Make Mine A Double — Brett Hundley runs for a game-winning TD in Double Overtime to help UCLA avoid the double-indignity of blowing a 17-point 4th quarter lead AND losing to lowly Colorado, then u$c, up 21-17 in Utah with just over 2 minutes to go (thanks to two Ute lost fumbles on the trojan 1-yard line), doubles down and goes for it on 4th & 2, fails, then allows the Utes to march 73 yards and score the game-winning TD on a pass with 6 seconds left for troy’s 2nd last-second defensive choke of the season
The UCLA Bruins overcame a lot on Saturday to keep their slim hopes of a successful season alive, and most of what they overcame was self-inflicted: The Bruins committed FOURTEEN Penalties for 121 yards including 2 in a row that both negated Bruin Interceptions; Brett Hundley missed several wide open Receivers including some throws to the end zone; Hundley also lost another fumble; Mossi Johnson failed to grab a perfect long pass that went right through his arms; Anthony Jefferson got juked out of his cleats giving an easy TD to the Buffs; the Bruins blew a 4th and 1 by giving the ball to Eddie Vanderdoes instead of Myles Jack; the team got complacent when they got their third 17-point lead, 31-14 in the 4th quarter, and both Offensive and Defensive Linemen for UCLA stopped controlling the line of scrimmage, allowing Colorado to Rush for big yards and connect on key pass plays, while on Offense the Bruins suddenly couldn’t convert to keep possession of the ball.
All this, mostly after playing well enough to be up by 17 for most of the game. Paul Perkins started the game with a 92-yard TD run, he added a 24-yard TD run later and finished with 180 yards rushing; Hundley threw a 20-yard TD pass to Jordan Payton; and Jack scored on a tough 3-yard off-tackle run. On Defense, the game got underway with oft-maligned Cornerback Fabian Moreau making three stellar plays, and with Linebacker Eric Kendricks leveling Buffaloes right and left. While Moreau ceased to keep making an impact, Kendricks never relented, being the most valuable Defender on the field all game long, versus the Run AND versus the Pass. Myles Jack was also a factor throughout, while the D-Line pressured the Colorado QB just enough to keep the Buffs in check, until late in the game.
Colorado tied the game with 17 straight 4th quarter points, culminating with a Field Goal with 36 seconds left. That final drive occurred after it looked like Cornerback Marcus Rios had saved the day two weeks in a row, with another 4th quarter Interception. But the Bruin offense stumbled, so the Buffaloes got the chance to tie, or win. The Bruin Defense stiffened, and held them to a tying 3, so the game went to Overtime.
The Bruin D stayed strong in O.T, forcing another Colorado game-tying Field Goal, after the Bruins settled for a FG of their own in their O.T. possession. Then in the 2nd O.T, after the Bruins held the Buffs to another 3, Brett Hundley moved the Offense into striking distance, and then called his own number: A QB Keeper for the game-clinching 8-yard TD run.
A nail biter victory over the lowly Buffs is not anything to be proud of, but a loss would have been totally devastating, so it’s okay for Bruin fans to still celebrate the win. It’s more than trojan fans can do today, as their team choked away a 4-point lead in the final 2 minutes. Like UCLA, Utah had to overcome self-inflicted wounds. The Utes fumbled three times while knocking at the door of the u$c end zone (including on two plays in a row), losing two of the fumbles. However, Utah also capitalized on a huge early trojan miscue. On the second play of the game, Cody Kessler threw a lateral to Darreus Rogers, who dropped it, and the whole trojan team was too stupid to realize that an incomplete backwards pass is a live ball. So, a Ute defender picked up the ball and ran it back for 6 points, all while Rogers was walking back to Kessler saying that the incompletion was Rogers’ fault.
After that early Utah TD, the Utes scored only 3 more points for the next two hours. They stuck with their throwing, single-threat QB, even though they had a dynamic, dual-threat QB waiting in the wings on the sidelines — exactly the type of player who kills SC, like Brett Hundley the last two years, and the Boston College QB who shredded sc on the ground earlier THIS season. But the Utah Coach’s faith in the Starting QB was rewarded.
SC had a 21-17 lead with just over 2 minutes to go, when Steve Sarkisian decided to go for it on a 4th and 2. Instead of relying on bruising and productive Running Back Buck Allen, Sarkisian got cute, calling a pitch to Wide Receiver Nelson Agholor. Nelson appeared to get the first down, but actually stepped out of bounds, of his own volition, prior to reaching the first down marker. This was the second goat-resembling move by Agholor, although the first one falls more on Kessler. Kessler threw a pass behind Agholor, who reached back for it, and tipped it to a Defender for an Interception. It looked like Kessler’s fault, but after the play, he appeared to yell at Agholor, so maybe Agholor got the pattern wrong.
Anyway, after the failed 4th and 2, the sc Defense had a perfect opportunity to win the game, by stopping a Utah Offense that earlier went over a half-a-game without a single point. But Kevon Seymour committed a Pass Interference penalty, and everyone else missed tackles and missed assignments, allowing Utah to march 73 yards. Utah QB Travis Wilson appeared to win the game with a dive into the end zone with 17 seconds left, but the TD call was reversed on review. So the Utes tried to pound it it from the one, but got stuffed. That left them with 10 seconds on the clock and no time outs. That situation mandated a pass, but the trojan brain trust seemed to be defending against the run anyway, allowing a wide open Receiver in the end zone for the game-winning reception, giving the trojans their THIRD loss of the season, and most-likely knocking them out of the Playoff Committee’s first-ever Top 25, which comes out on Tuesday. Of course, since UCLA was #25 in the AP this week, and barely beat pathetic Colorado, they probably don’t deserve to be in it either. And with head honcho trojan Pat Haden on the Committee, it would not be shocking to see sc in and UCLA out when the poll is released. But that shouldn’t stop you from celebrating an amazing, heart-attack-inducing day of football for the local teams, ending in relief for UCLA and agony and angina for u$c.