Tyler Gonzalez gets his kicks on different field
Tyler Gonzalez’s college athletic career got considerably more interesting Saturday night at the Rose Bowl.
Gonzalez, a senior, spent the last two falls as the manager for the UCLA men’s soccer team. Yet there he was, suddenly being depended on to kick field goals and extra points in a Pacific 12 Conference football game between the Bruins and Washington State.
Gonzalez hadn’t taken part in a football game since his senior year at Fullerton High, when he made six field goals and 22 conversion kicks.
He made his UCLA debut in the second quarter, making the point-after following a touchdown.
Gonzalez made another conversion kick in the third quarter. UCLA did not attempt a field goal in the 28-25 win.
Gonzalez was recruited onto the football team four weeks ago by a roommate who is a student football assistant, after kickers Kip Smith and Joe Roberts were sidelined by leg injuries.
Gonzalez passed the tryout — making a long field goal when suddenly called upon at the end of his first practice — but had not left the sideline the last three games.
Gonzalez was set for his debut because punter Jeff Locke, who had been
handling all kicking duties the last three weeks, missed three extra points the last two games.
Locke has the stronger leg — he made field goals from 49 and 51 yards against Texas — but Coach Rick Neuheisel wanted accuracy on the chip shots.
Starting quarterback Richard Brehaut sustained a fracture in his lower left leg after being tackled on a run in the second quarter against the Cougars.
He was replaced by Kevin Prince, who, on his first pass, connected with Nelson Rosario for a 41-yard gain that set up the Bruins’ first touchdown.
Cornerback Jamie Graham’s return from surgery on his right knee was a short one. He started at nickel back Saturday but left the game in the first half after injuring his left knee.
Graham underwent the surgery in August and sat out the first four games. He played some against Stanford, mostly on special teams, but hoped for more work against pass-happy Washington State.
“My confidence is way up,” Graham said leading up to the game. “Playing last week helped a lot. The knee feels great.”
The Bruins started the game without cornerback Sheldon Price (knee), starting safety Tony Dye (neck) and reserve safety Alex Mascarenas (concussion).
Along with Dye, who has a nerve problem in his neck, linebacker Glenn Love was a late scratch from UCLA’s lineup.
Love also sat out the Stanford game after sustaining a hamstring injury during practice.
Offensive tackle Chris Ward (shoulder) and defensive tackle Justin Edison (concussion) also sat out the game Saturday.
Up the charts
A four-yard run by Johnathan Franklin in the second quarter moved him past 2,100 yards and Brian Brown into 13th place on UCLA’s career rushing list. Next would be Kevin Williams (1989-92), who has 2,215 yards.
Franklin, a junior, needs 1,640 yards to pass Gaston Green (1984-87) to become UCLA’s career rushing leader.
Wide receiver Taylor Embree made a 10-yard reception in the second quarter, giving him 127 catches and moving him past Marcedes Lewis (2002-05) into eighth place on UCLA’s career list. Embree needs two more catches to pass Mike Sherrard (1982-85) and move into the seventh spot.
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