A Sheldon-to-Rahim theft of Jake Locker’s last-minute pass vandalizes Husky hopes of bullying Neuheisel’s Bruins (like they bullied Carroll’s trojans), as UCLA holds on 24-23, making their 5-game losing streak a thing of the Past
Finally the nightmare is over. Even as encouraging signs of growth began to crop up over the last few weeks, especially for the Offense, it was still torturous losing 5 straight Pac-10 games. The Bruins had actually lost 7 straight Conference games, going back to last year, and that was their worst streak ever.
So… finally, the nightmare is over. No one wants to be the Detroit Lions of the Pac-10, not even Washington State. Therefore, next week’s trip to The Palouse may not be the laugher that some Bruin fans expect. And if the Bruins don’t clean up their act from Saturday, they probably are incapable of blowing anyone out.
The Bruins, for example, committed THREE Personal Fouls after plays were dead, in the First Half. That’s 45 yards and 3 second lives for a Washington team that was having no trouble racking up yards against a Bruin Defense that continues to struggle. But worse than all the Bruin penalties on Saturday were the FIVE Bruin Turnovers. Jonathan Franklin fumbled twice, losing one, Terrence Austin coughed up a kick return, Kevin Prince and Kevin Craft each got picked once, and Richard Brehaut — in his one series — once again failed to “feel” his blindside being violated, got sacked, and fumbled the ball away to Washington. That mistake, along with lining up incorrectly on a Wildcat play for a penalty, got Brehaut pulled for the rest of the game, in deference to Craft.
Neither Craft nor Brehaut would have ever seen the field if it weren’t for the illegal helmet-to-helmet hit that a Husky put on Prince 5 minutes before Halftime, that knocked the UCLA Starting QB out of the game. Because, Prince, except for the one INT, was on fire again. Prince threw for 171 yards… in the 1st Quarter alone. That is on pace to break the all-time UCLA Passing Record. But every time the Bruins get some momentum (for the last few years), something terrible happens, and this time, it was Prince getting sidelined on a cheap shot.
Brehaut was the first choice, but after pissing off Neuheisel with the two mistakes — both of which the Coach says Brehaut has been relentlessly taught about in practice — he was replaced for good by Craft.
But before Craft saw the field, Prince was really getting it done. Prince hit NINE different Receivers, as the Bruins took a 7-0 lead (shocking — not 3-0) on a gutty 4th Down call, when Prince rolled out and hit Cory Harkey for the score, and then a 14-10 lead on a short Chane Moline (as Tailback in the I) run.
But the Huskies and Jake Locker kept driving. The Bruins gave up mega-yards on the ground, and a few deep passes, but tightened in the red zone, forcing Washington to kick 3 Field Goals. Luckily for the Bruins, Washington MISSED their 4th attempt, which allowed the Bruins to keep the lead late.
Craft held it together, throwing only one bad Interception, and having only about 3 or 4 “Craft Moments,” but since he had much better protection than usual, he was able to find open Receivers for 1st Downs. He threw 1 Touchdown, which Terrence Austin caught while diving in front of the Goal Line. As he landed, the ball popped up and out, but he caught it again. It was ruled a Touchdown, and the Bruins smartly snapped the ball for the PAT before a review could be initiated. It’s probably a good thing, as it is POSSIBLE that it was the ground that caused the ball to pop up, which means that it should have been ruled an incompletion. However, his arms were under the ball, so it’s also possible that the TD would have stood.
After that TD, Craft was unable to put the game away when he had the chance. He did complete a few passes to run some clock, but the Bruins had to kick the ball back to Washington with just over 4 minutes to go, with the Bruins leading 24-23. The Huskies started to march down the field, as most intelligent spectators would have predicted. But then, with a minute to go, Locker got rushed hard, and heaved up a ball into coverage. Sheldon Price had good position, and tipped the ball. And YES, it IS possible that he interfered with the Receiver prior to the ball’s arrival, but it was really tough to call, as both men were battling for position. But Price was in the right place, and knocked the ball up, and Rahim Moore swooped in to snag the ball, and the game, out the the air.
The Bruins DID need to get one 1st Down to ice it, and… they got it, on the ground, sending Washington and Coach Sarkissian back to Seattle, unable to complete their SWEEP of the L.A. schools. It is unbelievable that the Bruins were able to beat a team that beat SC. It ALMOST gives hope to Bruin fans. But the Huskies beat sc in Seattle, whereas they lost to UCLA in Pasadena. Also, sc has home field advantage this year against UCLA. [A night game at the Mausoleum — Anyone wanna come guard my car for 6 hours?] So no, even after watching sc struggle to put down ASU, I have no delusions about what is going to happen on November 28th… 13-9 and my incorrect prediction THAT year notwithstanding.
Below are 26 more photos from Saturday’s pre-game Cheerleader rally and Football game — No, make that Football VICTORY. Click on the photos to enlarge them, and if you just roll your cursor over the photos, a caption should pop up. And if you like these 26 pics, there are a lot more just like ’em, coming soon.