It is all over, folks! Nothing to see here! The show is over! Adios! There is no more until the 2014 season…so then let us relive the top five moments of UCLA Football’s 2013 campaign!
5. Myles “Freaking” Jack
Who knew that one guy would make such a lasting impression as a true freshman? Myles Jack, that’s who!
This kid was a big get during the last signing day which saw a turning of the tide for UCLA on the recruiting trail. With the likes of Caleb Benenoch, Kylie Fitts and Priest Willis signing with the Bruins, it was known that the future was going to be good for UCLA. Not many knew that several true freshmen did not want to wait for the future, especially a guy named Jack.
The evidence of his greatness were first viewed on a cold snowy night in Salt Lake City, on October 3 against the Utah Utes. With the game going down to the wire, Utah had one last shot to tie this game and shock the (then) #12 Bruins. With a shot down the middle, Utah QB Travis Wilson sent his sixth interception into the hands of Jack (who was covering a wide receiver at the time) who caught it at the UCLA 13 and took it 40 yards to get possession back for the Bruins, essentially clinching the game.
Yeah, he is good on defense, but the UCLA coaches knew he was good on offense, too. With several Bruin running backs out with injuries, Jack was inserted into offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone’s schemes against Arizona. He ran all over the Wildcats for 160 yards and 1 TD. The next week, he scored 4 TDs against Washington. He even got a TD in the final two regular season games against ASU and USC.
Ain’t no thing, right? Well, he did win the Pac-12’s award for Offensive and Defensive Freshman of the Year. Ah, yeah! And how about that midriff? A UCLA fan podcast, What’s Bruin (Twitter: @whatsbruinshow) recently awarded Jack the “80’s Flashback Weekend Award” for superb fashion sense. This boy has it going on! Is that a Heisman campaign I smell?
4. Jim Mora To Stay Put At UCLA
After the win against USC and a slew of coaching moves throughout college football, Mora was linked to several open (and highly coveted) positions. First off, his alma mater, Washington, came calling when USC hired their head coach, Steve Sarkisian, away from the Huskies. Washington, who Mora once said was his “dream job”, snubbed the Huskies for what is his new “dream job”…head coach of UCLA Football.
The UCLA Athletic Department had also stepped up and offered him an extension, more money for his assistants and a promise to get the ball rolling with the new football facility. You can read about it further in UCLA Football: Jim Mora Continues The Bruin Revolution. He wants to be here. He has started something at UCLA that is undeniable.
Even when Texas came calling, in regards to their opening at head coach (probably the most coveted position in ALL of football), Mora gave them a polite, “no thank you”. And why? Jim Mora Is Happy To Be Coaching UCLA Football.
3. Sun Bowl Victory Leads to 10th Win
10 wins… it was a goal of ours.” –Jim Mora
UCLA got that and more when they completed a feat that had not been done since 2005 and that is winning 10 games. The Bruins were neck-and-neck with Virginia Tech throughout the Sun Bowl until UCLA blew open the fourth period with 28 points, which lead to a 42-12 victory. Here is what the win signified:
-Sun Bowl Champions
-A 10-win season
-Mora’s first bowl victory
-Finishing the season with success
This was a great victory that had topped off a tough season full of emotion and growth. Not only was this the exclamation point to the season, but the future implications are now boundless for the Bruins. Recruiting will improve, Westwood is in the national spotlight and the Bruin Revolution continues. This is just starting.
2. Nick Pasquale
— UCLA Football (@UCLAFootball) September 22, 2013
The shock of a football team losing one of their own in the middle of a season is worse than losing 50-0. It is worse than losing 100-0. It is something that the UCLA Football team, the UCLA community and UCLA fans had to endure early into this season.
At 1:30 a.m. on September 8, 2013, Nick Pasquale, a walk-on wide receiver, was struck and killed by a car in San Clemente, CA, while intoxicated. Whatever the circumstance, this was hard for the entire UCLA family and fanbase. This is not suppose to happen in college football, but it did happen to the Bruins. Emotions could not be hidden. Jim Mora could not hide his.
Still, they pulled together. UCLA honored Nick and his family during the New Mexico State game by putting “Pasquale 36” on the field, and it stayed there the entire season. Adidas helped out by offering t-shirts with his name and number on it, with all proceeds going to the Nick Pasquale Foundation. There was a moment of silence and a video tribute on the big board. Patches were worn on the Bruin’s jerseys all season long. The Bruin family was able to say goodbye.
On the first play of the New Mexico State game, UCLA ran their first play of the game with only ten players, another way the Bruins chose to honor Nick.
Even our opponents felt our loss, as the classy Nebraska Cornhuskers wore “36” on their helmets and offered the mantra “Two Schools, One Team”. They also helped in honoring Nick with the most wonderful acts of kindness and respect one fanbase can do for another, which you can see here. Nebraska Cornhuskers, far and wide, thank you.
This was a season-long moment that fans would not want to go through again, but will definitely never forget. Nick Pasquale, you UCLA Football Player, RIP.
1. 35-14, UCLA Runs This Town
To go through what UCLA has gone through and to finish the regular season on a high note, would be just dandy. The thing is, the Bruins lost the chance to win the Pac-12 in the previous game, as Arizona State won the South Division in the Bruin’s first lost at home.
It did not help either as their next opponent, the crosstown rival USC Trojans, were riding a five game win streak into their annual battle, which was at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum this year. Everybody on creation had the Trojans winning. And why not? Behind a resurgence from interim Head Coach Ed Orgeron, USC would roll through UCLA. Everyone thought that except UCLA.
35-14. UCLA DOMINATED! Brett Hundley ran the offensive beatdown while Jack, Anthony Barr, Cassius Marsh, Jordan Zumwalt and everyone else on their side of the ball lead the defensive beatdown. USC got beat so bad, they even lost their coach. (Pause for laughter.)
Still, beating USC two years in a row is a statement. One that Brett Hundley, so eloquently, put…
UCLA runs L.A. Everybody knows that” -Brett Hundley
Have a happy 2014 and Go Bruins!