Bruins pay tribute to the late Nick Pasquale, and overcome three red-zone Turnovers to roll to an inspired 59-13 victory over not-so-quality New Mexico State
In their first Home game since the passing of Bruin Nick Pasquale, UCLA showed reverence by running their first play with only 10 players — because the Spirit of Nick was the 11th Man. That gesture was thought up by Nick’s teammates, who went on to dominate the New Mexico State Aggies 59-13 in an easy but emotional win.
The 42-point favored Bruins started shaky, as a fumble inside the Aggie 5 yard line spoiled the drive set up by a Steven Manfro 70-yard return of the Opening Kickoff. On the next drive, Brett Hundley threw an Interception near the NM St. goal line. But the Bruin Defense overpowered the Aggie Offense, giving the Bruin Offense many more opportunities.
Hundley and Co. got in rhythm after that, with Manfro scoring on a Reception and on a Run, Jordon James scoring on 2 runs, Hundley throwing 2 more TD passes, one each to Devin Fuller and Shaq Evans, and Malcolm Jones scoring on 2 late runs to complete the barrage of points. It was the first time since 1973 that the Bruins scored over 50 points in 2 straight home games. That’s FORTY years!
James ran for a career-best 164 yards, and looked good doing it. But don’t get too excited — The Aggies have lost 15 straight games, and could make anyone look like a Heisman contender. The Aggies played hard, and never quit, despite being down 31-0 at the Half, and 45-0 after 3 Quarters, and giving up 692 yards of Total Offense. They seem like a good bunch of kids. However, they did have a player ejected for targeting Shaq Evans’ head on a tackle on a missed long pass attempt. It deserved a penalty, because he was hitting a defenseless, vulnerable Receiver, but with the naked eye in real time, it did not look like an evil, dirty trojan hit. It appreared that he was going for a chest hit, and possibly by accident slid higher.
The good, sound, LEGAL Defense was supplied by UCLA, who put together, over 2 games, a streak of zero points allowed while the Bruin Offense tallied 83 — 38 against Nebraska, and 45 versus New Mexico State. That’s a remarkable feat, and a lot of the credit goes to Cassius Marsh, who delivered several great hits, and also blocked a Field Goal. Anthony Barr was also a FORCE, and Freshman Myles Jack continues his ascent up the ladder of greatness, as the Bruins held the Aggies to just 333 Total Yards — and a lot of that came late, against second and third stringers.
New Mexico State was the epitome of a “cupcake” opponent. Past Bruin teams have not always taken care of business in these matters, but Coach Mora seems to have their heads screwed on straight, even with all the emotion swirling about due to the mourning of Pasquale. But now the road gets a helluva lot tougher, as the Bruins head to Utah, where they have played horribly in the recent past. It will take more than the Spirit of Nick to succeed there — The Bruins will have to eliminate the Turnovers and all the penalties that they had against the Aggies, if they want to stay on this roll, and keep on making Nick proud.
Speaking of pride, here are 50 photos of the game, and of the UCLA Spirit Squad…
[NOTE: Click on photos to enlarge them; Check back over the next few days and weeks, as I have another 100+ CHEER photos from Saturday which I will be posting soon. And as always, I’m very, very sorry if I got any names wrong.]