The Rundown: Nov. 3
Junior guard Isaac Hamilton and UCLA will rematch this year with No. 9 Gonzaga, which bounced the Bruins from the NCAA tournament in March. (Daily Bruin file photo)
Check out a breakdown of the UCLA sports stories you might have missed this week.
What kickers live for
New Orleans Saints kicker Kai Forbath had just tied the game at 49 with his seventh extra point of the day.
With 36 seconds left and the New York Giants receiving the ball on the kickoff, it seemed unlikely Forbath would have another chance to score during regulation. But punter Thomas Morstead told him to be ready.
“Thomas actually called it,” Forbath told the media after the game. “He said, ‘Look, they are going to punt it, we’re going to get the ball back, and you’re going to hit a game-winner.'”
Morstead was right. It took a series of unexpected happenings – a 16-second three-and-out from the New York offense, a 24-yard punt return by New Orleans’ Marcus Murphy, a Murphy fumble recovered by the Saints and a facemask penalty on the New York punter – but there Forbath was, with five seconds left on the clock, lining up for a career-long 50-yard field goal to win the game.
Forbath, a four-year starter at UCLA from 2007 to 2010, banged the kick through the uprights, consequently stealing the game ball honors away from quarterback Drew Brees, who tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes.
“Shoot, Brees had seven touchdowns, and we told him the game ball was going to the kicker,” said Saints coach Sean Payton in a postgame press conference.
It was Forbath’s first field goal attempt since he joined the Saints two weeks ago. The former Bruin, who was released by the Washington Redskins because of poor leg strength on kickoffs, is now 61 of 70 on field goals in his career, including five game-winners.
“I like his demeanor, his makeup, he’s pretty calm,” Payton said. “And that’s as big a kick as you can have with a new team, right?”
Forbath, who described the moment as the type that “kickers live for,” registered an illustrious career in his time at UCLA, tying John Lee for the program’s career field goal record. In his redshirt junior year, the California native won the Lou Groza Award, presented to the top college kicker in the nation, and was named a consensus All-American.
Steve Alford and the UCLA men’s basketball team failed to make the AP Top 25 preseason poll when it was released Monday morning, but there are a number of familiar names gracing the list. Headlining the Bruins’ nonconference schedule are showdowns with both No. 1 North Carolina in Brooklyn, New York, and No. 2 Kentucky in Pauley Pavilion.
A week before facing UNC, the team will make the trip north to No. 9 Gonzaga, which beat UCLA twice last year. The Bulldogs cruised to a 87-74 victory in December before knocking the Bruins out of the Sweet Sixteen in late March.
To round out the brutal nonconference slate, UCLA will participate in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational, which will include No. 4 Kansas, No. 15 Indiana and No. 18 Vanderbilt as possible opponents.
Pac-12 play will bring a “breather” in the form of rivals No. 12 Arizona, No. 14 California and No. 16 Utah.
Compiled by Matt Cummings and Tanner Walters, Bruin Sports senior staff