Bruins honor Pasquale on first play
UCLA lost one of its own only two weeks ago, and on Saturday night, the Bruins honored redshirt freshman Nick Pasquale with a moving tribute.
In their first game at home since the wide receiver passed away after being struck by a car, UCLA presented his brother and father with a framed jersey prior to kickoff. His name and number will remain on the Rose Bowl turf for the remainder of the season in the exact spot where he lined up for his one play, and 20,000 Pasquale towels were distributed before the Bruins took on New Mexico State.
The tributes didn’t stop once the game started, either. UCLA ran their first offensive play with only 10 players on the field. With 11 players in their huddle, Shaquelle Evans suddenly sprinted past his spot on the field, and onto the sidelines. The Bruins lined up with 10, only missing one wide receiver — the position Pasquale played — and the Bruins gained four yards as the Aggies had the man advantage.
Check out UCLA’s first play in the video, where you can also see Pasquale’s number on the turf.
''Our 11th guy out there was Pacman, and the players were fired up about doing that,'' UCLA coach Jim Mora said, using Pasquale's nickname.
It was an emotional week leading up to the game. Players talked to FOX Sports' Brendon Ayanbadejo about their loss and how they were coping.
The entire UCLA roster arrived at the Rose Bowl wearing the same No. 36 T-shirts that were sold to fans, with all proceeds going to the Nick Pasquale Foundation.
Pasquale's parents and brother joined Mora and athletic director Dan Guerrero for an on-field ceremony after the first quarter. They stood next to Pasquale's name and No. 36, painted on the Rose Bowl turf near the spot where Pasquale lined up for his first play with the Bruins in last month's win over Nevada.
Both teams stood at attention on the sideline for a pregame moment of silence. After Steven Manfro returned the opening kickoff to the New Mexico State 16, the Bruins removed Evans from their huddle and ran their first offensive play with just 10 men in Pasquale's honor.
Mora said the players came up with the idea to honor Pasquale with a 10-man play, and the coaching staff agreed.
''I was pretty honored to do it,'' Evans said. ''I loved Nick. Our whole team loved Nick.''
The Bruins rolled to their second straight win in Pasquale's honor, 59-13 over the Aggies.
''It's amazing to honor him like that,'' said Steven Manfro, who caught a TD pass and rushed for another score. ''This game, this whole season is for him.''
The Associated Press contributed to this report.