UCLA FB Rewind: Bruins Take Down Top-10 Opponents
October 8, 2005 – California at UCLA
A Rose Bowl crowd of over 84,000 fans was entertained by a thrilling come-from-behind Bruin effort keyed by running back Maurice Jones-Drew's five touchdown performance. The contest marked the first battle between the UC schools while each owned a top-20 national ranking since the 1950's. The victory over No. 10-ranked California was UCLA's first over a top-10 ranked opponent since 2001 and improved their season records to 5-0 and 2-0 in conference action.
After Cal had surged to a 14-0 advantage, UCLA responded on a Drew Olson to Joe Cowan scoring pass with 4 minutes left in the initial quarter. Jones-Drew tallied for the first time just a few seconds into the second quarter to even the score. Following three straight Golden Bear scoring drives, Jones-Drew ran into the end zone again in the final seconds of the quarter from 1 yard out to move UCLA within six points, 27-21, at the break.
In the third quarter, Jones-Drew continued his magical performance with an 81-yard punt return for a score, his third punt return for a touchdown on the season. The UCLA lead was short-lived as Cal tallied twice in the third quarter and at the beginning of the fourth to open up a 40-28 edge with 12:55 remaining.
As the clock approached the 8-minute mark, UCLA converted on a fourth down with a fake punt as Michael Pitre handed off to Jarrad Page who ran for a 38-yard gain. Olson ran it in from 1 yard out at the 7:31 mark to pull the Bruins to within five, 40-35.
The Bruin defense stiffened and forced a Cal punt with just over 2:30 on the clock. Olson connected with Marcus Everett for 47 yards over a couple of completions and then found Jones-Drew for a 28-yard touchdown reception to put UCLA in front. A two-point conversion attempt failed and the Bruins owned a 41-40 lead with 1:35 to play.
Cal's subsequent drive was terminated on a Trey Brown interception and Jones-Drew matched his own school record with a 2-yard run as time expired. Jones-Drew finished with 299 yards of total offense on the night. Safety Dennis Keyes led UCLA's defense with nine tackles while linebacker Spencer Havner added nine to go with a sack.
October 10, 1998 – UCLA at Arizona
In a highly-anticipated matchup featuring a pair of top-10 teams, the UCLA offense exploded late for 28 straight points to blow open a close game and secure a win over No. 10 Arizona before almost 60,000 fans in Tucson.
Arizona put points on the board first aided by a fake punt and grabbed a 7-0 lead with just under 5 minutes left in the opening quarter. A couple of minutes later, running back DeShaun Foster bounced outside and banged his way into the end zone after a 37-yard jaunt. The Wildcats answered quickly on a long pass play and a short touchdown to move back in front 14-7.
UCLA began the scoring in the second quarter as quarterback Cade McNown hit receiver Brian Poli-Dixon on a 14-yard scoring play to even the game. The teams then traded touchdown drives to finish off the half tied at 21-21. Foster found the end zone for UCLA, this time on a short run.
In the third quarter, Chris Sailer's 41-yard field goal lifted UCLA in front for the first time in the contest. However, a couple of possessions later, Arizona reclaimed the lead, 28-24, on a scoring pass. On the next drive, the UCLA offense found the right gear and McNown finished off a scoring drive with a 3-yard run with 20 seconds remaining in the quarter.
Two plays after Arizona missed a potential game-tying field goal attempt, McNown connected with receiver Danny Farmer on a 64-yard bomb to up the UCLA edge to 38-28 with 11:18 to go. On the first play following a Wildcat punt, running back Keith Brown raced 54 yards for a touchdown and the Bruins went ahead 45-28. After a Bruin interception, Brown went 20 yards for yet another touchdown and a 52-28 cushion. When the desert dust had settled, UCLA had scored three touchdowns on three straight plays from scrimmage.
The win improved UCLA's records to 4-0 and 2-0 in the conference and the following week elevated the Bruins to No. 2 in the nation polls. Arizona would go on to win 11 games that season with the loss to UCLA being the only blemish on their record. UCLA finished 10-2 in 1998, but posted a perfect 8-0 mark in league action to claim the Pac-10 title.