By Mitch Chortkoff
It’s obvious UCLA isn’t going to forget Nick Pasquale anytime soon.
When the Bruins defeated New Mexico State in the Rose Bowl Saturday night, 59-13 the walk-on football player who was killed when struck by a car while walking in San Clemente Sept. 8, was honored in grand fashion.
His father, Mel Pasquale, addressed the 58,000 fans. Coach Jim Mora joined the tribute at the conclusion of the first quarter. Mora said the Bruins would continue to honor Pasquale throughout the season.
A jersey with Pasquale’s Number 36 was etched into the turf outside a corner of the end zone.
All of this for a highly respected student who died at the age of 20, but only after he fulfilled a lifetime dream of playing for the Bruins.
The 5-foot-7 Pasquale didn’t receive a football scholarship to UCLA after playing for San Clemente High but he turned down offers from smaller schools to enroll at UCLA.
He got into one game for only one play, but he worked diligently in practice to prepare his teammates for the Saturday games.
When UCLA played at Nebraska one week after Pasquale was killed Husker fans joined in the tribute.
“That was very classy,” said Mora.
Mora felt a letdown was possible against winless New Mexico State, but UCLA struggled only at the beginning.
Quarterback Brett Hundley threw two interceptions before settling down and the anticipated rout was on.
UCLA will have a bye this Saturday.