UCLA linebacker Sean Westgate sacks Cougars quarterback Case Keenum in… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)
This was a tough start, losing the first two games and facing a schedule that includes Houston and Texas.
It was no problem in 1997.
UCLA, with Cade McNown at quarterback, beat Texas, 66-3, to start a 20-game winning streak that included a 66-10 victory over Houston.
"I remember that we had a lot to prove that season, not only to the critics, but to ourselves," McNown said. "We were coming off a 5-6 season and started the 1997 season 0-2. We need something fast."
The Bruins, who opened the 2010 season 0-2, needed the same facing 23rd-ranked Houston on Saturday night. UCLA plays at sixth-ranked Texas next week.
UCLA and Houston have split the four games they have played, but the Bruins went into Saturday's game 0-2 against ranked Cougars teams. Houston, ranked 14th in 1997, beat UCLA, 17-13, and the 16th-ranked Cougars beat the Bruins, 24-16, in 1979.
Wayne Lyons, considered one of the top high school safeties in the nation, is taking an official visit to UCLA this weekend.
Lyons, who plays at Ft. Lauderdale Dillard High, is the fourth-ranked safety nationally according to Rivals.com. He is among a handful of talented high school players who were at the Rose Bowl on Saturday for the game between UCLA and Houston.
The group included Beverly Hills' Greg Townsend Jr., the son of former Los Angeles and Oakland Raider Greg Townsend. He is ranked second among defensive ends nationally.
Also in attendance were quarterback Devon Blackmon (Fontana Summit), tight end Junior Pomee (Moreno Valley Rancho Verde), wide receiver Stefan McClure (Vista), defensive end Stephan Nembot (Van Nuys Montclair Prep), defensive end Jason Gibson (Gardena Serra) and defensive end DeVante Wilson (Corona).
Lakewood Mayfair tackle Darryl Jackson, who has committed to UCLA, was also at the game.
UCLA is already working on the 2012 recruiting class, with five top high school juniors at the game: Lakewood wide receiver Malik Gilmore, Westlake Village Oaks Christian wide receiver Jordan Payton, Bellflower St. John Bosco tackle Beau Boyster, Fresno Bullard guard Stephon McCray and Venice wide receiver Gabriel Marks.
Former UCLA offensive lineman Kris Farris was the Bruins' honorary captain. Farris was the Outland Trophy winner in 1998. … The only local player on the Houston roster was kicker Jordan Mannisto, who handled the kickoff duties for the Cougars. Mannisto played at Westlake High.