BYU Preserves Win With Blocked FG On Final Play
by Mike Mitchell
December 22, 2007
BYU partially blocked UCLA's game-winning 28-yard field goal attempt on the last play of the game to preserve a 17-16 Las Vegas bowl win.
Freshman QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson led the UCLA drive from their own 2-yard line to the Cougars' 11 to set up the kick which was tipped at the line of scrimmage by freshman Eathyn Manumaleuna and fluttered under the crossbar.
BYU avenged a 27-17 regular season loss at UCLA on September 8.
The Cougars did all they could to give this game away after taking a 17-6 lead in the second quarter. The troubles began when they turned the ball over on a hand-off at their own 4-yard line with just 7 seconds left in the half. All they needed to do was take a knee. UCLA took advantage of the mistake when Bethel-Thompson hit Brandon Breazell for a touchdown as time expired in the first half.
The teams were scoreless in the second half except for Kai Forbath's 50-yard field goal with 6:24 left in the game. The freshman kicker also nailed a 52-yarder in the second quarter, and a 22-yarder in the first.
After the teams ended the first quarter in a 3-3 deadlock, BYU quarterback Max Hall threw a pair of touchdown passes in the second quarter that, through good fortune, proved to be all the points the Cougars needed to barely get by.
BYU extended its winning streak to ten games while notching its second straight Las Vegas bowl victory. The Cougars (11-2) have played in this postseason affair in each of the last three seasons.
The Bruins have played in six consecutive bowl games, including three Las Vegas Bowls.
UCLA concluded a disappointing year at 6-7 after most preseason projections had them competing for a BCS bowl bid. The Bruins won four of their first five games, but injuries at quarterback plagued the Bruins throughout the season and they won just two of their final eight contests.
The Bruins fired head coach Karl Dorrell after a 24-7 loss to USC in the regular season finale. DeWayne Walker, his defensive coordinator, was named interim head coach for the bowl game.