Jeff Lewis, Associated Press
UCLA receiver Dominique Johnson, right, catches a pass to set up a touchdown against Tennessee during the second half as the Bruins survived in overtime, beating the Volunteers 27-24.

PASADENA, Calif. — Quarterback Kevin Craft sparked UCLA's offense in the second half Monday night, and Kai Forbath kicked a 42-yard field goal in overtime to lift the Bruins to a 27-24 victory over No. 18 Tennessee, making coach Rick Neuheisel's debut a winning one.

The season opener for both teams had a wild finish.

The underdog Bruins, who took the lead with 27 seconds left in regulation, were forced into overtime when the Volunteers' Daniel Lincoln kicked a 47-yard field goal as time expired.

But in the overtime, when neither the Bruins nor the Vols were able to pick up a first down, Forbath made his kick and then Lincoln missed from 34 yards.

Craft, who threw four interceptions and totaled 66 yards in the opening half of his first game for UCLA, went 18-of-25 for 193 yards and one touchdown in the second half without an interception.

The touchdown was a 3-yarder to Ryan Moya that capped a 70-yard drive and gave the Bruins a 24-21 lead with 27 seconds left.

The Vols came right back with a quick 27-yard march that ended with Lincoln's tying field goal.

Craft, a junior college transfer who was a third-stringer for the Bruins before injuries to the first two quarterbacks pressed him into the starting role, finished 25-of-43 for 259 yards, with the one touchdown and four interceptions.

Neuheisel, a former UCLA quarterback who was the 1984 Rose Bowl MVP, returned as head coach last December after Karl Dorrell was fired. The Bruins, plagued by quarterback injuries, went 6-7 last year.

Tennessee won the SEC East and finished 10-4, with one of the losses a 45-31 defeat to California at Berkeley in the Vols' season opener.

Vols quarterback Jonathan Crompton finished 19-of-41 for 189 yards, with one interception.

FRESNO STATE 24, RUTGERS 7: At Piscataway, N.J., playing farther away from home than ever before, Fresno State made another team from a BCS conference regret inviting the Bulldogs to town.

Ryan Mathews ran for 163 yards and three touchdowns, Seyi Ajirotutu set up two scores with long receptions and Fresno State made its first trip to the East Coast a successful one with a 24-7 victory over Rutgers on Monday night.

"Anytime you can go on the road and travel 3,000 miles and come away with a 24-7 win and play defense like we did, hey, they made yards tonight, but they didn't put it in the end zone too often," Fresno State coach Pat Hill said.

After shaking off a first-half offensive malaise — can't blame jet lag because the Bulldogs arrived on Saturday — Fresno State got rolling in the second half and went on to its 13th victory over teams in BCS conferences since 2000, tied with Utah for the most in the nation for non-BCS teams.

"I don't think we're a mid-major team," said Bulldogs quarterback Tom Brandstater, who finished with 216 yards passing after a 5-for-15 first half. "I think we can play with anyone in the country."

Ajirotutu came up with the two biggest plays. The first was a 77-yarder in the third quarter that led to Mathews' first score, a 4-yarder.

The second was a 31-yard reception on third-and-23 in the fourth quarter, which put the ball at the 1. Mathews scored two plays later to make it 17-7 with 6:46 left in the game.