Brandon Breazell put the perfect finish on a wacky Sun Bowl. Twice, in fact. Breazell returned two onside kicks for highlight-reel touchdowns...
EL PASO, Texas — Brandon Breazell put the perfect finish on a wacky Sun Bowl.
Twice, in fact.
Breazell returned two onside kicks for highlight-reel touchdowns and Drew Olson recovered from an awful first quarter by throwing three touchdown passes, leading No. 17 UCLA to a 50-38 win over Northwestern on Friday.
“I won’t be able to watch it on TV because we’ll be on the plane going home,” Breazell said.
“I hope somebody records it for me.”
It wasn’t the first time Breazell had a hand in a thrilling victory. He caught a 21-yard TD pass in overtime after the Bruins (10-2) scored 21 points in the final seven minutes of regulation for a 30-27 win at Stanford on Oct. 29.
“The one against Stanford was fun, but this was really big, coming in the Sun Bowl,” Breazell said.
Northwestern led 22-0 less than 11 minutes into the game, but the Bruins responded with a 29-point burst before halftime and took a 36-22 lead early in the third quarter.
The Wildcats (7-5) closed to 36-31 with 2:29 remaining when Brett Basanez threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Mark Philmore, but Breazell — a receiver lined up to make sure the Bruins kept the ball — returned the ensuing onside kick 42 yards.
After Basanez added a 5-yard TD pass to Shaun Herbert with 24 seconds remaining, Breazell struck again by taking the next onside kick for a 45-yard score, punctuating the highest-scoring Sun Bowl ever.
“The first one, I was kind of stunned,” Breazell said. “When I got to the end zone, I saluted the troops I saw in the stands. The second one, I was real anxious. I wanted it so bad. My mind was going in 100 directions.”
Basanez said, “When they returned the first one, we said, ‘OK,’ ” Basanez said. “When they returned the second one, we said, ‘Well that’s interesting. I’ve never seen that before.’ “
It was a fitting ending to an odd afternoon, where the teams combined to set 11 Sun Bowl records.
It figured to be a wild day, as both teams came in ranked among the national leaders in offense but among the nation’s worst defenses. Sure enough, the Wildcats set a record with 584 total yards and the teams combined for another Sun Bowl record with 1,037 yards.
But the kickoff returns by Breazell? They seemed to be too much.
“They were high-hoppers, and he’s right there on the front of the line,” said UCLA coach Karl Dorrell, a former Washington offensive coordinator who won his first bowl game on the third try. “The first touchdown looked easy. The second one, he had to think on his feet. It was just heads-up play.”
The Bruins overcame an injury to standout tailback Maurice Drew.
• UCLA kicker Justin Medlock was charged with felony driving under the influence of alcohol in connection with a Dec. 10 accident in which a woman — UCLA golfer Hannah Jun — was seriously injured. Medlock, 22, was suspended indefinitely a day after the accident.