UCLA-Texas Preview

UCLA’s last visit to Austin is one of those games Texas fans

want to forget. It would be hard to imagine this one being anywhere

near as bad a memory.

The seventh-ranked Longhorns look to open 4-0 for the fourth

consecutive season in a rematch with the visiting Bruins on

Saturday.

The Bruins embarrassed Texas 66-3 on Sept. 13, 1997, handing the

Longhorns their worst loss since 1904 when they were beaten 68-0 by

Chicago. UCLA forced eight turnovers and Cade McNown threw a

school-record five touchdown passes in the first half.

Texas coach Mack Brown was on the sidelines at North Carolina at

the time, but is well aware of that awful memory for the Longhorns

faithful.

“Last time they were here it wasn’t good for us. It was 66-3,”

Brown said. “We need the crowd to be pumped. We need them to be

excited. … (UCLA) will come in here with a lot of excitement with

the understanding that they can turn their year around by coming in

here and getting after us.”

The Bruins (1-2), though, share the worst record in the Pac-10

and have lost 15 consecutive road games against ranked teams since

a 2001 win at Oregon State.

They’ll be hard-pressed to stop two long streaks at stake for

Texas (3-0), which has won 17 in a row at home and 17 straight

regular-season games in non-conference play.

The Longhorns are coming off a 24-14 win over Texas Tech last

Saturday, holding the Red Raiders to 144 yards of total offense –

their lowest output in 20 years.

Texas boasts the nation’s second-ranked defense, allowing 206.7

yards per game.

“I think if you play defense, especially at Texas, you have to

have a sense of pride,” defensive end Dravannti Johnson said. “You

have to have a sense of, ‘We’re going to go out there and stop

every single play.’ The rankings don’t matter to us. For us, we are

going to continue to do what we are doing, and we don’t care about

that.”

The Longhorns lead the country in run defense, giving up 44.0

yards per game after holding Texas Tech to minus-14.

UCLA is averaging 203.6 yards on the ground, a vast improvement

from the 114.6 it managed in 2009.

“It’s an undefeated team with great tradition,” Bruins coach

Rick Neuheisel said of the Longhorns. “We’ve got to make sure that

we’re not caught looking at all the people wearing burnt

orange.”

One of those wearing it on the field that should most concern

Neuheisel is Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert. The sophomore was

21 of 36 for 227 yards and two touchdowns against Texas Tech. He

was picked off three times – two were tipped at the line – but

Brown was pleased by Gilbert’s poise and focus.

“He didn’t look any different on any play,” Brown said. “It’s

amazing to me. His demeanor didn’t change at all.”

The Bruins’ demeanor wasn’t very good after a 35-0 home loss to

then-No. 25 Stanford on Sept. 11, but they bounced back last

Saturday to pick up its first victory by defeating then-No. 23

Houston 31-13.

UCLA put up 365 yards of offense, including 266 rushing for its

highest single-game total since 2007.

Jonathan Franklin led the way with a career-high 158 yards and

three touchdowns on 26 carries, and he seems to be enjoying the new

Pistol offense that Neuheisel implemented during the offseason.

“It’s opened our running game up, and it’s opened our offense,”

Franklin said. “It keeps the defense on their toes, because we have

more weapons. It definitely benefits us. We did a good job, but we

still have a long way to go.”

Texas and UCLA have split the all-time series 2-2, with the

Bruins winning the last two and posting a 49-31 home victory in the

most recent matchup in 1998.