UCLA, BYU to meet in Las Vegas Bowl for rematch of regular-season game won by Bruins

UCLA, BYU to meet in Las Vegas Bowl for rematch of regular-season game won by Bruins

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LAS VEGAS (AP) -- UCLA and BYU will play in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 22, a rematch of a regular-season game won by the Bruins.

The Bruins (6-6, 5-4) tied for fourth in the Pac-10. They lost 24-7 to Southern California on Saturday.

BYU (10-2) won the Mountain West with an 8-0 record. The Cougars lost to UCLA 27-17 on Sept. 8.

"UCLA is extremely happy to be playing in the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl," fifth-year coach Karl Dorrell said Sunday. "We are looking forward to facing an outstanding opponent in BYU."

Dorrell's job appears in jeopardy. The Bruins entered the season with 20 returning starters and high expectations. Erratic play caused in part by injuries to several key players including quarterbacks Ben Olson and Patrick Cowan short-circuited their hopes.

Dorrell was given a one-year extension in February to put him under contract through the 2011 season, but athletic director Dan Guerrero said several weeks ago he'd evaluate the program at season's end.

The Bruins played in the Las Vegas Bowl in 2004, and lost to Wyoming 24-21. In 2002, they beat New Mexico 27-13.

UCLA has won seven of eight meetings against BYU.

"I'm really proud of our football team," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "Winning a conference championship, going undefeated for the second straight season, and earning an invitation to a bowl game is a tribute to how hard this team has worked, how they have responded and how well they have listened. I believe this is a testament to the kind of young men we have here. This will be our third trip to the Las Vegas Bowl, our second as conference champions. With a new group of players, a new group of leadership, I have to give our team a tremendous amount of credit for getting this program where it is today. I couldn't be more proud of them."

The Cougars, winners of nine straight games, will take on UCLA. The Bruins finished fifth in the Pac-10 with a 6-6 overall record and a mark of 5-4 against league opponents. UCLA defeated BYU earlier this season in Pasadena, 27-17. The game will mark the second of three times the two teams are scheduled to meet within a calendar year. UCLA will travel to Provo on September 6, 2008.

"We are excited about our football team and the great things it has accomplished over the past three seasons," BYU athletics director Tom Holmoe said. "Coach Mendenhall, his staff and the players deserve a tremendous amount of credit for getting this program where it is today."

The Cougars will be making their third straight appearance in a bowl game for the first time since the Cougars went to three straight Holiday Bowls from 1991 through 1993. Mendenhall is the first coach in BYU football history to take his first three teams to a bowl game.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN, beginning at 5 p.m. (PST).

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV-12-02-07 1900MST

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