UCLA Bruins Defense Celebrates Labor Day Weekend In Virginia Cavaliers End Zone

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UCLA cornerback ISHMAEL ADAMS (# 1) accepts the congratulations of his teammates just after returning an errant Virginia pass twenty yards to score the Bruins’ very first touchdown of this new 2014 NCAA football season early in the second quarter of the non-conference clash with the Cavaliers at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville. With the offense of the # 7 ranked team in the nation struggling to score points against a school that had won only two of its twelve games while going winless in the Atlantic Coast Conference a year ago, the UCLA defense obviously concluded that they might be better served if they took matters into their own hands and, accordingly, added two more touchdowns before the halftime activities had even commenced. In doing so, the Bruins defense lent a good bit of credence to the old adage that says if one sincerely wants a job done right sometimes, indeed, it really is far better to just go ahead and do the job for oneself.
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There is absolutely no question that contemporary UCLA star quarterback BRETT HUNDLEY, the multi-dimensional talent who led the Bruins in both rushing and passing as a sophomore in 2013, compares very favorably to former Westwood girdiron legend KENNY WASHINGTON, the All-America left halfback who topped the UCLA Bruins in both rushing and passing for each of his three varsity seasons during the late 1930s. It is very interesting to note that the UCLA Bruins headed into this 2014 NCAA football campaign ranked # 7 by the Associated Press, which just so happens to be the very same position that Kenny Washington’s UCLA Bruins occupied in the AP’s official final poll for the 1939 collegiate season. With all that in mind, this historically-minded blog made it a point to catch the Labor Day Weekend tilt between the visiting UCLA Bruins and the host Virginia Cavaliers via streaming satellite link.

Considering the UCLA Bruins All-Time Kickoff & Punt Return Touchdown charts (which include another of Westwood’s gridiron greats from the late 1930s, JACKIE ROBINSON) already posted by this blog previously, the opening touchdown from UCLA defensive back ISHMAEL ADAMS was, in fact, found to be particularly pleasing …… the versatile Adams, of course, averaged a very healthy 35.0 yards on ten kickoff returns last season and would end up with an impressive 49 yards from three punt returns (16.3 avg) in the Bruins’ game against the Virginia Cavaliers.

Most entertaining, as well, was the 75-yard fumble return touchdown registered by UCLA safety RANDALL GOFORTH later on in that memorable second quarter. As it turns out, Goforth’s exciting dash to paydirt was the Westwood school’s second-longest fumble return for touchdown play since 1928 (the same season that the Bruins first joined the Pacific Coast Conference and began to contest what this blog loosely defines as a modern day schedule featuring collegiate opposition of an elite level caliber). For the record, UCLA’s longest fumble return for touchdown arrived against the arch-rival USC Trojans in 1943, the year that Bruins end DAVE BROWN intercepted a backwards lateral and traveled 80 yards to score a spectacular six points.

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As the photograph clearly demonstrates conclusively, Virginia Cavaliers wide receiver KYLE DOCKINS (# 87) loses possession of the football well before his either of his two knees (or any other body part, for that matter) makes any sort of initial contact with the ground at Scott Stadium.
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For a time period of no fewer than 71 seasons (from 1929 until 1989), it was against the rules of the collegiate game for a defensive player to advance any fumble once the football had made initial contact with the turf. Thus, playing under these strict regulations, the only way it was possible for a defensive team to score a touchdown with a fumbled football was if the loose pigskin had actually been plucked out of the air (as was the case with the UCLA Bruins against the Washington Huskies in 1938 – to see a video highlight of that particular play, see previous “UCLA Bruins’ Kenny Washington Was Defensive Beast” post). In 1990, the NCAA deemed it to be again permissible for a defensive player to advance a fumbled football that had already touched the ground if the actual fumble, itself, had occurred at the line of scrimmage or beyond it; two years later it was decided that a defensive player could return any kind of fumble that had taken place anywhere on the field.
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UCLA safety RANDALL GOFORTH (# 3), the homegrown junior from Long Branch who finished second on the Bruins having intercepted three passes last season, is now tied with three other players for the honor of having notched the 13th longest defensive touchdown return in school history since 1928.
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Perhaps the most satisfying moment of the entire broadcast, however, came only a few minutes later when veteran UCLA linebacker ERIC KENDRICKS hauled back yet another pilfered Virginia pass 37 yards to rack up the Bruins’ third defensive touchdown of that sensational second quarter. Gratification because, after all, it is just not every day that one gets to see any given team score three defensive touchdowns in any single given game, let alone in any single given 15-minute period! Almost needless to say, this blog spent the forthcoming halftime intermission going through the proverbial UCLA history books to find out exactly what is the Bruins’ school record for defensive touchdowns in a single game.

UCLA BRUINS : Single-Game Record, Most Defensive Touchdowns
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1978 … California ………. B. Baggott (2 int), B.D. Jackson (int)
1986 … Oregon State ….. E. Smith (fum), C. Rutledge (int) & A. Dial (int)
2014 … Virginia …………. I. Adams (int), R. Goforth (fum) & E. Kendricks (int)

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The disheartened look on the face of the Virginia Cavaliers male cheerleader says it all as UCLA linebacker ERIC KENDRICKS (# 6), the homegrown senior from Fresno whose father, Marv, led the Bruins in rushing in both 1970 & 1971 before going on to appear with the Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian Football League as well as the Portland Storm in the ill-fated World Football League, coasts into the end zone with less than 90 seconds to play before halftime at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville.

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