December 23, 2007

Thrilling Finish

LAS VEGAS - BYU added another miracle finish to its memory book this season.

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December 22, 2007

Missed Opportunity

LAS VEGAS - UCLA missed a crucial conversion while trying to drive for the lead.

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Forbath Comes Through Again

LAS VEGAS - Kai Forbath kicked his second field goals of 50 yards or longer tonight to pull UCLA within a point of BYU.

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Injuries, but no scoring

LAS VEGAS - BYU junior right guard Travis Bright broke his right leg in the third quarter and was carted off the field.

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Big Mistake By BYU

LAS VEGAS - The BYU coaching staff is kicking itself in the locker room right now.

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Collie Drawing Flags

LAS VEGAS - BYU wide receiver Austin Collie is making an impact in his bowl debut without even making a catch.

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Forbath Kick Record Worthy

LAS VEGAS - UCLA kicker Kai Forbath put his name in the Las Vegas Bowl record book with a 52-yard field goal.

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BYU Forges Ahead

LAS VEGAS - The turnover bug just came back to bite UCLA.

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BYU Kick To Tie

LAS VEGAS - BYU has tied the game at 3-3 on a 29-yard field goal by Mitch Payne near the end of the first quarter.

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BYU Turns It Over

LAS VEGAS - After making it a point to cut down on turnovers in the rematch with UCLA, BYU turned the ball over on its first possession when quarterback Max Hall was hit by UCLA defensive end Bruce Davis and fumbled and the Bruins recovered.

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Rematch About To Begin

LAS VEGAS - Kickoff is just a few minutes away here at Sam Boyd Stadium for the Las Vegas Bowl game between BYU and UCLA.

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December 01, 2007

Trojans Rose Bowl Bound... Again

LOS ANGELES -- Ho-hum. Another Pac-10 championship for USC. Another Rose Bowl appearance. Another BCS game. That's what USC has to be excited about tonight after a dominant defensive performance ends with a 24-7 win over rival UCLA -- a win that avenges last season's upset in Pasadena and sends the Trojans to their sixth straight BCS bowl game.

"There's nothing we like more than winning championships," USC coach Pete Carroll said. "I know everybody talks about all the rest of the stuff. But we don't have control of the other stuff. What we do have control of is the Pac-10."

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Braving the Elements

LOS ANGELES -- I'm going to face the harsh winter winds of Southern California on the field. With less than six minutes remaining, USC holds a 24-7 lead over UCLA and has the ball. I don't see the Bruins doing much from here. I'll check back in with a wrap after the press conference.

What Was He Thinking?

LOS ANGELES -- I haven't seen much UCLA football this year, but I can understand why the Bruins fans want Karl Dorrell out. With USC inside the Bruins five, UCLA came up with a third-down stop, setting USC up for a likely field goal attempt. The officials called USC for a hold on the play, but that should be inconsequential. The result of the play is a fourth down -- you decline the penalty. Anybody that's ever watched a football game knows that, right?

Well evidently not Dorrell. The Bruins accepted the penalty, giving USC another chance on third down. The Trojans made them pay with a touchdown pass from John David Booty to Fred Davis to increase the lead to 24-7 and seemingly put the game out of hand with about 12 minutes remaining.

I don't understand.

Another Turnover -- USC Ball

LOS ANGELES -- On the second play after forcing a turnover, UCLA gave the ball right back to USC when Patrick Cowan threw an interception to set USC up in Bruins territory. In case you're scoring, that's three turnovers in five plays. This game is officially ugly.

USC leads 17-7 at the end of the third quarter.

Blown Opportunity

LOS ANGELES -- Apparently neither team wants to win this game. Given a golden opportunity to cut into the USC lead, UCLA turned the ball over for a third time on first down in Trojan territory. Brandon Breazell fumbled the ball on a busted play, giving the ball right back to the Trojans.

But just as USC looked ready to put the game out of hand, Joe McKnight fumbled the ball in the red zone to give the ball back to the Bruins. Somebody -- anybody, please step up and win this ball game.

So Much for that Idea

LOS ANGELES -- UCLA looked ready to make this a one-possession game. Then fourth-and-19 happened. After opening the third quarter with consecutive first-down plays, the Bruins managed to move backwards on three consecutive plays thanks to two penalties and a sack. Now USC has the ball again and UCLA has squandered a great opportunity to cut into the 17-7 Trojan lead.

Somehow UCLA Still in this Game

LOS ANGELES -- Despite being outgained 243 yards to 101 in the first half, UCLA is hanging with USC going into halftime. The Bruins almost tripled their yardage with a 65-yard drive that ended with a spectacular one-handed touchdown grab in the back of the end zone by Dominique Johnson to cut the USC lead to 17-7.

In fact, this game is looking a lot like the Stanford upset earlier in the season. USC outplayed the overmatched Cardinal in the first half, but couldn't put them away on the scoreboard and Stanford hung around long enough to steal the game in the final minutes.

UCLA gets the ball to start the third quarter. If they can pick up some points, then things should get interesting.

Trojans Pad Lead

LOS ANGELES -- A 46-yard field goal from David Beuhler extended USC's lead to 17-0 with 45 seconds left in the first half.

Meanwhile, UCLA just picked up its second first down of the day in a desperation attempt score before halftime. With time running down, they're trying to keep it a two-possession game, which is about four possessions closer than it should be. One thing's for certain about this game; UCLA coach Karl Dorrell's seat is hotter than its ever been.

UCLA Offensive

LOS ANGELES -- It's been a long time since I've seen a college offense look this bad. With about two minutes left in the first half, UCLA has 36 total yards of offense. It's averaging .5 yards per carry. And amazingly USC only has a 14-0 lead.

The Trojans have racked up 213 yards and 15 first downs, but some uncharacteristic drops from tight end Fred Davis and stalling in the red zone have kept UCLA a Trojan mistake away from getting right back into this game.

Washington Returns, Scores

LOS ANGELES -- After leaving the game with a bruised hip, Chauncey Washington looked just fine in his return to the field, rumbling for a 10-yard touchdown run to give USC a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.

So far, USC has 14 first downs while UCLA has 17 total yards of offense. That's not a typo. If the Bruins don't come to life soon, this game could get out of hand.

Another Trojan Down

LOS ANGELES -- It's a good thing USC goes about eight-deep at tailback. After losing Chauncey Washington in the first quarter, Joe McKnight is out with a sprained knee. Stafon Johnson should see a lot of carries as the game continues.

Whistle Stop

LOS ANGELES -- While it's not quite a "Giving Him the Business" moment, the Coliseum crowd and press box just got a good chuckle out the officials.

With about three minutes left in the first quarter, an official stopped the game to instruct one of the 90,000 fans in the seats to "please refrain from blowing your whistle." Evidently somebody's trying to officiate from the stands. As for the game, USC still leads 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Bruins Catch a Break

LOS ANGELES -- With a stagnant offense and USC threatening to score, the Bruins caught a break to keep the game from breaking open early when David Buehler missed a 40-yard field goal to keep the score at 7-0, USC.

So far, the Trojans have had three genuine scoring chances and have just the one touchdown to show for it. If the Bruins could muster any semblance of an offense, they could make this a game.

Chauncey's Out

LOS ANGELES -- Bad news for the Trojans. Bruising back Chauncey Washington just left for the locker room with a bruised hip.

Trojans Strike First

LOS ANGELES -- So much for that good start for UCLA. The Bruins couldn't survive their second turnover of the first quarter as USC quickly turned a UCLA fumble into a touchdown for a 7-0 lead.

Starting at the UCLA 32-yard line, John David Booty needed just two plays to find the end zone thanks to a 27-yard strike to Stanley Havili and a five-yard touchdown run from Joe McKnight.

Up and Down Already in L.A.

LOS ANGELES -- Six minutes in and this game is already a roller-coaster ride. What looked like a great opening defensive stand for UCLA almost turned into USC points before the Bruins came up with another big stop.

Pinned inside their own 20 to start the game, USC went three and out before a lackluster punt that landed near midfield, setting UCLA up with what looked like great field position. That was until Trojan linebacker Thomas Williams forced a fumble setting up USC at midfield.

But the Trojans couldn't do much with the ball again, advancing about 25 yards before UCLA held them up on fourth and short at the 25.

Now the Bruins have the ball and Patrick Cowan is in at quarterback. Regular starter Ben Olson was scheduled to start, but apparently isn't healthy enough. So far, with UCLA playing tough defense and Patrick Cowan leading the offense, this looks a lot like last year's game at the Rose Bowl.

Fashion Faux Pas and a Rose Bowl Berth

LOS ANGELES -- I realized about halfway through my drive from San Diego that I had made a grave fashion decision this morning. Knowing it's going to be cold today (by Southern California standards), I grabbed the first sweater I found in my closet. It just happens to be light blue.

As I walked through the parking lot at the L.A. Coliseum, I was made even more aware of my poor decision by several USC fans who mistook me for a Bruin (which I most certainly am not) and had some not so kind words. It's ok -- I'm pretty thick-skinned.

Despite relatively disappointing seasons for both the Bruins and Trojans, today's atmosphere is as tense as ever as UCLA finds itself once again in the position to play spoiler for USC.

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November 24, 2007

Oregon-UCLA: My, how far Oregon has fallen


Sure enough, without Dennis Dixon, Oregon laid a big fat "O."

On November 11th, the Oregon Ducks were No. 2 in the nation. Then came what I am getting closer and closer to calling the worst injury in the modern history of college football.

So this was not the Oregon team we were supposed to see. Not the same team a lot of people had pegged to play for the national championship.

But who could've guessed this? The Ducks ended the game - yes, the game, not the first quarter - with 148 total yards against that good, but not great UCLA defense.

And can someone explain to me why Dennis Dixon is no longer considered a Heisman Trophy candidate? I mean if you look at the Heisman as a most valuable player-type of award, Dixon is easily the nation's MVP.

(Jonathan Stewart found no running room against the swarming Bruins)

Continue reading "Oregon-UCLA: My, how far Oregon has fallen" »

Oregon-UCLA: Game Over. Bruins win.

This game comes to an anti-climatic end here at the Rose Bowl. The Bruin defense dominates and Oregon is obviously not a team worthy of the BCS if they don't have Dennis Dixon in the game.


Scoreboard totals as shown above are correct. UCLA improves to 6-5 and 5-3, keeping its still-dim Pac 10 title hopes alive. (I know, that sounds bizarre, but it's true.) Oregon drops to 8-3 and 5-3.

More in a bit...

Oregon-UCLA: Ducks won't be Rose Bowlin'. Now down 16-0.

Bruins just slammed the door on this one. And a loud cheer just went up over in South Central L.A. as the USC Trojans will now be in the driver's seat for the Rose Bowl. UCLA's lead balloons to 16-0 as Craig Sheppard just ran in a clinching touchdown with 5:29 left. (This ain't the SEC, so Oregon is NOT going to come back and win.)

The Drive:
4 plays
31 yards
1:51 elapsed time

Oregon-UCLA: Teams trade interceptions. Still 9-0 Bruins.

These two teams just traded interceptions. But now there is under nine mintues left, so Oregon MUST find some offense.

(Without Dennis Dixon, even the Bruin Girls could stop the Ducks today)

Oregon's Justin Roper threw an interception to UCLA's Trey Brown. Roper is Oregon's third quarterback of the day and that was Brown's fourth interception of the season.

But then UCLA's Ben Olson returned the favor with an interception of his own two plays later, in the Oregon end zone. Duck ball.

Oregon-UCLA: Forbath kicks field goal No. 3, UCLA now up 9-0

Another Oregon turnover, this time an interception deep in UO territory, has led to another Kai Forbath field goal for the Bruins.

(Yawn. Kai Forbath is the only offense in today's game)

The Bruins now lead 9-0 after three quarters.

Total Offense:
UCLA- 50 plays, 124 yards. (Passing: 3-15, 35 yards through the air.)
Oregon- 56 plays, 103 yards. (Passing: 6-25 for 56 yards through the air.)

This ain't the SEC, people.

Oregon-UCLA: A couple of things i should mention

Did I happen to mention that it's a 75 degree day with a cloudless sky here in Southern California? Except for the smog and bad plastic surgery, it's perfect here.

(What, it's not warm and sunny where you are?)

Also, Ben Olson is the UCLA starting quarterback for the second half, but didn't get much going in his first two drives. The first drive of the second half ended when Olson's 4th-down pass went incomplete.

Oregon now has the ball in UCLA territory... but I still wish I was at the Tennessee-Kentucky game.

Oregon-UCLA: Halfway through and STILL nothing exciting


(There hasn't been a lot of "O" in this game)

It's 6-0 UCLA at the half here in the Rose Bowl.

Offensive offense:
UCLA- 29 plays, 40 yards, 2 first downs.
Oregon- 44 plays, 101 yards, 9 first downs.

Poor passes, dropped catches, no running lanes, and just general inept play all the way around so far between these two teams today.

Two turnovers have led to Bruin field goals, which makes sense since UCLA can't get anything going behind 4th string quarterback Osaar Rasshan.

Hell, bring back Wayne Cook.

Oregon-UCLA: Leaf still gimpy, Bruins go up 6-0.

Trainers are working with Brady Leaf, but he still looks pretty weak on that gimpy right stilt of his.

(Leaf looked shaky on the field AND here in front of the trainers with his injured ankle)

He doesn't appear to be going in any time soon, though after Kempt's interception, he may be a necessity. Bruins turn interception into another Kai Forbath field goal to go up 6-0. UCLA is now 1-of-7 on third down conversions.

Oregon-UCLA: Ladies and Gentlemen, here's your Heisman contender today


After one full quarter, it's UCLA 3-0.

(Dennis Dixon is manning the headset for Oregon)

Previously a Heisman front-runner, Dennis Dixon is in his jersey, but merely to stand on the sidelines and relay the signals from the press box to the Quarterback on the field. Bummer.

If Dixon stayed healthy, Oregon would be moving up to No. 1 after LSU's loss yesterday. Instead, Oregon is battling to stay in contention for the Rose Bowl.

UCLA is 0-for-4 in third down conversions. Oregon can't get much going either, totalling 70 yards in 26 plays. It's going to be an inept defensive struggle today in Pasadena.

Oregon-UCLA: Career-long field goal for UCLA's Kai Forbath puts Bruins up 3-0


(Backup QB Cody Kempt's fumble led to UCLA's first score.)

After recovering a fumble by Oregon back-up QB Cody Kempt at the Duck 34, UCLA went backward a few yards before settling for a field goal.

The Drive:
4 plays
-4 yards

It was the 3rd longest field goal in UCLA history, and the longest ever by a Bruin at the Rose Bowl. This was his third field goal of 50+ yards this season, tying that mark with Justin Medlock, who is on the Chiefs practice squad. Nice.

Oregon-UCLA: Shelley Smith an Oregon fan?

For the second year in a row I'm at an Oregon game here in SoCal, and I've spotted ESPN's Shelley Smith tailgaiting with a bunch of Oregon fans. Last year, it was outside the Coliseum before the USC game, today it's before the UCLA game.

(I tried to get my camera out to take a picture of her, but it would've been too obvious I was taking a picture of her, so you get this on-camera shot instead)

I know she is a Nebraska grad and currently lives here in SoCal in San Pedro, but just found out the other day that she has a daughter who plays soccer for Oregon. So there's your Ducks/Shelley Smith connection.

Game time is just under two hours away, I'm going to go try to score some free food and beers out at a tailgate somewhere. More later.

Oregon-UCLA: Hell Freezes Over! (USC fans will be pulling for UCLA)

Oregon-UCLA Quick Preview:

It happens about as often as a total eclipse in Southern California, but the fan base of the Trojans need their cross-town rivals to pull off the upset of No. 9 Oregon in order for their team to make it to the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day.

The Pac 10 Standings:
USC - 6-2
Arizona State - 6-2
Oregon - 5-2
Oregon State - 5-3
UCLA - 4-3

Believe it or not, UCLA could still end up with a share of the Pac 10 title if the Bruins beat Oregon, beat USC and Arizona beats Arizona State. Unlikely, right? Well have you noticed how many crazy things have happened this season?

Continue reading "Oregon-UCLA: Hell Freezes Over! (USC fans will be pulling for UCLA)" »

October 20, 2007

Turner emerges as most important '1' for UCLA

PASADENA, Calif. -- California wide receiver DeSean Jackson wears No. 1 on his jersey and it looked like he would be the one to lead the Bears to their first victory in the Rose Bowl since 1999.

Instead it was someone else wearing the No. 1 who made the biggest impact.

UCLA cornerback Alterraun Turner intercepted Cal quarterback Nate Longshore and returned it 76 yards for the clinching touchdown to lead UCLA to a 30-21 victory to remain atop the Pacific-10 Conference standings.

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UCLA balancing act put them ahead

PASADENA, Calif. -- The Bruins used its physical run game, coupled with some good short passes to take the lead, 23-21, on a Kai Forbath field goal with 3:08 remaining in the game.

The Bruins went 42 yards on 11 plays and capped it with Forbath's 27-yard field goal to put them in the lead heading into the closing minutes of the contest.

Bears take back lead... for now

PASADENA, Calif. -- DeSean Jackson is doing his best to make up for last weekend.

So far so good.

Continue reading "Bears take back lead... for now" »

It's tricky in the Rose Bowl

PASADENA, Calif. -- UCLA offensive coordinator Jay Norvell evoked his inner Run DMC with a trick play that put the Bruins back on top in the Rose Bowl, 20-14, in the third quarter. The Bruins ran an end-around to Brandon Breazell, faked the reverse, and had Breazell throw it over the top.

Breazell appeared to make a mistake when he threw to Dominique Johnson, who had two Cal defenders near him, while other players were wide open downfield. His trust in his fellow wideout paid off as Johnson made a terrific catch in the end zone for the 29-yard touchdown pass.

Bell is ringing up yards

PASADENA, Calif. -- UCLA running back Khalil Bell doesn't always get the recognition of his backfield mate, Chris Markey, but if UCLA is going to deliver California its second loss in as many weeks, Bell is probably going to be the man who makes it happen. The 6-foot, 211-pound bruiser had 100 yards on 11 carries in the first half.

Making himself feel right at home

PASADENA, Calif. - California might be in Northern California but Coach Jeff Tedford recruits the Los Angeles area like Berkeley is just one of the dozens of Southern California suburbs.

Arguably his biggest recruit since he's been at Cal is wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who spurned USC to play for the Bears. Jackson reminded UCLA fans why he was so highly touted coming out of football factory Long Beach Poly in the first half.

Continue reading "Making himself feel right at home" »

Bending but not breaking

PASADENA, Calif. - UCLA is moving the ball on California but the Bears' defense isn't just giving away points. In three trips to the red zone, UCLA has scored all three times - but twice were held to field goals, which is a big reason Cal leads, 14-13, with just over five minutes left in the first half.

One of a kind

PASADENA, Calif. - It's been a few years since I've been at the Rose Bowl, in large part because traffic coming into and out of the Arroyo Seco is a nightmare for even the most savvy Los Angeles driver.

That being said, there is truly nothing like the roar of the Rose Bowl with the San Gabriel Mountains painting the horizon. And there was quite a celebration from the Bruins' faithful just a moment ago as defensive end Bruce Davis hit Cal quarterback Nate Longshore from behind to cause an incomplete pass and force a punt.

Khalil Bell followed on first down with a 64-yard run to the California 2-yard-line. UCLA tight end Logan Paulsen scored on the following play catching the 2-yard pass from Pat Cowan despite being interferred with on the play and UCLA has its first lead, 10-7, with 11:08 remaining in the first half.

SoCal kids put Cal ahead of UCLA early

PASADENA, Calif. - Think Cal likes having Nate Longshore back? With the 6-foot-5 junior back behind center, the Bears just finished a beautiful drive to take an early 7-0 lead. Longshire completed all seven of his passes on the 12-play, 71-yard touchdown drive, capping it with a 21-yard touchdown pass to tight end Craig Stevens.

The Bears' quarterback, tight end and place kicker, Jordan Kay, are all from Southern California. Longshore played high school ball in the Santa Clarita Valley, which is north of UCLA. Stevens and Kay actually went to the same high school, which is located in the South Bay area of Los Angeles.

Cal-UCLA about to start

PASADENA, Calif. - The Bruins are undefeated in the Pac-10 and should get a huge boost to keep things that way with Patrick Cowan set to start at quarterback. Cowan is a gutsy, slightly goofy quarterback who plays loose and it seems to fit well with the Bruins offense. Remember, it was Cowan who led the Bruins over USC last year.

California officials are mum on which quarterback will start for the Bears, freshman Kevin Riley or veteran starter Nate Longshore, who did not play last week due to an ankle injury. We'll find out right away because Cal is set to receive the opening kickoff. The Bears also have a few lineup changes with Lavelle Hawkins starting at wide receiver over Robert Jordan while defensive end John Allen and SAM linebacker Justin Moye will be two new starters on the defensive end.

The Rose Bowl isn't entirely filled despite it being just a few short minutes before kickoff. UCLA coach Karl Dorrell had an extra week to make sure his team has recovered from seven turnovers and a loss at home to a previously unbeaten Notre Dame. The bigger question in this game, however, might be whether or not the Bears have recovered from last week's stunning loss at home to Oregon State.


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