The play known as peanut punch, one thing UCLA practices repeatedly every week whereas instructing defenders methods to smack the ball out of a participant’s arms.
For a lot of Friday afternoon, what occurred was merely nuts.
A field-goal strive bounced off an upright. Three lengthy landing passes gave California an 11-point lead over the closely favored Bruins. There have been instances when it appeared that UCLA couldn’t even snap the ball with out committing a false begin.
“You name it, we had it,” Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson stated of his group’s lagging execution whereas making an attempt to bounce again from back-to-back losses throughout a shortened week.
A gutsy determination — or a foolhardy one, relying in your perspective — to go for it on fourth and two at Cal’s 22-yard line with two minutes left failed, giving the Golden Bears yet one more likelihood to drive for a tying landing.
UCLA linebacker Kain Medrano ended it just a few performs later, placing the method from that follow drill to make use of when he knocked the ball out of Cal operating again Jayden Ott’s arms. Linebacker Carl Jones Jr. recovered the fumble on the Golden Bears’ 38-yard line and sprinted across the stadium in celebration of the No. 18 Bruins’ 35-28 victory.
After accounting for 3 touchdowns in what may need been his last faculty sport, Thompson-Robinson took a knee and commenced the celebration because the Bruins put the frustration of current weeks behind them. There was pulsating music that made the locker room sound extra like a nightclub. Gamers offered coach Chip Kelly with a birthday cake on the day he turned 59 and accomplished his greatest season with the Bruins.
UCLA (9-3 general, 6-3 Pac-12) notched its most wins below Kelly, persevering with an upward trajectory through which its win complete has elevated in every of his 5 seasons.
“It’s awesome,” Thompson-Robinson stated after finishing 21 of 30 passes for 189 yards and one landing with no interceptions. “It’s not something that’s just regularly done around here, getting nine wins. We worked really hard. I’ve been here for a very long time, and to see the growth and all the things that go into it is really special.”
Now the Bruins should wait to study their postseason vacation spot, with the Las Vegas and Solar bowls the almost certainly prospects.
Thompson-Robinson stated his standing was “to be determined” as he weighs whether or not to take part in UCLA’s first postseason look because the 2017 Cactus Bowl or decide out to arrange for the NFL draft. The fifth-year senior acknowledged it will be arduous to show down an opportunity to play within the Las Vegas Bowl given its proximity to the place he grew up.
“For sure, for sure,” he stated. “Obviously, I want to go back and play in front of my hometown, and to be able to get the opportunity to do that would be very special.”
The Bruins may sing the combat music of their locker room for the primary time since beating Arizona State early this month after their operating sport revved again into overdrive, rolling up 352 yards whereas averaging 5.5 yards per carry. Zach Charbonnet ran for 119 yards in 24 carries, together with a five-yard landing that gave UCLA a 35-28 lead halfway by way of the fourth quarter after huge receiver Jake Bobo snagged a two-point conversion cross. T.J. Harden (89), Thompson-Robinson (88) and Colson Yankoff (59) added to the speeding tally.
Thompson-Robinson made the Golden Bears (4-8, 2-7) pay for his or her smooth zone protection by taking off on landing runs of 19 and 14 yards, the previous landing coming as a part of a warp-speed drive through which the Bruins drove 75 yards in 5 performs spanning simply 40 seconds earlier than halftime to tug to inside 21-17.
Harden, a real freshman, appeared as if he is perhaps the Bruins’ operating again of the longer term whereas mixing pace with the flexibility to soak up contact and hold operating.
What had been simply the sport’s hardest three yards belonged to Charbonnet. Dealing with fourth and two on the Cal 33 whereas making an attempt to expire the clock, the Bruins handed the ball to their hardest operating again.
The gang cheered as Charbonnet slammed right into a defender within the backfield earlier than he saved his legs shifting and powered forward for the primary down, prompting guard Atonio Mafi to pump his arm excitedly whereas the UCLA band blared joyfully.
“My play of the game,” Thompson-Robinson stated.
There was significantly much less enthusiasm after the Bruins reached the 22, just for Thompson-Robinson to roll out and throw an incomplete cross on fourth down.
That gave the ball again to the Golden Bears and quarterback Jake Plummer, who had thrown 4 landing passes however would add to his complete after Medrano’s heroics.
“It was a great way to win a football game,” Kelly stated, his expression extra of aid than elation. “You know, I think our resiliency showed up, there were some really big plays in the second half.”