Four losses . . . and counting.

The (formerly) No. 25 BYU Cougars lost for the fourth straight time Saturday night, 27-23 to No. 23 UCLA.With powerful Penn State looming as the Cougars' next opponent, BYU stands a good chance of losing its fifth straight, something no Cougar team has done in the coach LaVell Edwards era. Of

course, that's more a reflection of increasingly tougher schedules for BYU than it is of the quality of this team.

This year's defense, especially, made great strides from its debut a week and a half ago against Florida State. In a game billed as a quarterback derby between UCLA's Touchdown Tommy Maddox and BYU's Heisman Trophy-winning Ty Detmer, both defenses grabbed more of the spotlight than expected.

As is usually the case in games this close, though, BYU had chances to win. Their final drive of the game ended in the UCLA end zone with slightly more than a minute left, when Bruin defender Tommy Bennett knocked away a pass intended BYU's Bryce Doman.

And if Earl Kauffman had not missed a 35-yard field goal and an extra point, the Cougs would have been kicking a field goal for the win on that last fourth-down play, instead of trying a desperation pass into the end zone.

At least one Cougar came away with something besides bumps and bruises, however. Detmer became the NCAA's all-time career passer late in the second quarter when he hit wide receiver Micah Matsuzaki on a short toss to the right side for five yards. That gave him 199 yards to that point, two more than he needed to pass Todd Santos of San Diego State.

At halftime it looked like Detmer's record might be the only thing the Cougars would have to feel good about. They trailed at that point 20-10 but UCLA seemed to have all the momentum.

But BYU got a break to start the second half when, on the first play of the period, Maddox threw a pass that was intercepted by BYU cornerback Ervin Lee. After a two-yard run by Tuipulotu, Detmer found Bryce Doman all alone crossing the end zone for the touchdown that made it 20-17 UCLA.

On UCLA's next possession, Maddox fumbled the ball with no one within three yards of him, and BYU's Lenny Gomes pounced on it. The Cougars then drove to the UCLA 18 where they were willing to settle for a 35-yard Earl Kauffman field goal, but Kauffman missed.

UCLA's offense faltered again, BYU linebacker Rocky Biegel finishing off the next drive with a five-yard sack of Maddox. This time the Cougs capitalized, however, even though they took 12 plays to cover 51 yards. On third and goal at the two-yard line, Detmer rolled right and found Eric Drage doing the same across the back of the end zone for the touchdown and BYU's first lead of the season. Kauffman missed the extra point, but the Cougs still led, 23-20.

After vacationing for most of the quarter the UCLA offense finally returned to work, driving 65 yards in 10 plays for another go-ahead score. They got some help on the drive from BYU cornerback Tony Crutchfield, who first committed a 15-yard face-mask foul and then contributed an eight-yard pass interfence infraction on a ball that the receiver had no chance of catching.

BYU put the ball on the ground on its next drive, at least for the successful part of it. The possession finally faltered on fourth and one at the 23, when tight end Byron Rex reached for a ball that Detmer threw for Drage, which seemed to distract Drage. It also caused Detmer to dash across the field and chew Rex out, a tongue-lashing he continued all the way to the sidelines.

UCLA looked ready to put it away on their next possession, especially when Williams romped 55 yards on a first-down draw play. On fourth and two at the 14, Donahue elected to try for the first down rather than attempt a 31-yard field goal. The ball went to 230-pound fullback Kaleaph Carter, who hit the middle of the BYU line but was rejected. Carter then tried to bounce outside to the left but was brought down by Derwin Gray for a one-yard loss.

That led to BYU's last drive, which covered 68 yards but still ended in a loss.

Early in the game it looked like UCLA might score all night. Their first possession, for instance, consisted of just three plays. After a two-yard run to open the drive, Maddox dropped back into shotgun formation and completed passes of 48 and 20 yards, the latter for the score.

BYU answered that score with a 10-play drive of its own that resulted in a 37-yard Earl Kauffman field goal. Detmer threw three passes into the end zone on the drive, the first one pulling Eric Drage out of the end zone; the second, a completion to Peter Tuipulotu, nullified by an illegal-procedure penalty; and the last one dropped by Brad Clark under pressure from a Bruin defender.

In the first half, Maddox had the edge over Detmer in their passing duel. The UCLA quarterback completed 12 of 15 passes (80 percent) for 225 yards and two TDs, with one interception. Detmer completed 16 of 24 (67 percent), with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

But Detmer easily outplayed Maddox in the second half. The BYU QB finished with 29-of-46 passing, 377 yards, two TDs and two interceptions; Maddox threw for 38 yards in the second half.


(Additional information)

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Key Stats

Ty Detmer, BYU - Completed 29 of 46 passes for 377 yards, 2 TDs and 2 interceptions. Broke the NCAA career passing record of 11,425 yards held by Todd Santos since 1987.

Tommy Maddox, UCLA - Completed 16 of 24 passes for 263 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception.

Streak - BYU suffered its 4th straight loss, it's worst losing streak since 1973.

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