An surprising and most disagreeable sound crammed the in any other case quiet Rose Bowl late Saturday evening.
“U of A!”
UCLA was powerless to cease Arizona’s offense or its followers in a shocking late-season collapse. The No. 12 Bruins’ 34-28 loss to the Wildcats put an enormous dent in UCLA’s Pac-12 championship hopes and eliminated appreciable luster from the crosstown rivalry sport subsequent weekend in opposition to USC.
For the briefest of moments, it appeared as if the Bruins may engineer one other completely satisfied ending.
With one closing probability, dealing with a fourth and 10 at Arizona’s 29-yard line, UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson scrambled below heavy strain. He eluded a number of defenders earlier than lastly unleashing a move towards vast receiver Jake Bobo streaking throughout the again of the tip zone.
Bobo dove, totally extending his physique and his arms, however couldn’t provide you with the ball, the group gasping in disappointment after defeat was assured for the 19½-point favourite Bruins (8-2 general, 5-2 Pac-12).
“Probably a step away,” UCLA coach Chip Kelly stated, “from making a play and winning the football game.”
The Bruins appeared a step away all sport, significantly on protection. The largest cause for the letdown? UCLA gave up 6.7 yards per play and 436 yards to the Wildcats (4-6, 2-5) whereas remaining unable to comprise slippery quarterback Jayden de Laura.
“We had him a few times but couldn’t get him to the ground,” Kelly stated, “and I think he kept some of the plays alive scrambling and stayed on his feet extending plays, you know, there were a couple of them that were five, six, seven, eight seconds, but that’s a credit to him, he runs around. When he get scrambling, he’s able to make throws and he made them.”
After weeks of equally mushy protection, the shortcoming to generate stops lastly caught as much as UCLA in an enormous method. With the Victory Bell ringing over loudspeakers and followers roaring as Arizona confronted a fourth and 4 at UCLA’s 17-yard line with 6½ minutes left, De Laura fired a landing move to Tetairoa McMillan to present the Wildcats a 31-28 lead.
De Laura was a game-long menace for the Bruins, finishing 22 of 28 passes for 315 yards and two touchdowns. Kelly selected to credit score the Wildcats quarterback fairly than blame his protection for the result.
“Our guys played with great effort,” Kelly stated, “but he extended plays like nobody we played against this year and I can’t recall since we’ve been here a kid that’s run around like that, you know, and I think all those big plays he made when he was running around were the difference in the football game.”
On the evening he returned from a one-game absence, UCLA’s Zach Charbonnet rolled up 181 yards dashing and three touchdowns however had an enormous drop on third down because the Bruins tried to reply Arizona’s rating.
In the course of the subsequent play, with Thompson-Robinson dealing with heavy strain, he fired a fourth-down move over receiver Josiah Norwood to present the ball again to the Wildcats on the UCLA 36-yard line. Arizona tacked on a 23-yard area purpose with 1:07 remaining to increase its benefit to 34-28.
Thompson-Robinson accomplished 26 of 39 passes for 245 yards with one landing for an offense that missed do-it-all operating back-receiver Kazmeir Allen, who was sidelined by an unspecified damage.
A couple of minutes after the beginning of the Bruins’ sport, Oregon supplied a reminder of the potential for late-season stumbles. The sixth-ranked Geese fell to Washington at house, severely compromising the Pac-12’s Faculty Soccer Playoff semifinal hopes.
In the course of the previous 12 months, UCLA had prevented surprising slip-ups below coach Chip Kelly. The Bruins had gained 9 consecutive video games in opposition to unranked groups, their earlier defeat coming late in October 2021 to Utah — the eventual Pac-12 champion.
They might not maintain the momentum because of some self-inflicted wounds that included a blocked area purpose and a drive to finish the primary half that ended with a Thompson-Robinson fumble at Arizona’s 20-yard line.
“Just little things,” Thompson-Robinson stated, “we just got to clean it all up.”
Thompson-Robinson had tried in numerous methods to assist on an evening his staff wasn’t its finest, delivering a block for Charbonnet to assist free him on a 36-yard run early within the fourth quarter. On the following play, Charbonnet powered his method for a five-yard landing to present UCLA a 28-24 benefit.
It was their closing spotlight on an evening the Wildcats did a lot of the celebrating.
What occurred within the first quarter left the Bruins extra chilled than the 53-degree temperature at kickoff. Arizona stormed to a 14-0 lead after scoring on two of its first three drives, reviving issues about UCLA’s protection.
Bruins defensive coordinator Invoice McGovern missed a 3rd consecutive sport due to an unspecified sickness, resulting in a collaborative effort among the many different assistants. Their sport plan might have been thrown out the press field window.
Arizona moved the ball with such ease on back-to-back drives that it virtually appeared as if the Wildcats knew the Bruins’ defensive calls. Operating again Michael Wiley was the first antagonist, operating up the center for a 10-yard landing and Arizona’s first factors.
When it appeared as if the Bruins may maintain Arizona on its subsequent drive, forcing third and 18, De Laura rolled out towards the sideline and fired a 22-yard move to an open Wiley for a landing.
It by no means acquired any higher for UCLA’s protection. By the point the evening ended, the Bruins had slipped right into a tie with Washington for fourth place within the Pac-12 standings, 1½ video games behind chief USC. UCLA can shave one sport off that deficit when it performs the Trojans subsequent weekend however now has extra work to do than anticipated to succeed in the Pac-12 championship sport early subsequent month.
“We know it’s not the end, we know we have the rest of the way,” Thompson-Robinson stated. “Now we just focus on the next one. Put this behind us, watch the film — watch the ugly, watch the good — and move on to the next one. We got a big one coming up.”