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BYU football: UCLA series filled with nail-biters, epic blowouts

Published September 15, 2016 6:49 pm

BYU football • Games have either been nail-biters or epic blowouts.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Provo • Former defensive end Jan Jorgensen vividly remembers two things about that "pretty good day" for BYU eight years ago when UCLA last visited LaVell Edwards Stadium: His first-half sack that caused Bruins' quarterback Kevin Kraft to fumble away the football, and the feeling he got walking off the field at halftime and seeing 42-0 on the scoreboard, in BYU's favor.

"It felt surreal," said Jorgensen, now a BYU defensive graduate assistant. "I remember thinking, 'Did that really just happen?' "

It got worse for the Bruins in the second half, as Max Hall threw his school record-tying seventh touchdown pass early in the third quarter and BYU romped to a 59-0 win, the worst loss for UCLA since a 76-0 setback to USC in 1929. It still stands as the biggest margin of victory in a Power 5 vs. non-Power 5 matchup in NCAA history.



Although UCLA got a sliver of revenge last year in a 24-23 win over BYU at the Rose Bowl, the Bruins can make more amends for that embarrassing defeat on Saturday when fifth-year coach Jim Mora brings them back to LES. However, Mora professed to not knowing anything about the 2008 game — he was an assistant coach with the NFL's Seattle Seahawks back then — when asked about it Monday. He didn't even know who won.

"I wasn't here, and none of these players were here, and I didn't know it," he said. "They don't know it. I am not going to bring it up. They don't care. Nobody cares."

BYU fans do, because a case could be made that the win was the high point of the Bronco Mendenhall era. Four of the most prolific offensive players in school history scored in that game: Hall, tight end Dennis Pitta, receiver Austin Collie and running back Harvey Unga. Jorgensen, Matt Bauman, Scott Johnson and Spencer Hadley made big defensive plays.

"Everything just went our way," said Unga, BYU's all-time leading rusher and a graduate assistant on this year's team. "We couldn't have asked for a more lopsided game. From special teams to offense to defense, everything seemed to work perfectly. It was a lot of fun."

It was no fun for the proud Bruins and first-year coach Rick Neuheisel, who entered the game talking about being "relentlessly optimistic" and left calling it the most humbling moment of his career.

"I remember the feeling with my brothers on the field," said former defensive lineman Russell Tialavea, now BYU's director of football operations. "That was one of the greatest feelings I've ever had."

UCLA does own a similar win over BYU, a 68-14 drubbing in 1993 when Cougars quarterback John Walsh was sacked eight times in the first half.

Most of the other games in the series — UCLA has an 8-3 edge — have been considerably closer, and the Bruins and Cougars have developed a decent history of tight contests.

It could be the last meeting in awhile. BYU has future games scheduled against Pac-12 teams Stanford, Washington, California, Utah, Washington State, Arizona State, Arizona, Oregon and USC, but not UCLA.

"They have a great quarterback [Josh Rosen], and they have a bunch of great athletes on their team," BYU coach Kalani Sitake said. "That has never really changed. They have always been athletic, and they are little bit more physical now. We are looking forward to the game on Saturday; I have nothing but respect for that coaching staff and that program. They do it the right way."

Last year, Rosen threw three interceptions in the first half and the No. 19 Cougars led 20-10 in the fourth quarter before the No. 10 Bruins rallied for the win on a 3-yard Nate Starks touchdown run with 3:25 remaining.

"I remember our defense couldn't stop the run," said BYU linebacker Fred Warner. "They had a really good running back, Paul Perkins, and he's not there any more. … Right now, I think they have the potential to become one of those ranked teams down the line, so I feel like this is a huge game for us."

BYU receiver Nick Kurtz, who is also from the San Diego area, like Warner, said the close loss "stung for awhile." But his lasting memory is how BYU's Southern California fans flocked to the game.

"We got there and it was almost like we had our own home game," Kurtz said. "That was really cool. I am glad all those fans now get to come out to our home stadium and cheer for us, and we are going to try to get that win."

drew@sltrib.com

Twitter: @drewjay —

Last four BYU-UCLA games

Date Location Result Comment

Sept. 8, 2007 Pasadena UCLA 27, BYU 17 Former BYU quarterback Ben Olson leads his new team past mistake-prone BYU

Dec. 22, 2007 Las Vegas BYU 17, UCLA 16 Eathyn Manumaleuna gets a finger on Kai Forbath's last-second 28-yard field goal attempt

Sept. 13, 2008 Provo BYU 59, UCLA 0 Max Hall ties a school record with seven TD passes, and Bruins suffer worst loss since 1929

Sept. 19, 2015 Pasadena UCLA 24, BYU 23 Linebacker Myles Jack picks off BYU freshman Tanner Mangum with a minute left —

UCLA at BYU

P Saturday, 8:15 p.m.

TV • ESPN2

 

 

 

 

 

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