A little chicken before next week — Randall Goforth’s game-clinching 40-yard Pick Six with 2:14 left breaks UCLA’s depressing 4-game losing streak, as the Bruins escape the Beaver trap 38-24, but 60,000+ fans were more excited by winning free Chick Fil-A (because UCLA blocked a kick), and by the Veterans Day parachute spectacle, while some of us were more excited by the phenomenal UCLA Spirit Squad, and extremely UN-excited about the prospect of getting destroyed by troy next week
It’s always nice to get back in the win column, especially when it’s your first W in a month. This was the worst drought in the Mora Era, and it took lowly Oregon State — a 13-point underdog — to allow Josh Rosen-less UCLA to finally notch a win. Sure, a win is a win, but when you struggle to beat a very bad team, it does not bode well for next week’s Rivalry Game.
Oregon State had the ball down by only 7 with 2:14 to go, when Bruin Defensive Back Randall Goforth snatched a Beaver pass and returned it 40 yards for a Touchdown, effectively icing the game. That tells you that this game was way too close for comfort. The Bruins coughed up the ball a couple of times, leading directly and almost directly to Touchdowns. On the second play of the game, a Soso Jamabo fumble, which should have been reviewed but wasn’t, led to a 4-yard TD drive for OSU. But UCLA came back quickly with 21 straight points. That third Bruin TD came on a blocked punt, returned all the way for a TD by Jordan Lasley, who also had a good game receiving, as did Darren Andrews. That blocked kick earned free chicken sandwiches to each fan in attendance, thanks to a promotion with Chick Fil-A.
Lasley and Andrews had good games because QB Mike Fafaul is improving week by week. He threw for 281 yards, and is limiting his passes-into-traffic. He did throw one bad INT in the end zone, but he made up for it by being effective for most of the game. He was constantly avoiding a big rush, moving from the pocket, throwing the ball away when necessary, and hitting open Receivers. If not for the usual half-dozen DROPS, his stats would have been much better — way over 300 yards.
The Beaver Defense is pretty weak, allowing UCLA to run for 163 yards (way more than usual) and 3 TD’s — Two by Jalen Starks and one by Bolu Olorunfunmi. After Lasley’s TD return, the Beavs cut the lead to 21-14, but J.J. Molson connected on a 49-yard Field Goal to put the Bruins up by 10 at the half. OSU cut it to 3, when Lasley’s fumble was returned for a TD. UCLA pushed it back up to 10 on Starks’ 2nd TD run, then an OSU Field Goal made it a one-possession game near the end of the 3rd. But the only scoring in the 4th was Goforth’s game-saving play.
The point of all of this is that UCLA BARELY beat TWO-and-EIGHT Oregon State. What is going to happen next week when u$c comes to the Rose Bowl? Sure anything can happen in the Rivalry Game, but the trojans handily beat the #4 Huskies IN Washington on Saturday 26-13, which will have EVERYONE convinced that UCLA doesn’t have a prayer to get the Victory Bell back this year. I am one of those “everyones.” It will take a miracle, the likes of which we haven’t seen since 2006’s 13-9 shocker. Fafaul is playing better than could be expected, but expectations were very low, and I would be stunned if he has what it takes to knock off troy. I will still be there — I never say never — but I won’t be putting any money on the prospect of an upset. You could say I’m a little like the free sandwich I will be redeeming soon.
P.S. — I know that Chick Fil-A has some overly-religious, anti-Equality positions, and if you are boycotting them, I support you. However, if you go there to take a free sandwich, and you DON’T buy anything (like a drink), then you are not contributing to their agenda. So go ahead, if you have a ticket, and go enjoy a sandwich with a clear conscience.
Speaking of things to enjoy, here are 64 photos from the game and pre-game Cheerleader Rally. There will be hundreds more Spirit Squad pics coming soon and all this week. Special thanks to a certain squadmember for expressing her gratitude to me before the game. It was sincerely (and extremely) heartwarming. Words like those are by far the best part of doing what I do. I know her name, but I’m not sure she would want it mentioned here, so I will keep that private. But I truly appreciate it. Interestingly, in the photos I took on Saturday, she looks happier than ever and was super-photogenic, so you will see a lot of her this week. 🙂