Game Notes: Cougars, Bruins to Battle Third Time in 370 Days

The Cougars secured a 17-16 victory over UCLA last season at the Las Vegas Bowl by blocking a last-seasond field goal. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

THE BYU-UCLA SERIES

Beating the Bruins has been something the Cougars have struggled with over the years. Entering the 2007 Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl, the Bruins enjoyed a 7-1 advantage over BYU, dating back to 1983. In fact, it had been 24 years since the Cougars had defeated UCLA. BYU’s 17-16 bowl victory ended the Bruins’ seven-game win streak over the Cougars and marked the first BYU victory since the 1983 season. The victory also avenged an early 2007 season loss to the Bruins -- one of only two losses the team suffered all year. The two teams will meet again on Saturday in Provo and will mark the third meeting between the two teams in a span of 370 days.

Oct. 1, 1983 -- BYU 37, UCLA 35 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

Steve Young threw 25-36 for 270 yards and two touchdowns.

Sep. 7, 1985 -- UCLA 27, BYU 24 at Cougar Stadium in Provo, Utah

BYU failed to hold on to a 3-point halftime lead, allowing 11 fourth quarter points.

Dec. 30, 1986 -- UCLA 31, BYU 10 at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim, Calif.

The Bruins won their second straight game over the Cougars in the two teams’ first Freedom Bowl appearances.

Sep. 7, 1991 -- BYU 23, UCLA 27 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

UCLA TB Kevin Williams rushed for 132 yards on 13 carries, including the game-winning TD.

Sep. 19, 1992 -- UCLA 17, BYU 10 at Cougar Stadium in Provo, Utah

Daron Washington, another Bruin TB, scored two rushing touchdowns in this narrow UCLA win.

Oct. 9, 1993 -- BYU 14, UCLA 68 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

Bruins Derek Ayers (174 yards) and James Milliner (113 yards) rushed for a combined 287 yards, while the

UCLA defense had 11 sacks on the day.

Sep. 9, 1995 -- UCLA 23, BYU 9 at Cougar Stadium in Provo, Utah

BYU QB Steve Sarkisian’s 305 passing yards were not enough to overcome a 17-point UCLA third quarter

outburt that put the game away.

Sep. 8, 2007 -- BYU 17, UCLA 27 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

Despite racking up 435 yards of total offense, including 391 yards passing, BYU saw its 11-game winning

streak come to an end, as No. 13 UCLA beat the Cougars 27-17 in front of 72,986 fans.

Dec. 22, 2007 -- BYU 17, UCLA 16 at the 2007 Las Vegas Bowl

BYU avenged its loss to the Bruins earlier in the season by defeating them 17-16 in the 2008 Las Vegas Bowl. The victory was reached in dramatic fashion--a block on UCLA’s potential game-winning field goal attempt.

VERSUS THE PAC-10

A 28-27victory over Washington last week improved BYU’s record against Pac-10 opponents to 4-2 over the past three seasons. Throughout the 2006-08 seasons, the Cougars are 1-1 against Arizona, 1-1 against U CLA, 1-0 against Oregon and 1-0 against the Huskies. Interestingly, BYU has outscored Pac-10 opponents 148-120 over the past six match-ups.

ON THE TUBE

Saturday’s game will be broadcast live to a national television audience on VERSUS. Joe Beninati will call the action, Glenn Parker will lend analysis and Tim Neverett will report from the sidelines. Beninati has worked for over a decade as the play-by-play announcer for the Washington Capitals. The Capital Region Emmy Award winning broadcaster has also called action for the NBA, WNBA, Major League Baseball and college football. Parker is a former NFL offensive lineman who, in his 12-year career, played for the Kansas City Chiefs, the New York Giants and the Buffalo Bills. Parker has been an analyst for the NFL Network show PLAYBOOK and the main college football analyst for CSTV. Neverett, a 22-year sports broadcaster, can be heard on ESPN radio in Denver and covers the Colorado Rockies as well as other sports in the Rocky Mountain region. He has covered three Olympics, and worked with both ESPN and ESPN2 covering various events. He has also worked in Las Vegas, covering UNLV football and baseball and hosting the Tim Neverett Show on SportsRadio 1460 and ESPN Radio 920 and in New England as host of the nationally distributed The Sports Final radio program. Neverett is also one of the top play-by-play announcers on The mtn.VERSUS will televise 19 college football games this fall with a schedule that includes nine games in the Mountain West Conference as well as five games from each the Pac-10 and Big 12 conferences.

BRIGHAM YOUNG-UCLA TIES

UCLA’s current offensive coordinator, Norm Chow, spent 27 years (1973-99) at BYU. At various times, he was the Cougars’ assistant head coach, offensive coordinator, co-offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach, receivers coach, recruiting coordinator and graduate assistant (1973 and 1974). The Cougars posted a 244-91-3 record during Chow’s time in Provo, appeared in 22 bowls and saw 21 offensive players earn All-America honors. In 12 of his 18 years as offensive coordinator at BYU, Chow led the offense to a place in the NCAA’s top 10 in total offense. Chow was with former BYU head coach LaVell Edwards for all but two (1972 & 2000) of Edwards’ 29 years at BYU.

Bruin quarterback Ben Olson spent the 2002 season as a Cougar at BYU before transferring to UCLA following an LDS mission.

BYU’s current roster features 20 players from the state of California -- four of those attending the same high school as players on the UCLA roster. All-American candidate Austin Collie and UCLA tight end Ryan Moya both hail from Oak Ridge HS in El Dorado Hills. Bruin tight end Cory Harkey and Cougar Steven Thomas both attended Chino Hills High School, while BYU’s Bernard Afutiti shares the same alma mater as UCLA’s defensive end David Carter (Kaiser HS). Freshman linebacker Daniel Sorensen signed with BYU following his graduation from Colton HS, the same school defensive end Damien Holmes left to go to UCLA.

PITTA POWER

Averaging 180.5 yards per game, junior tight end Dennis Pitta continued to dominating the receiving game -- recording 148 yards with 10 catches against Washington. One week prior, Pitta’s performance against Northern Iowa (213 yards, 11 catches) equaled the 10th highest performance in BYU history, tying Eric Drage’s mark set against Air Force back in 1993. He also set the MWC record for receiving yards by a tight end with his performance, breaking Jonny Harline’s record of 181 yards against Oregon in the 2006 Las Vegas Bowl. Pitta’s performance against Northern Iowa also marked the top receiving performance during the opening week of the 2008 season. The Mackey Award and All-America candidate not only led all receivers, nationally, but also he was the top-ranked tight in the country by 90 yards. Pitta, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound native of Moorpark, Calif., is a 2008 Mackey Award and All-America candidate.

TALE OF THE TAPE

BYU’s starting five offensive linemen weigh in at an average 326.4 pounds and average 6-feet-6. The front five will be going up against a Washington defensive front that measures an average 6-feet-5, 270 pounds. Defensively, the Cougars’ front three average 6-feet-3, 278 pounds, while the Washington offensive line tips the scales at an average 6-feet-5, 305 pounds per man.

PAPER OR PLASTIC

Four Cougars recorded sacks against Washington’s Jake Locker on Saturday, including, Matt Bauman, David Nixon, Ian Dulan and Coleby Clawson. Junior Jan Jorgensen, the returning MWC sack leader (14), was credited with a sack for an eight-yard loss in the season opener against Northern Iowa.

HALL OF MAX

After going 34-of-41 for 486 yards and two touchdowns last week against Northern Iowa, Heisman Trophy candidate Max Hall turned in another standout performance in the Cougars’ 28-27 victory over Washington. Hall completed 30-of-41 attempts for 338 yards and three touchdowns, including a 15-yard game-winning pass to Dennis Pitta with 3:31 left in the game. On the season, Hall is averaging 401 yards passing per game and is completing 78 percent of his attempts. During the opening drive of the game, Hall led the Cougars on a 9-play drive, for 76 yards. During the drive he was 6-for-6 for 80 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown pass to Austin Collie for the early 7-0 lead.

PAT BLOCK LONG TIME COMING

Junior defensive lineman’s block on Washington’s PAT attempt to tie the game last week broke a BYU drought that lasted close to 10 years. The last time a Cougar blocked a PAT attempt was Derik Stevenson’s block against Air Force on December 5, 1998.

DON’T LOOK BACK

In the Bronco Mendenhall era, BYU is 28-4 when leading at halftime and 27-1 when taking a

lead into the fourth quarter.

FIRST HALF DOMINANCE

The Cougars held a 27-3 lead at halftime against Northern Iowa, marking the 13th time in the past 14 games BYU has held the lead at intermission. The Cougars have held their opponent to seven or fewer points in the opening half eight times in 14 games. BYU has led at halftime in 26 of the last 27 games. During those 26 games, the team is 23-3.

MOVING THE CHAINS

BYU’s ability to convert on third down played a key role in the 28-27 victory over Washington. The Cougars were 12-of-14 on third-down conversions, including 4-of-4 in the second half of the game.

UNGA PASSES CENTURY MARK

With 14:21 left in the fourth quarter, sophomore Harvey Unga turned in a 15-yard run to move him past the 100-yard mark for the game. Unga had a BYU record seven, 100-yard games as a freshman last season. Unga finished the game with 23 carries for a game-high 136 yards rushing. Unga also had five completions for 39 yards and one touchdown against the Huskies.

IT’S BEEN A WHILE

BYU has been unable to return a kickoff for a touchdown for 120 consecutive games. Mike Rigell was the last Cougar to accomplish the feat, turning in a 96-yard touchdown in a 31-9 victory at Hawaii on October 17, 1998.

MOST PLAYS IN A SCORING DRIVE

BYU evened the score at 14-14 against Washington with 4:18 remaining in the first half on a 14-play, 71-yard drive. The drive marked the most plays in a scoring drive this season. The previous season-high was a nine-play scoring drive on the opening series of the game.

BALL HOGS

The Cougars used 6:11 minutes off the clock during their second-quarter scoring drive against Washington, marking the longest scoring drive of the season (in terms of time off the clock.) On the day, On the day, BYU had x scoring drives over five minutes. Last week, vs. Northern Iowa, the Cougars didn’t have a single scoring drive that lasted over 2:50.

TOUCHDOWN, VAKAPUNA

Senior fullback Fui Vakapuna scored his first touchdown of the season against Washington with 4:17 left in the third quarter to equal the score at 21. His first carry of the game marked an 11-yard touchdown run that capped a 7-play, 63-yard drive. The carry marked his first touchdown run since the 12:17 mark of the fourth quarter at San Diego State last season. Vakapuna had only two rushing touchdowns during his junior season and eight as a sophomore.

LOSING THE LEAD

After the Cougars scored on the opening drive of the game at Washington, the Huskies came back to score 14 straight points, marking the first time BYU has given up a lead since UCLA took a 3-0 advantage in the first quarter of the Las Vegas Bowl. (BYU won the game 17-16.)

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