UCLA players honor receiver Nick Pasquale at memorial service
UCLA players joined more than 1,000 friends and family members at a memorial service for receiver Nick Pasquale on Sunday.
The overflow crowd at the San Clemente Presbyterian Church cried and laughed in remembering Pasquale, a UCLA receiver who died after being struck by a car a week before.
“It was a great tribute to him,” said Coach Jim Mora. “There was a lot of emotion.”
UCLA linemen Carl Hulick and Colby Cyburt, Pasquale’s roommates, were among the speakers.
Other Pac-12 teams reached out, to the Bruins and to the Pasquales.
The Oregon football team sent a large card signed by all the Ducks players. Utah quarterback Travis Wilson, Pasquale’s teammate at San Clemente, came to the service. USC held a moment of silence before its game against Boston College on Saturday. California coaches reached out to the Pasquale family.
“Everything we heard today really confirmed some of the feelings that we all had for Nick,” Mora said. “We knew him in a certain way, as a teammate, as a team member. We saw that reflected in the things his friends said and the stories they told. It confirmed what we knew about him: He was a tough, compassionate young man.”
UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley said that Pasquale was a player the Bruins looked up to for his effort.
“He realized he wasn’t going to get all that much playing time, but he came out here every day and worked so hard,” Hundley said. “When the starters would be going, ‘Oh, another day of practice,’ Nick would came out ready to go. He loved playing so much, whether he was going to get snaps or not.”
The Bruins presented his father, Mel Pasquale Jr., with the game ball from Saturday’s 41-21 victory at Nebraska. Hundley gave him the towel he wore in the game, with “RIP #36" on it.
UCLA will have a ceremony honoring Pasquale before playing New Mexico State. Pasquale’s family has set up the Nick Pasquale Foundation. Donations can be made at nickpasqualefoundation.com.
There were two views of Hundley’s play Saturday. Both by Mora. Both coming when asked about a third-down play during which Hundley was nearly sacked twice, then slipped away for a 13-yard gain and a first down.
UCLA’s Paul Perkins later scored, allowing UCLA to go into halftime trailing only 21-10.
There was the coach, who talked about Hundley’s early struggles.
“He was very tentative,” Mora said. “He was very wired up for this game, as we all were. Great players making great plays. I’m not saying he’s one of the great ones yet. But he’s creeping a lot closer.”
Then the fan in Mora took over.
“I told Brett that might have been the play of the year for us,” Mora said. “Now, we have 10 more games, but that was probably the play of the game. I don’t like saying, ‘play of the game,’ but right there, Brett had to make that play and he did.”
Hundley threw for 294 yards and three touchdowns in the victory.
UCLA climbed the poll ladder after the Nebraska victory. The Bruins are 13th in the Associated Press poll. It is the highest they have been ranked since UCLA was 11th the third week of the 2007 season.
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