No. 25 Fresno State outlasts UCLA, 36-31

September 27, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Tom Brandstater threw for three touchdowns and Ryan Mathews ran for one score and caught another as No. 25 Fresno State outlasted UCLA 36-31 on Saturday. In a game marked by rapid shifts in momentum, the Bulldogs (3-1) took final control after the Bruins' Derrick Coleman fumbled at the Fresno State 10 and the Bulldogs' Wilson Ramos recovered with 8:55 remaining.

With Mathews grinding out yards from there, Fresno State ran out the clock with a 17-play drive that ended on the UCLA 4 as time ran out.

Brandstater was 21-of-30 for 236 yards, including touchdowns of 28 yards to Chastin West, 22 to Mathews, and 4 to Bear Pascoe, the final two as the Bulldogs opened a 36-22 lead in the third quarter.

Although they played much better than their last two games, the loss was the third in a row for the Bruins (1-3), who had opened coach Rick Neuheisel's first year at the helm with an upset of Tennessee.

The Bruins closed the gap against the Bulldogs on a rare 2-point defensive PAT conversion and Kevin Craft's 20-yard touchdown throw to Chane Moline.

Fresno State's victory was just its second in eight all-time meetings against UCLA, but the Bulldogs have won the last two because they beat the Bruins 17-9 in the 2003 Silicon Valley Bowl.

Terrence Austin was a standout for UCLA in the loss, accounting for 298 total yards -- 206 on kickoff returns, 44 on punt returns, 29 rushing and 19 receiving.

Craft went 11-of-20 for UCLA, and Khalil Bell, back after being sidelined by an ankle sprain, gained 73 yards on 20 carries and scored on runs of 7 and 1 yards. Coleman, who lost the critical fumble, led the Bruins' rushers with 86 yards on 10 carries.

Down 36-22 when Brandstater threw his second scoring pass of the third quarter, the Bruins got two points back when Bret Lockett returned a blocked PAT kick for a defensive PAT conversion. Early in the fourth quarter, Craft connected with Moline to narrow the gap to five points.

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