Two weeks ago, UCLA kicked off its second Rick Neuheisel era with a stunning, come-from-behind victory over SEC sort-of powerhouse (okay, maybe that’s pushing it) Tennessee. What would they do for an encore? Why, get bombed back to the stone age by a Mountain West team, that’s what. Yeah, that football monopoly in L.A. is definitely over, Rick.
Hours before USC plastered Ohio State 35-3 in front of a sell-out crowd and national TV audience, BYU got six touchdown passes from quarterback Max Hall in the first half as the Cougars destroyed the Bruins 59-0, the worst loss for UCLA since 1929.
According the ASSOCIATED PRESS, the Cougars were feeling a bit disrespected after their 28-27 escape at Washington last week that was aided by a slightly controversial call:
The Cougars felt a little maligned when much more was made of a celebration penalty on Washington after the touchdown with 2 seconds remaining than BYU coming up with a play to win it.
There was nothing to dispute this time.
“We were just tired of it. We were ready to come out and make a statement today and shut people up,” said BYU’s Jan Jorgensen, who forced one of UCLA’s turnovers with a sack in the second quarter.
The Cougars led 42-0 at halftime and added 17 more points in the third quarter before calling off the dogs. UCLA had two field goal attempts to avoid the shutout, but one was blocked and the other was shanked from 27 yards out. Following the game, Neuheisel formally announced his candidacy for Lord of the Understatement:
“It’s a tough loss. We just got dominated in every aspect of the game,” Neuheisel said. “We left our defense on the field too long and couldn’t get to Hall.”
I’m sure all this is making Tennessee fans feel very comfortable about their upcoming SEC slate, which features a whole bunch of teams that wouldn’t lose 59-0 to anybody. The Vols play Florida, Auburn, and Georgia in the next four weeks.
And, unfortunately for Cougar fans, the story this week is once again not their team’s success, as Neuheisel’s embarrassment will be one of the hot topics on sports talk radio across the country. But BYU has a solid chance to become the third non-BCS team in as many years to crash the big party, as their only legitimately difficult remaining game is a season-ending tilt at Utah (a team that may also be undefeated at that point).