The 2002 SEGA Sports Las Vegas Bowl was the 11th edition of that annual game. It featured the UCLA Bruins, and the New Mexico Lobos. The Bruins defeated the Lobos 27-13. Notably the game was the first Division I-Acollege football game to have a female player on the field, Katie Hnida. Also, UCLA coach Ed Kezirian was victorious in his one and only appearance as a head coach, giving him a perfect coaching record.
UCLA scored first on a 49 yard field goal by Nate Fikse to take an early 3-0 lead. New Mexico's Desmar Black intercepted a UCLA pass, and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown. The extra point try was blocked, giving New Mexico a 6-3 lead. An interesting note from that game was that when New Mexico sent Katie Hnida out to kick the extra point, Katie became the first woman to play in a Division I-Acollege football game. Since the kick was blocked, UCLA was not the first team to be scored upon by a woman in a Division I-A game. Katie would later kick two extra points against Texas State University in the fourth quarter of a 72-8 New Mexico win on August 30, 2003.
Nate Fikse's 39 yard field goal for the Bruins tied it in the second quarter, and the score remained 6-6 at halftime.
2 minutes into the third quarter, UCLA's Craig Bragg scored on a 74 yard punt return giving UCLA a 13-6 lead. In the fourth quarter, UCLA's Jarrad Page intercepted a New Mexico pass, and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown, putting UCLA up 20-6. A 1 yard Tyler Ebell scored from 1 yard out, increasing the Bruins' lead to 27-6. New Mexico scored once more on an 11 yard touchdown pass from Casey Kelly to Joe Manning. Kenny Byrd kicked the extra point, making the final score 27-13.
After the game, Kezirian retired from coaching undefeated and was replaced by Karl Dorrell as the UCLA Bruins head coach. He remained on the staff to continue overseeing academics for the Bruins football team. When Karl Dorrell was fired in 2007, defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker took the interim coaching duty for the 2007 Las Vegas Bowl. The Bruins lost that game.