BYU football: Reviewing the Cougars’ recent history with UCLA

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Ari Davis
Harvey Langi intercepts a pass against UCLA in 2015. BYU lost the matchup 24-23. (Ari Davis)

For the first time since 1983, neither BYU nor UCLA will be ranked when they play each other this Saturday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Both teams come into the game with a 1-1 record, each having suffered a heart-wrenching loss to a tough road opponent. The Bruins fell in overtime to Texas A&M in their season opener and the Cougars came away empty-handed in the final seconds against Utah last Saturday.

But an early loss hasn’t derailed either team’s aspirations for a successful 2016 season. An impassioned BYU will look to score a marquee win against another Pac-12 program, while UCLA hopes to boost their resume by spoiling the Cougars’ season opener.

Saturday will be BYU’s fifth meeting against UCLA since 2007. Here’s a look back at the series’ most recent history.

Sept. 8, 2007: UCLA 27 BYU 17

No. 13 UCLA held a 20-3 halftime lead over the Cougars before a pair of Austin Collie touchdown receptions swung the momentum BYU’s way.

Quarterback Max Hall led the Cougars on a fourth-quarter drive that came 13 yards away from the go-ahead touchdown, but defensive end Bruce Davis strip-sacked Hall to end the scoring threat.

Former heavily-hyped quarterback prospect Ben Olson started and won the only game he ever played against BYU, the team he had transferred from in 2005, finishing 13 of 28 passing for 126 yards and an interception.

Dec. 22, 2007: BYU 17 UCLA 16 

The tables turned on the Bruins three months later, as they now found themselves the underdog to a nationally ranked BYU team in the Las Vegas Bowl.

No. 17 BYU jumped out to a 17-6 first half lead, but struggled to generate any offense against Bruce Davis and a stout UCLA defense.

The Bruins were poised to upset the Cougars as kicker Kai Forbath set up for a 28-yard chip shot, his team trailing by a point with three seconds remaining. However, BYU showed it still had some magic left in the tank as defensive lineman Eathyn Manumaleuna got a hand and kick, deflecting it just enough for it to flutter short and deny the Bruins the win.

Sept. 13, 2008: BYU 59 UCLA 0

Pundits built up the 2008 rubber match as a battle between two evenly-matched opponents.

It wasn’t.

Max Hall threw six first-half touchdowns (and was pulled early in the third quarter after tossing his seventh of the day), BYU outgained the Bruins 521 to 239 in total yards and the Cougar defense forced five turnovers in a shutout of the Bruins.

The result added up to the most lopsided UCLA loss since 1929.

Sept. 19, 2015: UCLA 24 BYU 23

Last season’s thriller in Pasadena featured two nationally ranked teams led by Freshman phenoms at quarterback.

The No. 19 Cougars caused trouble for UCLA signal caller Josh Rosen early, forcing him into three first-half interceptions, yet only led the 10th-ranked Bruins 10-3 at halftime.

A 45-yard field goal by Trevor Samson gave BYU a promising 20-10 fourth-quarter lead, but the Bruins went on to outscore the Cougars 14-3 over the following 10:20 to take a 24-23 lead. Tanner Mangum’s attempt at a third-straight miracle scoring drive faltered when he was picked off by Myles Jack with under a minute left to seal the Bruins’ victory.

BYU all-time series record vs. UCLA: 3-8 (2-2 since 2007) 

UCLA vs. BYU Sept. 17 8:15 p.m. (MDT) ESPN2

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