UCLA kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn sets Pac-12 record for scoring
Kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn’s UCLA career started slowly. His first two extra points were blocked.
It’s ending with Fairbairn topping the Pac-12 career scoring list.
Fairbairn’s 22-yard field goal in the first quarter against Washington State on Saturday slid him past former UCLA kicker John Lee, who had 390 points from 1982-85.
“It has been a long journey since my freshman year when those first couple kicks were blocked,” said Fairbairn, a senior. “I look back at all those times and think about what I learned from the misses.”
Fairbairn struggled from long range early in his career, but has put those problems behind him. He has made six of his last eight kicks from 40 or more yards before Saturday’s game. That included a school record 60-yard kick against California.
Fairbairn said he didn’t know much about Lee.
“Maybe I’ll go look him up and see what he accomplished,” Fairbairn said. “I’m honored to break his record and follow in the legacy of UCLA kickers. There have been a lot, Chris Sailer, Kai Forbath, Justin Medlock, all those guys who did well. They are the reason I came here.”
Fairbairn has scored more than 100 points in each of his first three seasons. He had 83 points this season before Saturday’s game.
UCLA center Jake Brendel made his 49th career start Saturday, the most by a UCLA player. He was tied with linebacker Spencer Havner (2002-05) entering the game.
Brendel has missed only one game in his career. He sat out the Bruins’ 2014 opener at Virginia because of a knee injury.
“I really haven’t thought about the record,” Brendel said. “I try to focus on helping the team. That’s something for the end of the season.”
But there will come a point when Brendel will reflect on the moment.
“Yeah, it’s great and it’s something I really hold dear in my heart,” Brendel said. “At the same time, it’s not at the forefront of my mental plate sometimes.”
Besides, Brendel said, “I think if [quarterback] Josh Rosen stays four years, he will definitely pass me.”
Paul Perkins’ 13-yard reception in the first quarter was the 68th of his career, the most by a UCLA running back.
Pasquale is remembered
Tight end Colby Cyburt, quarterback Jake Hall, nose tackle Carl Hulick, linebacker Taylor Lagace and tackle Conor McDermott all wore Nick Pasquale’s name on the back of their jerseys instead of their own names.
The players were close friends with Pasquale, a UCLA receiver who died when struck by a car in 2013. Pasquale, who would have been a senior, was honored with the rest of the team’s seniors at halftime.
Oskar R. Zepeda, a sergeant in the U.S. Army, was given a mortgage-free home as part of UCLA’s Military Appreciation Day.
Zepeda served nine deployments in Afghanistan and was severely injured by a grenade in 2011. He has undergone more than 30 surgeries. He received the Purple Heart, among other decorations. He and his family live in Sylmar.
Follow Chris Foster on Twitter @cfosterlatimes
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