|BYU QB Steve Young runs from a UCLA defender in 1983 game.|
One final flashback that is bowl related to wrap up college football bowl season. This isn't one of the BYU Cougars' previous bowl games, but it was played in the same venue as one of the most, if not the most, prestigious bowl games.
In 1983, BYU travelled to Los Angeles to play the UCLA Bruins for the first time in school history. The Bruins began playing their home games in the Rose Bowl the year before. As it would turn out, UCLA would go on to win the Pac-10 title that year to earn the right to play in the Rose Bowl Game on January 2, 1984. UCLA destroyed the Big Ten champion Illinois, 45-9. Going into the game, UCLA head coach Terry Donahue had never lost a game in the Rose Bowl stadium as a player, assistant coach, or head coach.
BYU kicked off to start the game. After a two-yard run on first down, BYU linebacker Leon White sacked the Bruins quarterback Steve Bono for a loss of four yards. White almost sacked Bono on the next play, as well. Bono was able to elude White, but not Cary Whittingham. That created 4th and 15. UCLA got off a poor punt. It went just 24 yards.
The shanked punt gave BYU the ball at the UCLA 39-yard line. Steve Young completed back-to-back passes for a total of 19 yards. Just like that, the Cougars were in scoring position. Young's next pass was dropped. He then proceeded to use his legs to pick up the first down rushing for 11 yards total on second (9 yards) and third (2 yards) downs. On 1st and Goal, Young found Mike Eddo wide open on a crossing route for a nine-yard touchdown.
The six play, 39-yard drive took 1:34 and gave BYU a 7-0 lead.
Cougar linebacker Todd Shell forced a fumble in the Bruins backfield on the first play of their next drive. Jon Young was there to recover for BYU at the UCLA 16-yard line.
BYU running back Casey Tiumalu caught a swing pass for a pick up of seven. He then ran for five yards to set up 1st and Goal at the four. UCLA got pressure on Steve Young, and forced a bad throw to the end zone that was intercepted.
UCLA tried three straight run plays, but could not pick up a first down. Following the ensuing punt, Young threw his second interception of the game. On the third play of the drive, Young's pass was too high for the receiver's outstretched hand, which caused him to tip it up and allow the Bruin defender to snag it.
Despite giving UCLA great field position at its own 49-yard line, the turnovers were meaningless. The Cougar defense was manhandling the Bruins offense. BYU forced another punt without allowing a first down. UCLA had an excellent opportunity to down the punt at the one-yard line, but did a poor job fielding the ball. It ended up being a touchback.
Tiumalu ran for 12 yards on first down. Waymon Hamilton couldn't pick up anything running the ball the next play, but he did get loose for 48-yards on a pass the play after. Young completed a short pass for three yards to reach the UCLA 16-yard line. From there, BYU just chipped away running the ball. Four plays later, Hamilton scored from two yards out.
With 2:28 to play in the first quarter, BYU was up 14-0.
After runs of six and four yards, UCLA finally got a first down. Two plays later, the Bruins had their second first down of the game. On the first play of the second quarter, BYU moved the Bruins back five yards. Jim Herrmann registered a sack on the next play to force a punt.
Young threw his third interception of the game on the next drive. It was another overthrown ball. At this point, he was 7 of 11 passing, but only one throw had hit the turf.
This time, UCLA capitalized on the turnover. The Bruins alternated pass and run plays to pick up two first downs. Bono then went deep and completed a 33-yard bomb for a touchdown. That cut the lead in half, 14-7.
Thus far, if Young wasn't throwing interceptions, BYU was getting into the end zone. Young was able to keep the ball out of the Bruins' hands on this drive. During the drive, he had his longest run of the game, 18 yards. UCLA then committed two 15-yard penalties on back-to-back plays. Tiumalu ran for six yards and was taken down by his facemask. Young scrambled for four more, and was hit late by a Bruin defender. After Tiumalu picked up eight more yards, Hamilton broke free for a 19-yard touchdown run.
BYU covered 80 yards in eight plays on that drive in exactly three minutes. With 6:43 to play in the first half, BYU was ahead again by two touchdowns, 21-7.
UCLA then put together a time consuming drive. Bono completed passes on three of the first four plays of the drive. That brought his passing numbers to a perfect 8 of 8 for 98 yards. Shell sacked him the next time he dropped back to pass for an eight-yard loss. Bono didn't throw it the next time he dropped back to pass, either. Instead, he scrambled for 21 yards. Four more run plays got the ball down to the BYU five-yard line. Bono faked the handoff. The Cougar defensive end bit on the fake, which allowed Bono an easy run into the end zone.
That made it 21-14 after a 5:05 drive, but the drive didn't use enough time.
In the final 88 seconds of the half, Young went to work. He completed a 12-yard pass on first down. An illegal shift negated a five-yard completion. Young completed a six-yard pass following the penalty, and then found Hamilton for 19 yards. After another illegal shift penalty, BYU faked a reverse, and Young hit Tiumalu out of the backfield for 20 yards. There were just eight seconds left following a three-yard pass. That was enough for Lee Johnson to boot a 47-yard field goal to end the half.
BYU took a 10-point lead into the locker room, but the UCLA offense had come to life after a very slow start.
The Cougars got the ball to start the second half. Tiumalu had a nice 12-yard run. Young took off on a designed run play for 11 more yards after completing a five-yard pass to Gordon Hudson the play before. That moved the ball out near midfield, however, BYU was not able to overcome a five-yard sack and incompletion. For the first, and last, time in the game, BYU punted.
The punt was immediately followed by Bono's first incompletion of the game. He completed his next two, though, for a total of 27 yards. The Bruins' progress was stalled for a moment by a holding penalty and another incomplete pass, but a 14-yard throw on 3rd and 10 moved the chains one more time. Shell was able to tip the ball on UCLA's next third down to force a punting situation.
With Bono as the team's regular punter, Donahue decided to fake the punt this time. The gamble paid off. Bono completed a 20-yard pass for a first down. Two plays later, UCLA scored on a run from eight yards out to close the gap to 24-21.
A fumble by Bono gave BYU the ball at the UCLA 36-yard line. Five plays later, Young found Hudson for a 12-yard touchdown to regain a 10-point advantage with 3:01 to play in the third quarter.
The Bruins were driving on their next possession, but Bono fumbled again on the final play of the quarter. BYU would start the fourth quarter at its 15-yard line.
BYU steadily moved the ball down the field. Tiumalu was becoming the feature player for the Cougars. He went over 100 yards rushing for the game on the drive. Young completed timely passes of 18 yards and 14 yards to Hudson and Kirk Pendelton, respectively. Young threw a pass to the end zone, and it was almost caught even after being tipped. The drive eventually stalled, and Johnson came in to kick a 22-yard field goal and push the lead to 13, 34-21, with exactly 10 minutes left in the game.
UCLA wouldn't go away quietly. A 58-yard touchdown pass enabled UCLA to score in just 1:18 seconds. That made it a one score game, 34-28.
The Bruin defense was unable to stop BYU's ball control offense. Tiumalu ran for another 27 yards on four carries. Hudson caught three passes for 25 yards. He fumbled the ball on one play, but Pendleton was there to recover. Hamilton and Eddie Stinnett also helped move the ball into scoring territory again. Young threw an incomplete pass on 3rd and 7, so the drive would end with just a field goal, but the Cougars had drained 6:22 off the clock.
Trailing 37-28, UCLA had just 2:20 to score twice.
UCLA moved the ball downfield, but it was taking time. With 35 seconds to play, the Bruins were 36 yards away from the end zone, and faced 3rd and 19. Bono heaved the ball to the end zone. Several Cougar defenders were there in coverage, and one knocked the ball away, but UCLA had another receiver there to catch it.
Kurt Gouveia recovered the onside kick for BYU, which ended the drama and secured the 37-35 win for BYU.
Bono would later back up Young in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers. It was his first start for UCLA. He passed for 399 yards to set a new UCLA single-game record. Although he outplayed Young, statistically, by virtue of the score on the scoreboard, Young was the one who jumped into the Heisman Trophy discussion.
BYU came into the game averaging 600 yards of total offense per game. With a balanced attack, BYU finished with 535 (270 pass, 265 rush).
PLAY OF THE GAME: Waymon Hamilton 48-yard reception.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME: Casey Tiumalu--17 rush, 137 yards (8.1 YPC); 6 receptions, 51 yards
Steve Young--25 of 36 (69%), 270 yards, 2 TD, 3 Int.; 14 carries, 54 yards.
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