UCLA takes a 59-0 blow

Times Staff Writer

PROVO, Utah -- Relentlessly optimistic ran into harsh reality Saturday.

There may come a day when the football monopoly in Los Angeles is over, but for now UCLA has enough trouble passing “Go.”

An embarrassing 59-0 loss to Brigham Young was a big indication of that, and left first-year Coach Rick Neuheisel offering up his favorite catch phrase in a different light.

“We’re going to test ‘relentlessly optimistic,’ ” Neuheisel said after UCLA’s worst loss since 1929. “But we knew it would be tested.”

It was Saturday.

Tested and failed.

Brigham Young’s Max Hall passed for six touchdowns and UCLA turned the ball over three times and had a field-goal attempt blocked.


And that was only in the first half.

By the time the 18th-ranked Cougars (3-0) had put on the finishing touches at LaVell Edwards Stadium, Hall had a school-record-tying seven touchdown passes, and the Bruins had quite a long must-improve-on-this list.

“We have to really work on the faults we had in this game,” defensive end Korey Bosworth said. “This game is past, it’s over, we can’t dwell on it.”

It was hardly the ideal bounce the Bruins (1-1) needed heading into conference play next week against Arizona. UCLA coaches and players will dissect the game film over the next couple of days, but they were already certain what they were going to see.

“A butt whoopin’. We got our butts whooped,” linebacker Reggie Carter said. “I’m going home, go to sleep, and tomorrow forget about it. It will be on my mind a little bit because we’ll have to watch film. After that, we have to get ready for Arizona.”

Saturday’s game was a chance for UCLA to show that its 27-24 season-opening upset over Tennessee was more than an anomaly. Instead, the Bruins showed that they haven’t improved much since taking a 44-6 drubbing at Utah last season.

That game was the harbinger for a disappointing season that cost Karl Dorrell his job.

Neuheisel arrived and has preached relentless optimism in his first season.

There was little of that to be found in the rubble of the Bruins’ worst defeat since losing to USC, 76-0, 79 years ago.

“We always strive on trying to keep people out of the end zone and that didn’t happen today in any stretch of the imagination,” defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker said. “It was a very humbling experience.”

The message written on the board in the Bruins’ locker room afterward read: “Adversity builds character.”

There was plenty to build on.

The defense was picked apart by Hall. The offense gained nine yards rushing and turned the ball over three times. The special teams lost a fumble and had a field-goal attempt blocked.

Other than that, it was a perfectly executed game . . . by BYU.

The Cougars, whose 13-game winning streak is the longest in the nation, are eyeballing a Bowl Championship Series bowl game and could ill-afford a slip-up.

“I think we’re one of the best teams in the nation,” said receiver Austin Collie, who had 10 receptions for 110 yards and two touchdowns. “Those that don’t believe it, I think we proved it today.”

The Cougars certainly made a strong case for themselves.

Hall’s day was done with six minutes left in the third quarter. The Bruins’ was over before that, when BYU scored 35 second-quarter points.

Hall, who completed 27 of 35 passes for 271 yards, wasted little time getting started. He completed all six of his passes on an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive on the Cougars’ first possession. He directed an 80-yard drive for a 14-0 lead on BYU’s third possession.

UCLA managed to get into BYU territory early in the second quarter when Kevin Craft completed a 10-yard pass to Corey Harkey. But the Bruins went to ruins immediately.

Craft was sacked on the next play, taking a 10-yard loss. He then lost a fumble on the play after that. On the play after that, Hall went to Collie for a 37-yard touchdown. The rest was a blur for UCLA.

Raymond Carter fumbled on the next possession. Hall threw a touchdown pass.

Terrence Austin fumbled the ensuing kickoff return. Hall threw a touchdown pass.

The pain was repetitive.

“It should hurt, it should sting,” Neuheisel said. “It should be a better motivator for next week. At some point, you do have to let it go.”