Hell Freezes Over — Former Fallen Angel Kevin Prince torches #19 ASU with a last minute comeback, converting a 3rd and 29 on the final drive to lead the Bruins to a 29-28 upset and 1st Place in the Pac-12 South — DESPITE FOUR FUMBLES AND TWO HUGE PASS INTERFERENCE PENALTIES ALL IN THE FOURTH QUARTER — when the Sun Devils miss a 46-yard Field Goal as time expires
A few weeks ago, UCLA’s Football Program was a National laughingstock, their Coach was getting ready to send out resumes, and the Quarterback was in a very DARK place, being benched after throwing three Interceptions in a Half. Then the QB was called on again due to injury, and he was booed by the home crowd. Soon thereafter, the QB and the Coach led the team to a crushing defeat in Arizona on National TV, and all Bruin fans could talk about was the imminent Coaching search and the up and coming Freshman heir-apparent to the QB job.
But instead of giving up on their Coach and their QB and their Season, the Bruins rallied around Kevin Prince and Rick Neuheisel, and have now won two straight games for the first time in 13 months. After shocking Cal last week, the Bruins followed it up by stunning Arizona State 29-28 on Saturday night.
ASU came into town as an 8 and a half point favorite, with a convincing win over u$c under their belt. They also came in with one of the best QB’s in the West, after Luck, Barkley, and Foles. Brock Osweiler had his coming out party last year against UCLA, when he came in as a reserve after the Starter got injured, and led the Devils to a comeback blowout. But on Saturday, Osweiler and the 1st Place Sun Devils couldn’t handle the Bruins or the Rose Bowl crowd.
The Bruins actually had a home field advantage, as the crowd was the loudest of the year, by far. Fans even stood up on the normally-sedate Press Box side, as the Bruin Defense tried to contain ASU on some big third downs late in the game. ASU was given many chances to win the game, but three missed field goals, including one in the final seconds, cost them.
The Bruins fumbled the ball FOUR times in the 4th Quarter, losing 2 of them, but the Defense didn’t crumble — In fact, they didn’t give up any points off those Turnovers. Although the ASU Running Back had a career-high 168 yards on the ground and Osweiler threw for 264 yards, 2 TD’s, and ran for another, the Bruin Defense was still much better and tougher and more resilient than they were a few weeks ago.
After falling behind 14-6, the UCLA Defense stiffened, allowing Prince and company to score 17 straight points over the 2nd and 3rd Quarters, to take a 23-14 lead. The big play in the 3rd was a 76-yard TD pass from Prince to Nelson Rosario, as a pump fake by Prince tricked the Defenders and allowed Rosario to be open by 20 yards.
But ASU came back strong, scoring consecutive Touchdowns to go back up 28-23. Then Josh Smith, who had already had a 78-yard Kickoff Return, but had also dropped two passed right in his hands, fumbled the ensuing Kickoff. But the Defense forced a 3-and-out, and ASU missed the FG with 5:49 left. That set the stage for Prince’s heroics. Prince had been successful on the ground earlier, but now it was Derrick Coleman’s turn. Derrick broke off a 41-yard run to get the Bruins into scoring range, but then a questionable Offensive Pass Interference penalty on Joseph Fauria and a fumble by Prince led to a 3rd and 29 predicament. But Prince ovecame it, by hitting Rosario on his back shoulder, and Nelson was able to break a tackle and get a 1st Down at the ASU 6-yard line. On 3rd and Goal, Coleman powered it in from the 1, to put the Bruins up by 1 with 49 seconds left. It was Coleman’s 2nd 1-yard TD of the game, and gave him 119 Rushing yards on the night. On the 2-point conversion though, Prince threw a fade to Fauria, but Fauria ran a different pattern, so the try failed.
ASU got one 1st Down, and then with 21 seconds left, got a P.I. on Aaron Hester. Then they connected on an out pattern to the Bruin 29-yard line, to set up the potentially game-winning 46-yard Field Goal try with 4 seconds left. Neuheisel wisely iced the Kicker with a Time Out, and then the Kicker, who had made a 49-yarder earlier this season, went out and blew his third straight FG of the game, giving UCLA thier biggest win of the Neuheisel Era.
The win was especially satisfying, not only because of the Standings, but because the ASU fans were cocky and obnoxious, coming into the Bruin sections, trash-talking and taunting the UCLA alumni. Karma’s a bitch, and those people got what they deserved. Surprisingly, they were still shooting their mouths off AFTER the game, not able to lose with class. Too bad, because they are still the favorites to win the Division, since they will be favored to win their final 3 games, while UCLA has to play at the Coliseum, where they will be big underdogs. A loss in that game will probably give the Division back to ASU. Of course, the ASU fans probably won’t do a lot of talking before they face Oregon or Stanford in the Championship game. Especially after having to eat their words on Saturday night in the Rose Bowl.
Below are FORTY game and CHEER photos from Saturday. Click on the horizontal ones to ZOOM IN.