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Jerry is the Master of his Domain!

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ALL TIME ‘HEIS!!!! — After Brett Hundley goes down early with an injury, Jerry Neuheisel steps in and leads UCLA to a 20-17 comeback victory in Texas, highlighted by a 33-yard game-winning Touchdown pass to Jordan Payton with 3 minutes left; Meanwhile, the trojans choke in Boston College 37-31, getting out-gained on the ground, 452-20.


30 years ago, a UCLA former Walk-On Quarterback named Rick Neuheisel  replaced an injured Bruin QB and led UCLA to a Pac-10 Championship.  He then went 25-for-27 Passing in the 1984 Rose Bowl, to earn the game’s MVP Award in a 45-9 upset victory over #4 Illinois.  Fast-forward to 2014,  and you could see Neuheisel watching on TV, as his son Jerry became an unexpected UCLA hero just like he was.

On Saturday night, the Bruins faced Texas in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas — also known as “Jerry World,” after Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones — and no one on the planet could have predicted that JERRY Neuheisel would be the hero on this night.  Neuheisel plays behind Heisman candidate Brett Hundley, and according to some depth charts, was actually THIRD STRING behind Asantii Woulard as well.  But when Hundley hurt his left elbow while bracing his fall after a first-down scamper, it was Neuheisel to whom Coach Mora turned.

Neuheisel had never played in a big game, on a big stage, in a meaningful situation.  As soon as Neuheisel entered the game, the Longhorns were no longer the 8-point underdogs that they were at Kickoff.  Very few people felt that the Bruins could win without their Star QB.  But Mora and his team had confidence in Neuheisel, and they rallied around the popular back-up.

After he came in, he got sacked a couple of times, and threw only short passes.  It was not an auspicious beginning.  But the Bruins managed a 47-yard Field Goal on his first drive, to take a 3-0 lead.  Texas came back and tied the game, then got the ball back and scored a TD to go up 10-3.  Neuheisel was almost picked, and was not able to guide the Bruins to the Red Zone in the 2nd quarter, so Texas still led by 7 at the break.

Due to a Longhorn screw-up at the coin toss, the Bruins received the 2nd Half Kickoff as they did the Opening Kickoff (the Texas Captain moronically chose to kick off instead of “deferring”), and that “extra” possession turned into gold for the blue and gold.  The Offensive Line started to gel, suddenly protecting their QB AND opening holes for their Running Backs.  On the first play of the Second Half, Paul Perkins broke off a 58-yard run (on his way to 126 yards Rushing in addition to 69 yards Receiving),  and Neuheisel avoided mistakes and got UCLA down to the Texas 3-yard line.  That’s when Neuheisel showed his poise and moxie, on a 3rd down, faking a handoff to a decoy Myles Jack, and splitting defenders with a soft lob to Fullback Nate Iese for Jerry’s first-ever TD pass.

That tied the score at 10, and gave the Bruins the confidence they needed to compete with the Longhorns in front of over 60,000 fans, mostly rooting for Texas. While the Offense was led by a back-up filling in for an injured player, the Defense relied of SEVERAL back-ups filling in for injured players.  The Defense was missing Safety Randall Goforth (shoulder, in last week’s game) and D-Back Anthony Jefferson (ankle, practice this week), and then Cornerback Fabian Moreau went down during the game, and was out for most of the contest.  But the back-ups stepped up mightily, as Tahaan Goodman and Jalen Ortiz both made impressive plays, and Jaleel Wadood had a breakout game.  Wadood looked amazing on run support, and made plays all over the field, totaling NINE Tackles.  Of course, the Defense was anchored by Middle Linebackers Eric Kendricks (11 Tackles) and Myles Jack (7 Tackles), but the fill-ins were indispensable.

The UCLA Defense was improved in the 2nd Half, but not perfect:  In the 4th quarter, Neuheisel drove the Bruins 71 yards into Field Goal range (with a big 4th & 1 conversion by Jack), and Ka’imi Fairbairn nailed a 25-yard kick to give the Bruins a 13-10 lead, but the Longhorns struck back, with an 80-yard drive of their own, and THEY finished it off with an 8-yard TD pass where the inexperienced Ortiz got beat in the End Zone.  That left the inexperienced Neuheisel with just over 5 minutes to bring the Bruins back, and another Field Goal would not be enough:  UCLA needed a Touchdown.  So Neuheisel directed his team like it was in his blood, which it is.  He got them quickly into striking distance, when 2nd-string RB Jordon James was stripped of the ball, and Texas recovered.  With only 4:17 remaining, it looked like the Hollywood Ending for Neuheisel was not going to make it to theaters.

It was up to the Defense to get Jerry one more chance at glory, and they were up to the task.  They forced a quick 3-and-out, and a Texas punt.  The Bruins’ Special Teams Coach had them in a scheme designed to block the kick, NOT SET UP A RETURN.  The kick was NOT blocked, so it sailed all the way to Ishmael Adams.  Adams went outside, and thanks to a crushing block by Cameron Judge, he was able to turn the corner and return it 45 yards, all the way to the Texas 33.  That set up the play of the game, and the play of a career:  On the very next play, Neuheisel pumped-faked, which fooled the Texas pass-defender, and allowed Jordan Payton to beat the one-on-one coverage and get open down the sideline.  The Neuheisel pass hit Payton right in stride, and Payton waltzed into the End Zone to give the Bruins the lead with 3 minutes to go.

With a 3-point lead and 3 minutes to go, the game was far from over.  The Bruin Defense still had to make one more stand… and they did just that.  Texas ran 4 plays, gained only 5 yards, and UCLA took over on downs.  Three plays later, a Myles Jack run for a 1st Down sent Texas fans home dejected, as the Bruins were then able to run out the clock by taking a knee.

Absolutely STORYBOOK!  Neuheisel was the hero, as his Dad watched live in the Pac-12 Studios.  The humble QB gave all the credit to his Offensive Line, who overcame their problems to give Neuheisel the time he needed.  Jerry was efficient, hitting mostly slants and screens, going 23-for-30 with 2 TD’s and 0 Interceptions or Fumbles.  He did have 2 near-INT’s, and was Sacked a couple of times, but he got stronger as the game progressed and he became more comfortable.  And it was a “Rudy” – like climax, as Jerry’s Bruin teammates CARRIED HIM OFF THE FIELD ON THEIR SHOULDERS IN CELEBRATION when the final gun sounded.  True Bruin fans had tears in their eyes as the true underdog — who was born at UCLA and stayed at UCLA even when his Dad was fired as Coach — finally got to have the ultimate triumphant moment of glory.

It might be Jerry’s LONE career highlight, as Hundley is expected back healthy before the Bruins’ next game a week from Thursday at Arizona State.

The #12 Bruins should move up in the polls next week, especially considering that #9 U$C got pummeled at Boston College.  They lost by only 6, 37-31, but the trojans got a late TD to make it look closer than it was.  SC was up 17-6 early, before BC got rolling.  The Golden Eagles tallied 24 straight points to go up 30-17, leaving the ketchup & mustard playing catch-up.  SC scored to make it interesting, but gave up a 66-yard TD run by the BC QB — who gained 191 yards on the ground — and that was the back-breaker.  SC scored again with 1:18 left, but failed to recover the onside kick, and that was all she wrote.  The trojans, i.e Tailback U, netted only 20 yards on the ground, while BC piled up 452.  Quite an advantage, especially for a team that went into the game as a 17-point underdog.  And even though the trojan QB Cody Kessler threw 3 TD passes, he also got sacked 4 times, on 4 consecutive 3rd Down attempts.  That sounds like bad Coaching, bad execution, lack of athleticism, and lack of field awareness.

You might call this trojan loss a “letdown” after the big win at Stanford.  Or you could blame the trip across the Country?  Perhaps after SC went up by 11 at BC, they got complacent?  Whatever their excuse, they certainly don’t belong in the Top 10 any more.  And with the courage and resiliency shown by the Bruins in the face of losing their All-World QB, maybe UCLA will be the team to replace them.

Speaking of National Rankings, here are 55 more photos of the ultra-uber-mega-elite UCLA Spirit Squad.


[More article and photos coming soon]

"JERRY’S JUBILEE" was published on September 13th, 2014 and is listed in Blue & Gold News, News from the Dark Side, UCLA/usc/Cheerleader Photos, UCLA/usc/Sports Photos.

Comments on "JERRY’S JUBILEE": 3 Comments

  1. JC wrote,

    Saying in your headline that the trojans “choke” implies that they deserved to win the game, which is not at all the case.

    [T-H’s Note: They were 17-point favorites and had an 11-point lead. That’s a choke.]

  2. tswenson wrote,

    So proud of Jerry and his Dad and family. He is a BRUIN for sure. Loved seeing him carried off the field by his teammates. What a great ending to a great game.

  3. UCLADal wrote,

    Congrats to Jerry! I’m glad I kept my “Neu Era” shirt! Of course, Brett is still the QB but its comforting that your backup QB can come in a game on the road and get a win.

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