The number for UCLA receiver Nick Pasquale – who was struck and killed by a car early Sunday in San Clemente – will be featured prominently on the field when his team takes on Nebraska.
In the Bruins' first game since the 20-year-old’s death, Pasquale’s teammates will wear emblems of his number, 36, on their jerseys when they take field against Nebraska on Saturday. Nebraska players will also have Pasquale's number on their helmets. And the team announced there will be a moment of silence before the kickoff.
Pasquale’s death shook the Bruins as the team prepared for the Nebraska game this week at Spaulding Field.
At a hometown memorial earlier this week, UCLA teammate Carl Hulick told CBS Los Angeles the entire team is feeling the loss.
“It’s absolutely brutal,” he said.
The UCLA football team had returned to practice on Monday, with the Bruin football flag flying at half mast.
Handmade signs were placed outside the practice facility to honor Pasquale.
“Play For Each Other. Play For Your Brother."
“We Love You Nick. Rest In Peace.”
Pasquale died of multiple blunt-force injuries after he was struck by a vehicle in San Clemente, according to a coroner’s report released early Monday. He had played in his first game for UCLA’s football team last week and was in his hometown over the weekend when UCLA did not have a scheduled game.
Authorities said Pasquale was walking when two cars approached him. One car avoided him, but the other could not, authorities said. The driver called in the accident and waited at the scene, said Lt. Gary Strachan, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. No one was arrested.
Emotions surrounding Pasquale’s death came to the fore during a press conference Monday when UCLA Coach Jim Mora became angry with a television technician talking loudly on a cellphone as he was speaking about Pasquale. Mora told the technician to “shut up,” called the technician “disrespectful” and walked out.
NBC 4 issued a statement Monday evening apologizing for the technician’s behavior. The station called Mora’s abrupt ending of the news conference understandable.
“There is no excuse for this incident,” the station said. “We deeply regret it and want to apologize to the Pasquale family, Mora and all of UCLA. We are sorry.”
Later on Monday, Mora met with reporters at Spaulding Field and described the gut-wrenching ordeal he and the team have been through since Pasquale's death early Sunday.
"This is not necessarily about Nebraska," Mora said. "It is really important, not only for Nick, but for his family. The fact that he got to play football here was a dream come true for him and we need to honor that, and shine light on that, with the way we play."
Pasquale was a 5-foot-7 walk-on from San Clemente High. He appeared in his first UCLA game during the Bruins' 58-20 victory over Nevada on Aug. 31.
Mora said UCLA players were urging receivers coach Eric Yarber to get Pasquale in the game.
"I have heard people say he was our Rudy, " Mora said, referring to the former Notre Dame walk-on whose story was made into a movie. "He was our Rudy in the fact that he was inspirational. But he wasn't our Rudy, because he could play football."