Bulldogs Reign Supreme at the Rose Bowl
Pat Hill celebrates after the Bulldog defense forced a turnover against UCLA. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Pat Hill celebrates after the Bulldog defense forced a turnover against UCLA. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Sept. 27, 2008

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PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- Tom Brandstater threw for three touchdowns and Ryan Mathews ran for one score and caught another as No. 25 Fresno State outlasted UCLA 36-31 on Saturday.

In a game marked by rapid shifts in momentum, the Bulldogs (3-1) took final control after the Bruins' Derrick Coleman fumbled at the Fresno State 10 and the Bulldogs' Wilson Ramos recovered with 8:55 remaining.

With Mathews grinding out yards from there, Fresno State ran out the clock with a 17-play drive that ended on the UCLA 4 as time ran out.

Brandstater was 21-of-30 for 236 yards, including touchdowns of 28 yards to Chastin West, 22 to Mathews, and 4 to Bear Pascoe, the final two as the Bulldogs opened a 36-22 lead in the third quarter.

Although they played much better than their last two games, the loss was the third in a row for the Bruins (1-3), who had opened coach Rick Neuheisel's first year at the helm with an upset of Tennessee.

The Bruins closed the gap against the Bulldogs on a rare 2-point defensive PAT conversion and Kevin Craft's 20-yard touchdown throw to Chane Moline.

Fresno State's victory was just its second in eight all-time meetings against UCLA, but the Bulldogs have won the last two because they beat the Bruins 17-9 in the 2003 Silicon Valley Bowl.

Terrence Austin was a standout for UCLA in the loss, accounting for 298 total yards--206 on kickoff returns, 44 on punt returns, 29 rushing and 19 receiving.

Craft went 11-of-20 for UCLA, and Khalil Bell, back after being sidelined by an ankle sprain, gained 73 yards on 20 carries and scored on runs of 7 and 1 yards. Coleman, who lost the critical fumble, led the Bruins' rushers with 86 yards on 10 carries.

Down 36-22 when Brandstater threw his second scoring pass of the third quarter, the Bruins got two points back when Bret Lockett returned a blocked PAT kick for a defensive PAT conversion. Early in the fourth quarter, Craft connected with Moline to narrow the gap to five points.

Goessling kicked a 35-yard field goal to give the Bulldogs a 23-19 lead early in the third quarter.

Kai Forbath kicked field goals of 25, 46 and 35 yards for the Bruins. His kick as time expired in the first half pulled UCLA within 20-19. Starting 43 seconds before halftime, Craft completed throws of 32 and 13 yards on a drive from the Bruins' 22.

After the Bulldogs stacked up Bell for no gain on fourth-and-1 at the Fresno State 18 with 2:09 left in the second quarter, Brandstater went 5-of-5 for 60 yards on an 82-yard drive that ended with his short scoring pass to Pascoe for a 20-16 lead.

Mathews had swept into the open around the left side on a 49-yard run that put the Bulldogs on top 13-10 early in the second quarter.

Forbath kicked a 25-yard field to put the Bruins up 10-7 early in the second quarter.

After Fresno State took a 7-0 lead on Marlon Moore's 63-yard punt return in the opening minute, UCLA came back with a methodical 65-yard drive capped by Bell's 1-yard run.

Fresno State vs. UCLA
The Rose Bowl
Postgame Notes and Quotes
Sept. 27, 2008

Rose Bowl Rarity
Fresno State did something today that a non-BCS team hadn't done against UCLA in the Rose Bowl in 25 years...win. The last time a team from a non-BCS conference beat the Bruins in the Rose Bowl was in 1983 when BYU beat the Bruins. This was Fresno State's second straight win over the Bruins, who are now 2-6 all-time.

Mathews to the House Again, and Again
Sensational sophomore Ryan Mathews scored his 19th and 20th career touchdowns with 49-yard run around the left end and a 25-yard reception, both of which were things of beauty. On his run, he got to the sideline and easily won the footrace against the UCLA secondary to reach the end zone. It was then fourth-longest run of his career. Mathews, who entered the game averaging over 100 yards per game, finished with 21carries for 166 yards, an average of 7.9 yards per rush. He entered the game with four receptions for 100 yards and one touchdown. On is reception on a screen pass from Brandstater he hurdled a UCLA defensive back at the 7 yard line and scored for the second time in the game to give the Dogs a 30-22 lead.

The Magic Man
Marlon Moore's 63-yard punt return for a touchdown was the first of his career and the first since Clifton Smith scored on a return last season against Nevada.

Moore came into the game ranked in the NCAA top 50 in punt return average, but give credit to his team mates who have the philosophy that "10 block so 1 can run" and opened a gaping hole in the middle of the UCLA punt return team so big a Mack truck could have gone through.

This marks the second straight week Fresno State has taken a 7-0 lead without the offense taking a snap. Moore's punt return came just 49 seconds into the game. Last week, the Dogs scored on a Ben Jacobs' fumble return for a touchdown just 34 seconds into the Toledo game.

Harris Gets a Sack
Fresno State's outstanding junior safety Moses Harris didn't have a sack coming into this season. With a first quarter sack of UCLA quarterback Kevin Craft he earned the first of his career and Fresno State's third on the season.

Tom Terrific
Coming of an amazing performance in the second half of the Toledo game, quarterback Tom Brandstater was again stellar throwing for three touchdowns and 236 yards. In the last two games, he has thrown for seven touchdowns, completing 43-of-58 passes (.741) and had a passing efficiency rating of 178.5.

Big Stop Leads to Touchdown
Fresno State had a big fourth-down defensive play that stopped UCLA's at Fresno State's 18 yard line late in the second quarter with just over 2 minutes remaining in the half.

The Dogs took the ball and had an impressive 82-yard drive in 1:42 seconds that ended with a Tom Brandstater to Bear Pascoe 4 -yard touchdown pass with 48 second left in the half and gave the Bulldogs a 20-16 lead.

On the drive Brandstater completed all five of his pass attempts for 60 yards, three of them to Seyi Ajirotutu.

Bear's Big Block
Senior tight end Bear Pascoe got the fifth block of his career on an extra point attempt in the second quarter on a play that gave UCLA field-goal margin lead, 16-13. Pascoe's block up the middle was the 76th of the Pat Hill era of special teams and Fresno State's NCAA-leading 41st since the 2002 season. Pascoe had five receptions for 33 yards and a touchdown, his second in as many weeks.

Most Blocked Kicks in the NCAA since 2002
1. Fresno State, 41
2. Texas, 39
3. Louisiana-Lafayette, 32
Boise State, 32
5. Kentucky, 30

Dogs on TV
Fresno State made its 58th national television appearance since the 2000 season on Saturday. The Dogs are among the nation's most watched teams this decade. Fresno State has seven national TV games this season, with two remaining Nevada and at Boise State, both on ESPN2. In all 11 of Fresno State's game this season will be televised on a national or regional basis.

The Dogs have won their first three road games of the season. The last time that happened was in 2001 ... After three road games in the first four of the season, the Dogs return home to open the WAC schedule and will play consecutive home games beginning next Saturday vs. Hawaii at Bulldog Stadium ... this game vs. the Bruins was the last scheduled against a school from the Pac-10 conference in the coming years ... Terrance Austin broke an all-time Bruin record for kickoff return yardage in a game which led to the Bruins having great starting position the whole game. The Bruins scored 13 points after excellent kickoffs returns into Fresno State's territory, including one that started on the Bulldog 21 yard line ... today's 12:30 p.m. local time start is the earliest for a game this season, coming one week after an 8:15 p.m. ET start, the latest for the Dogs this season ... One week after making a special teams tackle on his first play a college player, true freshman Rashad Evans caught his first pass to convert a third-down play late in the third quarter ... Chastin West's touchdown in the third quarter was his first since the 2006 season ... sophomore Robert Malone continues to punt the ball well with two over 50 yards in the game and he downed one inside the 20 yard line ... Fresno State's most impressive drive didn't result in a score. On the last series of the game the Dogs took the ball and drove 85 yards on 17 plays for a total of 8 minutes and 55 seconds to end finish the game by taking a knee on the UCLA 5 yard line.

Postgame Quotes

Head Coach Pat Hill
"I'm proud of this team. We've been on the road for three games this year and coming off two emotional games coming in here. This was a good win and now we move on to the WAC schedule."

"UCLA is a talented team, I don't care what they say. They don't have anyone on their two deep who would even take a recruiting visit to Fresno. Our guys played with a lot of heart and guts. We were missing some guys in the middle of the defense and playing with two true freshmen linemen out there. They battled and this was a big win for us."

"I thought Ryan Mathews had a good game. He's a heck of a back you could see that today. He's a special, special player."

"I'm very proud of our fans. I loved seeing that entire side of the stadium in red. They came out in force and stayed until the end. I'd love to see that sea of red in Bulldog Stadium for the rest of the year. It was great. I think it should show the rest of the Pac-10 schools that scheduling Fresno State is a good thing. We will bring fans and sell tickets and we have lot of to offer with a Top 25 program. What more could someone want for a non-conference game."

"Join the State - Fresno State!" - The nationally-ranked Dogs next home game is Saturday, October 4 as they battle defending WAC Champion Hawai'i at 7 p.m. To purchase tickets, click on the tickets icon at the top of this page, call the Bulldog Ticket Office at (559) 278-DOGS, or stop by the Bulldog Ticket Office.



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