EL PASO, Texas (AP) -- Brandon Breazell put the perfect wild
finish on a wacky Sun Bowl.
Twice, in fact.
Breazell returned two onside kicks for a pair of highlight-reel
touchdowns and Drew Olson recovered from an awful first quarter by
throwing three TD 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
This wasn't the first time Breazell had a hand in a thrilling
victory. He caught a 21-yard touchdown 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. "At least I got something
out of El Paso. It felt great."
The Wildcats (7-5) pulled within 36-31 with 2:29 remaining when
Brett Basanez threw a 9-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 43 yards.
After Basanez added a 5-yard TD pass to Shaun Herbert with 23
seconds remaining, Breazell struck again by taking the next onside
kick for a 41-yard score, punctuating the highest-scoring Sun Bowl
"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."
Nobody involved with this year's Sun Bowl had seen it happen
twice in one game, let alone within such a short span.
"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 a crazy 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 record with 1,037 yards.
But the kickoff returns? It seemed like too much, even in such a
"They were high-hoppers, and he's right there on the front of
the line," said UCLA coach Karl Dorrell, 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
Said Wildcats coach Randy Walker: "I can't explain it to you.
We have a play for when that happens. That kick isn't easy to
The Bruins also overcame three first-quarter interceptions by
Olson, who threw three all season while setting a school record
with 31 TD passes. They erased a 22-0 early deficit and survived an
injury to star tailback Maurice Drew.
"I don't know if I've ever had a game quite like that one,"
Walker said, still looking for the school's first postseason win
since beating Cal in the Rose Bowl after the 1948 season. "We've played a lot of
games like that, so I guess I should learn to expect things like
With Drew limited to punt returns after a first-half shoulder
injury, Chris Markey finished with 150 yards rushing and Kahlil
Bell added 136 yards -- career highs for both.
Olson had an ugly start, going 2-of-8 for 15 yards with three
interceptions. He remembered hearing "almost laughter" after his
third, which Nick Roach returned 34 yards to put the Wildcats ahead
"It was almost a joke," said Olson, who finished 10-of-24 for
But Olson regrouped, guiding the Bruins to 29 unanswered points.
He threw a 58-yard TD strike to Ryan Moya and Bell scored on runs
of 5 and 6 yards. Then Olson added an 8-yard TD pass to Marcus
Everett late in the first half as the Bruins took a 29-22 lead.
"We had no choice but to go out and battle back," Olson said.
"The fact that we went down by 22 in the first quarter and were up
by seven at the half ... it was one at a time."
With Drew sidelined much of the first half, Markey filled the
void as UCLA established a ground attack. He opened one drive with
runs of 24 and 51 yards, setting up Bell's 6-yard TD, and had 120
yards rushing by halftime.
Basanez was 38-of-70 for 416 yards passing with two TDs and two
interceptions for Northwestern, while freshman Tyrell Sutton, who
averaged 126 yards rushing per game this season, had 84 yards.
"We let so much get away from us early," Basanez said. "We
didn't play well enough to win."