lost to Wyoming (24-21) in the 2004 contest. The BYU Cougars are ranked No. 19 by both AP and ESPN/USA Today. The game will be nationally televised by ESPN with Brad Nessler, Bob Griese, Paul Maguire and Bonnie Bernstein calling the action. AM 570 (KLAC) and the Bruin Radio Network (Chris Roberts, Matt Stevens and Wayne Cook) broadcasts all of the Bruin games. Isaac Lowenkron will handle play by play of the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl while Roberts works the UCLA-Michigan basketball game on the same day. Sports USA Radio Network will produce a national radio broadcast.

BOWLING - The Bruins have now qualified to play in a bowl game in 10 of the last 11 seasons, including 2007. UCLA will be playing in a bowl for the sixth straight year (only USC among Pac-10 schools has a streak as long). UCLA played in a bowl game in 18 of the last 25 years prior to 2007. It has compiled a record of 11-7 in its last 18 appearances. UCLA's 11 bowl wins in the last 25 years rank No. 1 in the Pac-10. Only Florida State, Miami, Penn State, Georgia, Tennessee, Auburn, Alabama, and Michigan have won more bowl games than the Bruins in that span. UCLA leads all Pac-10 schools in bowl victories during that span, two more than USC and Washington (nine each).

POST-SEASON HONORS - Strong safety Chris Horton was named a first-team All-American by The Sporting News. Kick returner MATTHEW SLATER earned first-team All-America honors from and third-team acclaim from Defensive end Bruce Davis and cornerback Trey Brown were second-team All-Americans on the Walter Camp Football Foundation team. Defensive tackle Brian Price earned second-team Freshman All-America honors from and while place kicker Kai Forbath earned second-team Freshman All-America acclaim from The Sporting News.

UCLA had two players named to the first-team All-Pacific-10 Conference team for 2007. Strong safety Chris Horton and kickoff return man MATTHEW SLATER each merited first-team honors. Defensive end Bruce Davis was named to the second-team. The honorable mention All-Conference list included six Bruins: defensive tackle Kevin Brown, cornerback Trey Brown, place kicker Kai Forbath, free safety Dennis Keyes, punter Aaron Perez and cornerback Alterraun Verner

Center Chris Joseph was also named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America first team for the second consecutive year. In addition, Joseph and cornerback Alterraun Verner were chosen to the first-team 2007 All-Academic District VIII team. It is the third straight season in which Joseph has been named to the District team.

Nine Bruins were selected to the 2007 Pac-10 All-Academic team. JOSEPH and VERNER were first-team selections, offensive tackle Aleksey Lanis, fullback TREVOT THERIOT, punter Aaron Perez and kickoff specialist Jimmy Rotstein were second-team choices while place kicker Kai Forbath, tight end Logan Paulsen and offensive lineman Noah Sutherland earned honorable mention.

SERIES WITH BYU - The Bruins lead the overall series, which dates back to 1983, by a 7-1 count. UCLA has won the last seven meetings.Earlier this season (Sept. 8), UCLA built a 20-0 lead in the second quarter, saw BYU draw to within three points in the third quarter, and then scored the game-clinching touchdown with 1:12 remaining in the game to defeat BYU 27-17 and snap the Cougars' 11-game winning streak.UCLA was leading 3-0 when cornerback Trey Brown stepped in front of the intended receiver, picked off a pass and returned it 56 yards for a 10-0 lead late in the first quarter. Early in the second period, UCLA took over on the BYU 47-yard line. Four Kahlil Bell runs later, the score was 17-0 with Bell scoring from the four-yard line. Later in the quarter, Kai Forbath converted a 40-yard field goal for a 20-0 lead and the score was 20-3 at halftime.

The Cougars scored touchdowns on their first two possessions of the second half, the second set up by an interception, to close to within 20-17. Early in the fourth quarter, BYU reached the Bruin 13-yard line but Bruce Davis forced a fumble and Tom Blake recovered it to halt that threat.

With 4:53 remaining in the game, UCLA took possession on the BYU 45-yard line and took 3:40 off the clock while driving for the clinching touchdown, a three-yard run by Chris Markey, with 1:12 left. BYU could get no closer than its own 45-yard line on its final possession.Defensively, UCLA held the Cougars to 44 net yards on 25 rushing attempts but BYU did throw for 391 yards. Dennis Keyes led the Bruins with 10 tackles while Bruce Davis added seven, including two sacks and a forced fumble, and Christian Taylor made six stops. Trey Brown made five tackles, returned an interception 56 yards for a score, recovered a fumble and broke up five passes. Chris Horton also made five tackles and forced a fumble.

Offensively, UCLA was held to just 236 yards, 126 passing and 110 rushing. Ben Olson completed 13 of 28 passes for 126 yards, with Marcus Everett making five catches (66 yards) and Brandon Breazell four (35 yards). Kahlil Bell led the ground game with 79 yards and one score and Chris Markey added 50 yards and the clinching touchdown.

UCLA has defeated three of its last five 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 and to USC (No. 8 AP, No. 9 USA Today/ESPN) on Dec. 1. BYU will be the fourth straight ranked team to take on the Bruins to close out the 2007 season.

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 outscored its conference opponents in the fourth quarter by an 91-49 margin this season. The Bruins shut out five of the final seven conference opponents (Oregon /7-0, ASU/ 0-0, Arizona/10-0, California/10-0, Oregon State/28-0) in the final quarter.

UCLA utilized 10 players in the game against USC 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, defensive end Kenneth Lombard.

In 12 games, opponents have converted 57 of 199 (28.6%) third down opportunities and UCLA ranks third (tied) in the nation and second 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 and USC was five of 16 on third down. 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 12 opponents to 1,385 net rushing yards on 444 attempts (3.1 average) and ranks 25th in the nation (115.42) 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. USC rushed for 231 yards on 49 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.

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). 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.

Over the last five seasons, 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 over the past five seasons, including 5-0 (Stanford, BYU, Oregon State, California, Oregon) in 2007. It is 12-25 when it ties or loses the turnover battle, including 1-6 (Utah, Washington, Notre Dame, Washington State, Arizona, Arizona State, USC) 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.

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.

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 is playing without numerous starters on both offense and defense.

Offensively, fullback Michael Pitre has missed 11 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 five games - both quarterbacks have not been healthy at the same time all year. Starting wide receiver Marcus Everett (ankle) has missed the last six games and eight of the last nine (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 10 games and is out for the year. End Nikola Dragovic (groin, hip) has played in just one of the last 10 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 seven 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, 12.0 tackles for loss, a fumble caused and a fumble recovery. He ranks third (tied) in the Pac-10 and T-18th in the nation in sacks per game (0.79).Davis was 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.

After hitting his third field goal of 50 or more yards this season in the game Oregon, Kai Forbath is third on the all-time list of UCLA kickers with field goals of 50 or more yards ---first are Justin Medlock and John Lee - 4 each. He has also tied a school record with three kicks of 50 or more yards in the same season (Medlock did it in 2004, including two in one game at Oregon). He is the only Bruin freshman to have three field goals of at least 50 yards and his 54-yard field goal versus Oregon is the longest ever by a Bruin freshman and third longest in UCLA history.

With his 89-yard touchdown against Arizona State, kickoff returner MATTHEW SLATER has set a UCLA season and career record with his three touchdowns. He has also tied the Pac-10 record of three, set by USC's Anthony Davis in 1974.Slater has set UCLA season records for returns (30), yards (928) and touchdowns (three) and his 928 yards rank fifth on UCLA's career yardage list.

Punt returner Terrence Austin, with 30 returns in 2007, is tied for third on UCLA's single-season list. He is averaging 10.4 yards on his 30 returns.

Senior running back Chris Markey became just the fifth player in school history to rush for at least 190 yards in a game twice in a career after his 193-yard effort versus Washington. He ranks fourth in UCLA history in career all-purpose yardage with 4,103 yards, ninth in career rushing with 2,616 yards and first among running backs with 67 career receptions. He is also 12th in the Pac-10 in rushing (54.4).

Redshirt senior safety Dennis Keyes leads the team with 106 tackles and his average of 8.83 is fourth in the Pac-10. His 106 tackles are the most by a Bruin since 2004, when Spencer Havner made 125 in 11 games. He made a career-high 19 tackles against USC and made 14 tackles against Arizona State and also led the Bruins with 10 tackles against BYU and California. He has made 62 tackles in the last six games (10.3). Keyes returned an interception 60 yards versus Washington for the first touchdown of his career. In 2006, he was third on the team with 79 tackles.

Redshirt senior safety Chris Horton is second on the squad with 83 stops. He made a career-high 16 tackles at Washington State and ranks T-22nd in the Pac-10 with his 6.92 average. In the last five contests, Horton has made 37 tackles. He was the Bruins' leading tackler in 2006 with 95 and was second on the team with three interceptions.

Linebacker Kyle Bosworth's 19 tackles at Washington State and safety DENNIS KEYES' 19 tackles at USC were the most by a Bruin since Eric Turner made 21 against Oregon on Nov. 11, 1989. That total also ranks eighth (tied) on UCLA's single-game list.

Redshirt senior cornerback Trey Brown is now the player with the most consecutive starts (42). Brown earned defensive Player of the Week honors after picking off two Oregon State passes. True senior Shannon Tevaga had his games started streak snapped at 34 straight games when he sat out the Washington game with a knee injury. Others with starting streaks of note include OL Chris Joseph (25), TE Logan Paulsen (21) on offense; on defense: DB Chris Horton (27), DL Bruce Davis (25), DB Dennis Keyes (25), DL Kevin Brown (24).

Cornerback Trey Brown is also the leader with the most career starts among current players (42). Offensive guard Shannon Tevaga has 40 to top the offense. Others with 23 or more career starts include: OL Chris Joseph (30), DL Kevin Brown (38), S Dennis Keyes (34), S Chris Horton (27).

Redshirt senior wide receiver Joe Cowan is one of just four players to have multiple career touchdown receptions of at least 77 yards. Danny Farmer had three and J.J. Stokes and Freddie Mitchell also had two.

Seven of Brandon Breazell's 11 career touchdown receptions have measured at least 23 yards -- 46, 23, 56, 35, 78, 69, 30 -- and he has also scored on kickoff returns of 42 and 45 yards.

Redshirt senior linebacker Christian Taylor ranks third on the team with 74 tackles (11 games) and first with 12.5 tackles for loss. In 2006, he made a total of 83 tackles to rank second on the team in 2006 and also ranked third with 4.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss.

Redshirt junior quarterback Ben Olson's five touchdown passes versus Stanford is tied for second on UCLA's single-game list, one shy of Drew Olson's mark of six, set against Oregon State in 2005.

True junior tailback Kahlil Bell would be fifth in the Pac-10 with an average of 99.38 yards per game (he does not have enought games to qualify due to injury). He rushed for 195 yards in the opener versus Stanford. That is the highest total by a Bruin in an opener. He also went over the 100 yard mark with 142 against California and 109 yards versus Washington.

When Chris Markey (193) and Kahlil Bell (109) both rushed for over 100 yards against Washington, it was the first time a pair of Bruins broke the century mark since the same duo did it against Rice in the second game of the 2006 season.

MATTHEW SLATER's 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown versus Washington was UCLA's first at the Rose Bowl since moving to the facility in 1982.

Patrick Cowan's 78-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Breazell in the 2006 Emerald Bowl was UCLA's longest offensive play from scrimmage and UCLA's longest since the 2005 Arizona State game, when Drew Olson and Joe Cowan combined for a 91-yard touchdown.

FRESHMEN - Two true freshmen, long snapper Christian Yount and defensive tackle Brian Price, have played in 2007. Eight true freshmen played in 2006. Seven played in the opener against Utah (DB Alterraun Verner, DB Jeremy McGee, WR Terrence Austin, WR Dominique Johnson, DB Christian Ramirez, RB Chane Moline, OL Micah Kia). DL Jerzy Siewierski made his debut against Stanford.Thirty-six true freshmen have now played during the last four-plus seasons. A school-record 12 played for the Bruins in 2004. Nine played in the 2005 season and five saw the field in 2003.

FIRST ACTION - Ten players saw action in their first game in the 2007 season-opener at Stanford (DL Tom Blake, LB Joshua Edwards, PK Kai Forbath, TE Tyler Holland, DB Chris Meadows, WR Osaar Rasshan, LS Christian Yount, DT Darius Savage, DB Matt Culver, QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson). DT Brian Price made his debut versus Washington. TB Craig Sheppard played on special teams versus Notre Dame and made his offensive debut against Arizona. TE Travis Martin played versus California. DT tackle David Carter played at Washington State. LB Tobi Umodu played special teams versus Arizona State.

FIRST STARTS - Place kicker Kai Forbath, offensive tackle Micah Kia and tight end Scott Glicksberg made the first starts of their careers in the 2007 opener at Stanford. Cornerback Alterraun Verner made his first non-nickel back start versus BYU. Fullback Brian Theriot, defensive end Tom Blake, defensive tackle Jess Ward and cornerback Michael Norris all made their first career start at Utah. Offensive guard P.J. Irvin, tailback Kahlil Bell and defensive end Korey Bosworth made their first starts versus Washington. Offensive guard Micah Reed made his first start against Notre Dame. Defensive tackle Brian Price made his first start at Washington State. Wide receiver Dominique Johnson made his first start at Arizona. Quarterback Osaar Rasshan and tailback Chane Moline made their first starts versus Arizona State.

UCLA's BOWL RECORD - UCLA enters the Las Vegas Bowl with an overall record of 13-14-1 in bowl games. UCLA was the first school in NCAA history to win a bowl game in seven consecutive seasons (1982-88).Here are the results of UCLA's 28 previous bowl games:

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