Tyrone Swoopes went 24 of 34 for 196 yards and two touchdowns including one that put Texas ahead 17-13 late in the fourth quarter, but No. 12/12 UCLA struck for a 33-yard touchdown with 3:00 left for a 20-17 win Saturday night at AT&T Stadium.
Making the second start of his career, Swoopes led a 10-play, 80-yard TD drive that gave the Longhorns (1-2) a four-point lead with 5:13 to play. Swoopes was 5 of 5 for 37 yards on the drive, finishing it off with an 8-yard TD pass to John Harris on third-and-goal.
Texas' defense forced a UCLA (3-0) fumble on the ensuing possession, but a quick three-and-out forced the Longhorns to punt from their own 15. UCLA's Ishmael Adams returned the punt 58 yards to the Texas 33 and on the first play from scrimmage, quarterback Jerry Neuheisel hit Jordan Payton for a 33-yard touchdown.
Malcolm Brown led the Longhorns with 69 yards on the ground while Jaxon Shipley had a game-high nine catches for 65 yards.
The UCLA offense put up 443 total yards, including 217 on the ground. Neuheisel, who replaced injured starter Brett Hundley in the first quarter, finished 23 of 30 for 178 yards and two scores. Running back Paul Jenkins had a game-high 126 yards on 24 carries.
The Bruins struck first on their second drive, marching 61 yards in 15 plays – 10 of which were runs – before the Texas defense stiffened and forced a 47-yard field goal by Ka'imi Fairbairn.
Behind the running of Brown, Texas answered on its ensuing possession to tie the game. The Longhorns went 62 yards in 10 plays, with Brown rushing for 39 on five attempts, and Nick Rose connected on a 33-yard field goal to make it 3-3 with 10:32 left in the second quarter.
Texas' defense forced UCLA to punt on its next possession and the offense followed by engineering its first touchdown drive. Swoopes led Texas 62 yards downfield, completing 6 of 8 passes for 67 yards – including a 33-yard pass to Harris on fourth-and-8 to keep the drive alive. He capped off the drive by hitting M.J. McFarland on third-and-goal for a 2-yard touchdown, giving the Longhorns a 10-3 lead.
UCLA wasted no time knotting it up early in the second half. Perkins broke free for a 58-yard run on the first play from scrimmage to setup great field position, and Neuheisel hit Nate Lese for a 3-yard score to make it 10-10 with 12:26 left in the third quarter.
Defense took over from there, with both teams being forced to punt on their next three possessions.
UCLA drove for a go-ahead score early in the fourth, going 71 yards on 16 plays and edging ahead 13-10 on a 25-yard field goal by Fairbairn.
Swoopes led Texas right down the field on its next drive, completing three passes to Harris and two to Shipley. A 31-yard rush by Johnathan Gray gave the Horns a first-and-goal from the 10. One play later, Swoopes his Harris for the score.
On the ensuing possession, Steve Edmond stripped UCLA running back Jordan James and Paul Boyette Jr. recovered at the UT 25. However, the Longhorn offense netted no yards on three plays.
After the the Neuheisel-to-Payton scoring play, the Longhorns still had 2:55 on the clock, but the offense was unable to get a first down and UCLA ran out the clock.