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The Bruins Bounce Back

Rosen celebrates upon completing his pass to Jordan Lasley in the end zone to tie the game. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHn-PiZ6O4E Video compiled by RSHighlights

Garrett Lee, Editor

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“And it’s good! What a comeback by the UCLA Bruins!” Joel Klatt yelled while broadcasting the game nationally with Gus Johnson on Fox College Football. The Bruins had just rallied back from a 34 point deficit to take the lead 45-44 over Texas A&M. The game, on Sunday September 3rd, marked the second-largest comeback in college football history. Let’s break down the game and see what happened to make it possible for the Bruins to come back from 34 points down to beat the Aggies.

The game began with a drive by UCLA that ended in a field goal, putting UCLA up 3-0. It all went downhill from there for the Bruins. Texas A&M drove right down the field and found the end zone, going up 7-3. UCLA got the ball back, but had an incomplete pass and a swing pass that lost a yard. On 3rd&11, QB Josh Rosen was looking to throw when he had the ball knocked out of his hand and returned to the Bruins’ 3 yard line by the Aggies. Texas A&M couldn’t run the ball for a touchdown, so they settled for a field goal, taking the lead 10-3. The first play run by the Bruins when they got the ball back was a handoff. The UCLA running back, Olorunfunmi, had the ball taken out of his hands, and Texas A&M once again had the ball. The Aggies scored a touchdown on a run by Trayveon Williams, making the score 17-3. This was the score at the end of the first quarter.

Texas A&M made a defensive stop, getting the ball back at their own 19 yard line. On the next snap, Trayveon Williams had a 77 yard run, carrying the ball down to the UCLA four yard line. On 3rd and goal, the Aggies handed the ball to their secondary running back, who ducked into the endzone, putting them up 24-3.  UCLA went three and out once again, putting the ball back in the hands of A&M. Once again, the Aggies drove down the field and scored on a 1 yard rushing touchdown. The score was 31-3. This time, however, UCLA had an answer. On 1st down from the Bruins’ 44 yard line, Josh Rosen launched a deep ball and found wide receiver Jordan Lasley at the A&M 2 yard-line. On the next play, the Bruins scored a rushing touchdown, making the score 31-10. However, any momentum UCLA had gained with that last touchdown was crushed when A&M running back Trayveon Williams silenced the crowd with a 61-yard touchdown run. The Aggies went up 38-10 at the half.

The Bruins needed to get off to a good start in the second half to even have a chance at a comeback. They didn’t, allowing Rosen to be sacked yet again on 3rd down. A&M’s next drive resulted in a 32-yard field goal, giving the Aggies a 41-10 lead. Texas A&M made a defensive stand against the Bruins, earning the ball back. Their following drive led to a 48 yard field goal, giving the Aggies their greatest lead of the game at 44-10. This is where the comeback began. UCLA marched right down the field on a series of passes, and scored on a Soso Jamabo touchdown run. 44-17 Aggies. The Bruins then finally found a way to bring the Aggies offense to a halt, stopping them on 3rd and 4. The Bruins got the ball back, ending up on a short 3rd down to end the quarter.

It was 3rd and 2 Bruins to start the 4th quarter. Josh Rosen completed a pass to TE Caleb Wilson to keep the drive alive. After a few more first downs, UCLA found themselves in the redzone. On 2nd and goal, Rosen threw a screen pass to WR Darren Andrews, cutting the lead down to 20. The Aggies’ short drive ended in an excellent tackle by DB Jaleel Wadood, forcing Texas A&M to punt. The Bruins started their drive inside their own five yard line, but moved quickly upfield on a 28 yard catch and run to Darren Andrews. A few more plays and the Bruins were on the A&M 43 yard line. On 1st down, Rosen dropped back to pass, launching the ball deep. It went through the hands of A&M’s DB Deshawn Capers-Smith and landed in the hands of WR Darren Andrews, who walked into the endzone for a touchdown. The score was then 44-31. The next drive A&M took went all the way down to the UCLA 16 yard line. However, on 3rd and 4, A&M QB Kellen Mond took a huge sack for a loss of 9 yards. On 4th and 13, the Aggies attempted a 43 yard field goal. It was blocked by the Bruins. UCLA quickly found themselves in a 4th down situation on their next drive. They needed to convert a first down the next play. Rosen found TE Wilson in the middle of the field, taking the ball into A&M territory. There was also a personal foul penalty on the A&M DB on the play for a late hit out of bounds, giving the Bruins another 15 yards. The next play, Rosen slung a pass to WR Jordan Lasley for a first down at the 6 yard line. UCLA took a false start penalty, which pushed them back to the 11. Rosen took the snap and immediately had pressure coming. He ducked to his left and hurled a pass with a defender in his face. It was a weak pass, but WR Theo Howard came back to the ball to make a touchdown catch. The score was 44-38 A&M with 3:10 left in the game. On 3rd and 8 on the A&M drive, UCLA’s Jacob Tuioti-Mariner came up with a sack, forcing the Aggies to punt.

The Bruins got the ball back with 2:38 to go. UCLA marched down the field on a series of passes from Josh Rosen, but found themselves faced with 4th and 6 after a dropped pass by WR Jordan Lasley. Rosen took the snap and swung the ball to his running back, who made a good move to get around a defender, and ran for a first down. The next play, Rosen faked spiking the ball, which would have stopped the clock at :48, and threw to Jordan Lasley in the back of the endzone for the game-tying touchdown. UCLA converted the extra point to led 45-44 with :43 left. On 4th & 10 at the 25, the Aggies needed a big play. They had QB Kellen Mond run a QB sneak that apparently earned a first down. However, after review, Mond came up short of the 1st down. UCLA knelt the ball to run the remaining time off the clock and complete the second-largest comeback in NCAA football history.

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The Bruins Bounce Back