LINCOLN, Neb. — UCLA’s emotional week ended with the Bruins making a comeback the likes of which rarely, if ever, has been seen at Memorial Stadium.
Brett Hundley threw three touchdown passes while No. 16 UCLA wiped out an 18-point deficit to defeat No. 23 Nebraska 41-21 and stun into silence a record crowd of 91,471 on Saturday.
The win came six days after UCLA receiver Nick Pasquale was killed when he was struck by a vehicle while he was walking in his hometown and a day before coaches and teammates travel to San Clemente, Calif., for his memorial service.
“You can’t believe how tough it was on them,” Bruins coach Jim Mora said. “You never want to say you won one for somebody. We didn’t win one for Nick. What we tried to do today is go out and play with the type or energy, enthusiasm and passion for the game that would reflect what he meant to us.”
The Bruins wore No. 36 patches on their jerseys in memory of Pasquale. The Huskers wore No. 36 decals on their helmets, and there was a moment of silence for Pasquale before the game.
The Huskers (2-1), wearing alternate black jerseys instead of their traditional home red, looked to be in total control in the first half.
Then they had a flashback to last year at the Rose Bowl, when they couldn’t stop Hundley and an offense that had 653 yards in a 36-30 Bruins’ win.
“The first half there was so much emotion, I’m not going to lie,” Hundley said. “I just had so much emotion going into the game. There were a lot of things that added up to it. After the first half, everything slowed down and we got back to playing football and came out with the win.”
According to STATS, the 18 points marked the biggest deficit overcome by a Nebraska opponent in Lincoln since at least 1996. Neither STATS nor Nebraska sports information officials had complete records on opponent comebacks available prior to 1996.
Washington rallied from 12 points down to beat the Huskers in 1991 and Colorado came back from 12 points down to win in 1990, but those games can’t compare to the magnitude of Nebraska’s meltdown Saturday.
The Bruins (2-0) scored 35 points in 16 minutes. The barrage started with Paul Perkins’ 10-yard touchdown run to cut Nebraska’s lead to 21-10 at the half.