This was the second meeting in the 2007 College football season between the 2007 UCLA Bruins football team and the 2007 BYU Cougars football team. In the first meeting on September 8, 2007 at the Rose Bowl Stadium, the Bruins avoided an upset in a tough game by beating the Cougars, 27-17. UCLA had control of the game in the first half, but BYU made it close in the third quarter. UCLA's pass defense was shaky, giving up 391 yards, and their own passing attack inconsistent, as Ben Olson, a quarterback who transferred from BYU to UCLA, completed only 13 of 28 passes for 126 yards.
On December 3, 2007, following the final regular season game against USC, Los Angeles papers and the Associated Press reported that UCLA Coach Karl Dorrell was fired during a meeting with athletic director Dan Guerrero. Dorrell was offered the choice, but decided not to coach in the Las Vegas Bowl. Defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker served as interim coach for the game.
The 2007 Las Vegas Bowl kicked off at Sam Boyd Stadium at 8:12 p.m. EST. UCLA won the coin toss and elected to kick off to BYU to begin the game.
With less than a minute to go in the first half the Cougars had opened up 17-6 lead. Instead of simply downing the ball, the Cougars ran a running play up the middle and RB Harvey Unga fumbled. The Bruins responded by punching the ball in the end zone on the final play of the half. In the second half with the Cougars leading 17-13, the defenses took over. Second-half scoring was limited to a 50-yard field goal by the Bruins' Kai Forbath in the fourth quarter. Forbath then attempted a 28-yarder at the end of the game, but it was blocked by Eathyn Manumaleuna to preserve the Cougars' victory.
Walker's defensive schemes kept the Bruins, who were without their two top quarterbacks and relied on McLeod Bethel-Thompson, in the game. The Bruins size and strength advantage allowed them to dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Ball control was also key: Chris Markey rushed for 117 yards, the most by any BYU opponent in the 2007 season.
The Las Vegas Bowl was an advance sellout for the fifth year in a row.
The Cougars ended the season with a 10-game winning streak, which after Hawaii's loss to Georgia in the Sugar Bowl became the longest winning streak in the country.
UCLA later selected a former teammate of Dorrell, Rick Neuheisel, as his successor. DeWayne Walker was retained as the defensive coordinator.
The UCLA Bruins under Neuheisel and BYU Cougars would meet again in the 2008 regular season at BYU, where the Cougars would defeat the Bruins 59-0. This was the worst loss the Bruins endured since a 76-0 defeat in the very first UCLA-USC rivalry football game (in the year 1929).
^Brian Dohn. UCLA fires coach Dorrell. Los Angeles Daily News. 12/03/2007 11:18:47 AM PST. Quote: During his tenure, UCLA's off-the-field image, which took a beating under coach Bob Toledo, was cleaned up. But on the field too many inconsistent performances did in Dorrell, who was 1-4 against USC, including Saturday's 24-7 loss at the Coliseum.
^Associated Press. Fired Dorrell won't coach UCLA in Las Vegas Bowl. December 4, 2007. Quote: Ousted UCLA football coach Karl Dorrell has decided not to coach the Bruins when they play BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl.