The Sports Report: UCLA may have found a way to lure fans into the Rose Bowl

Fans watch UCLA play against Hawaii from the nearly empty north bleachers of the Rose Bowl.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

Ben Bolch on UCLA football: If all goes well, UCLA’s turnabout in the stands will mirror its resurgence on the field.

After routing Hawaii, 44-10, in their season opener before an announced crowd of 32,982 at the Rose Bowl, the Bruins are hoping to follow one of their smallest attendance figures with one of the largest in recent seasons when No. 16 Louisiana State arrives Saturday.


Athletic department officials have done seemingly everything short of offering free limousine service to the game in their efforts to fill the stadium. Complimentary tickets have been distributed to UCLA students, high school students in Southern California, youth football and other youth sports teams as well as active military members and veterans.

The response among high school students — who could also purchase up to eight additional tickets at $30 each — was so robust that they reached their allotment of tickets within 48 hours, forcing UCLA to cease the offer. Youth football and other youth sports teams also quickly gobbled up their chunk of tickets.

Additionally, the school is selling tickets for $30 to young alumni, inviting them to sit in the Den student section, as it tries to reinvigorate a fan base that has largely ignored the team in recent years. UCLA’s average attendance of 43,849 in 2019 before the pandemic struck was the lowest at the Rose Bowl since the team made the historic venue its home stadium for the 1982 season.

The announced crowd for the game against Hawaii was the second smallest in the history of a stadium that officially seats 80,000 for UCLA home games. It’s easy to envision the team more than doubling its attendance from the season opener this week thanks in large part to a throng of LSU fans expected to number around 20,000, barring travel difficulties caused by Hurricane Ida.

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Mike DiGiovanna on the Dodgers: For the second time in three days, a San Francisco Giants loss to the Atlanta Braves was posted on the right-field scoreboard for most of a game in Chavez Ravine, teasing, almost taunting the Dodgers in their third base dugout.


Another rare chance to gain ground on the National League West-leading Giants with a win over fourth-place Colorado was there for the taking, and the Dodgers let it slip through their hands. Again.

A decision to pitch to one of baseball’s hottest hitters with first base open backfired when C.J. Cron crushed a three-run homer in the first inning, and right-hander Antonio Senzatela blanked the Dodgers on two hits for seven innings Sunday to lead the Rockies to a 5-0 victory before 37,569 in Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers remain 2 ½ games back with 31 games left, and have plenty of time to overtake the Giants, but they can’t keep wasting opportunities the way they did this weekend in losing two of three to the worst road team in baseball and scored seven runs while hitting .184 (16 for 87) in the three games.


Dodgers playing as a No. 4 seed in NL playoffs? Fix this, MLB

Dodgers have their top arms lined up to battle Braves, not Giants


Twice, Jackson Surma walked to the plate with runners in scoring position in the biggest game of his young life. Both times he delivered.

Jackson drove in four runs and Ethan Van Belle struck out eight as Michigan beat Ohio 5-2 on Sunday in the championship game of the Little League World Series.

“The first one, I knew I had runners on second and third,” Jackson said. “There weren’t two outs, so I needed just something in play. He threw me a curveball, I sat on it and drove it to left. The second one, he threw me a high fastball and I went up there and got it.”

The team from Taylor North Little League delivered the first LLWS title for the state of Michigan since 1959 when Hamtramck National Little League won it all.


Jeff Miller on the Chargers: The battle for the Chargers’ backup quarterback job ended with a bit of a thud Saturday as the offense again struggled behind a leaky line in a 27-0 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Afterward, coach Brandon Staley admitted there’s a chance the team could keep both Chase Daniel and Easton Stick when final cuts are made. Teams must trim their rosters to 53 players by 1 p.m. PDT Tuesday.

“I definitely think that that’s a possibility,” Staley said. “We’ll dive into those specifics here in the next couple days. But I think both of those guys are assets for our football team.”

Daniel played most of the first half, missing two series because of tingling in his right hand caused by a hit to his funny bone. He completed nine of 12 passes for 70 yards.

Stick relieved Daniel for good late in the second quarter and ended up 10 of 17 for 76 yards.


Dylan Hernández on LAFC: Never mind the 3-3 draw against the Galaxy on Saturday, the two leads that were blown over the final 26 minutes at Banc of California Stadium, or the franchise-record winless streak, which is eight games and counting.

None of that changed the long-term prognosis.

In the maddening fourth season of its otherwise blessed existence, LAFC is at a major crossroads.

Regardless of what happened in the latest edition of El Tráfico, regardless of what happens over the remaining 13 games of the regular season, the team will have to reset over the winter.

Carlos Vela will be out of contract.

Other significant contributors such as Brian Rodriguez, who scored twice against the Galaxy, will be looking to make moves to Europe they consider overdue.

Major League Soccer’s indecipherable salary-cap and player-acquisition rules will have to be navigated.

About the only simple choice LAFC has to make is with its head coaching position.

Bob Bradley must return.


1887 — Seven U.S. men’s national tennis championships and Richard Sears captures his seventh title. Sears beats Henry Slocum, 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 at the Newport Casino in Newport, R.I. Sears retires with an 18-match unbeaten streak over the 1881-1887 championships.

1926 — Guy McKinney, driven by Nat Ray, wins the first Hambletonian Stakes.

1927 — Helen Wills wins her fourth U.S. women’s tennis singles title, defeating 16-year-old Betty Nuthall of Britain, 6-1, 6-4.

1937 — Joe Louis wins a 15-round unanimous decision over Tommy Farr at Yankee Stadium in the first defense of his heavyweight title.

1961 — Harlan Dean, driven by Jimmy Arthur, wins the Hambletonian Stakes and sets a record for combined time in the two heats at 3:57 2-5.

1979 — Kathy Horvath, five days past her 14th birthday, loses a first round match to Diane Fromholtz, 7-6, 6-2, to become the youngest person to play a match at the U.S. Open. Later in the day, John McEnroe defeats Ilie Nastase, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, in a match that features Nastase being defaulted by chair umpire Frank Hammond. An 18-minute free-for-all ensues in which fans become uncontrollable and Nastase is reinstated by tournament referee Mike Blanchard. Blanchard replaces Hammond in the chair for the remainder of the match.

1981 — Bill Shoemaker becomes the first jockey to win a $1 million race when he rode John Henry to a nose victory over The Bart in the inaugural Arlington Million at Arlington Park.

1986 — Dawn Patrol and Falcon Bret record the fastest dead heat at Roosevelt Raceway at 1:58.1.

1987 — Ben Johnson of Canada sets the world record in the 100 meters bettering Calvin Smith’s 4-year-old mark of 9.93 by 0.10 seconds in the World Track and Field Championships in Rome. Johnson later lost the record because of steroid use.

1991 — Mike Powell smashes Bob Beamon’s world long jump record with a leap of 29 feet, 4½ inches, two inches beyond the record, in the World Track and Field Championships in Tokyo. The leap also ends Carl Lewis’ 10-year, 65-meet winning streak.

2001 — Ashley Martin becomes the first woman to play in a Division I football game, kicking three extra points without a miss to help I-AA Jacksonville State hand Cumberland its 18th straight loss, 71-10.

2005 — Andy Roddick has a shocking first-round exit from the U.S. Open against Gilles Muller, a player making his debut in the tournament. Roddick, the champion two years earlier and the No. 4 seed this year, falls 7-6 (4), 7-6 (8), 7-6 (1) on his 23rd birthday to the first man from Luxembourg to compete in the Open.

2006 — Curt Schilling becomes the 14th pitcher in major league history to reach 3,000 strikeouts when he fans Oakland’s Nick Swisher in the first inning of the Red Sox’s 7-2 loss to Oakland.

2007 — Tyson Gay completes a sprint double at the world championships when he wins the 200 meters in 19.76 seconds. Gay’s time breaks the meet record of 19.79 set 12 years ago by American Michael Johnson in Goteborg, Sweden. Gay, who beat world record holder Asafa Powell in the 100, joins Maurice Greene (1999) and Justin Gatlin (2005) as the only male athletes to have won sprint doubles at the championships.

2015 — Scott Dixon captures a fourth IndyCar championship by winning the season finale to snatch away the title from Juan Pablo Montoya. Montoya led the points from the season-opening race right until the final lap. But he finishes the race in sixth, which allows Dixon to tie him in the standings. Dixon is awarded the title based on wins (3-2).

And finally

Mike Powell sets the long jump record. Watch it here.

Until next time...

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