BYU’s prayers are answered in Sin City when Forbath’s would-be Game-Winning Field Goal is partially blocked, preserving a 17-16 Las Vegas Bowl win and preventing a UCLA Miracle-Comeback-Doubleheader-Sweep Saturday
VH-1 aired a 7-part Rockumentary this week, and the Heavy Metal section was titled “Never Say Die,” after the Black Sabbath song of the same name. Perhaps that song should be the theme song of UCLA Athletics.
On Saturday morning, the Bruin Basketball team’s #8 National ranking was in serious jeopardy, as a lethargic effort had the Bruins facing an 8-point 2nd half deficit on the road at Michigan. But instead of packing it in, the Bruins responded to Ben Howland’s heat, and woke up to crush the Wolverines, 69-54. Josh Shipp was the main hero, hitting a few big three’s to get the Bruins rolling. Shipp also raised the most eyebrows, for a 360-degree dunk in the final minute, after the game was decided. While it was admittedly unnecesary, especially on the road, we don’t think it was THAT big of a deal. Some people just call it an exclamation point, that was NEEDED after such a lackluster first 25 minutes. All we want to know is, how come no one raised such a stink every time Reggie Bush did one of his blowout somersaults? UCLA needs to have SOME swagger — They just need to draw the line somewhere, and not become trojan-like with over-confidence.
Helping out Shipp the most were Kevin Love and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who along with Alfred Aboya, dominated the glass, and allowed the Bruins to clean up on the Wolverines’ poor shooting. A huge 2nd half spurt of about 18-3 put the Bruins ahead to stay, despite lackluster games from Guards Darren Collison and Michael Roll, both playing as if their injuries had regressed. Russell Westbrook was the best Guard on the Court, as he has been most of the season, creating opportunities for his teammates and for himself.
And speaking of opportunities, the Bruins had a GOLDEN one on Saturday night, to Sweep a wild Comeback Doubleheader. After falling behind BYU 17-6 and struggling mightily on Offense, the Football Bruins could have packed it in, in the frigid Vegas night, but Interim Coach Dewayne Walker kept the boys fired up, and had them in position to win the game at the end. As time expired, a Kai Forbath chip-shot Field Goal was tipped, and just missed going through the uprights.
Despite the necessity to replace Osaar Rasshan at QB with McLeod Bethel-Thompson, UCLA got back in the game, and stayed in it. After BYU fumbled in the final seconds before Intermission, Bethel-Thompson hit Brandon Breazell for a score to make it 17-13 at the half. The stellar Bruin D shut out BYU in the 2nd half, even though they had just won 9 straight games by an average of 17 points per game. Bruce Davis and Brian Price played like they were possessed, and the D-line controlled the line of scrimmage. BYU couldn’t run at all, and they got what they got mainly due to lost fumbles on Punt Returns.
This is not an original thought by any means, but: If this was Walker’s “audition” to be the Head Coach, he passed just like John Lennon and the Beatles passed their audition. The fact that the Bruins failed to come away with the W was not due to Walker — Most analysts are agreeing that if anything Walker should get credit for the Cougars needing a FLUKE to beat the Bruins and their 4th String, Walk-On QB. And yes, the block was a fluke, when you consider that Forbath is having an All-American year, and had already hit two 50+ yard Field Goals earlier in the game.
And we’re not trying to blame the loss on Bethel-Thompson. He put on a gutsy performance, showed some previously-hidden talent, and led the team on a miracle drive that should have netted them the victory. He did have one costly Interception, but he avoided pressure a few times, and made enough plays to JUSTIFY his playing time.
Kyle Bosworth deserves some mention for his inspired play, and Dennis Keyes and Chris Horton also were seriously INVOLVED. The Corners got hit with some laundry, but still made the plays that mattered the most, especially in the second half.
Finally, the Running Backs played really hard, but even more credit should be lavished on the Offensive Line, who opened up plenty of space against a tough Defense that was keying on the Run.
Okay, enough analysis already. Let’s get to the photos. Well, as you might have noticed by the uniform colors, the photos today are from the EARLIER UCLA-BYU game, at the Rose Bowl (but never seen before now). Here’s another FOREBODING one of Forbath ALMOST getting blocked; Then, three shots of BYU Cheerleaders, and finally, a half-dozen shots of UCLA Spirit, just so no one claims that UCLA isn’t #1 (like someone did yesterday, re: Oregon – Don’t worry, we set him straight).