Nothing like reading the papers on a Sunday morning after a huge win. It's been a while. Yes, I am still somewhat hungover this morning, and it will take a while to put together my thoughts on what last night meant for our season, and the mindset of our football program and the Nation. Of course right now, I can't help but feel euphoric, but at the same time as someone whose got his heart broken so many times by this football program, I totally realize this could all go down the drain by a shitty loss to Washington State next weekend. One thing is for sure, we are back on the national stage for the first time since that 6-0 start in 2001:
Even when UCLA insisted it was different now, that the mindset had changed and the once Grinched-sized heart had grown three sizes too big, there was the near-stumble against Washington to cloud the Bruins' vision.
However, after a sublime five-touchdown effort by tailback Maurice Drew and a second-straight, last-minute comeback engineered by quarterback Drew Olson lifted No. 20 UCLA past No. 10 California 47-40 Saturday in front of 84,811 at the Rose Bowl, the Bruins find themselves back on the national stage, one of nine undefeated Division I-A teams remaining.
Drew proved that Saturday by matching his school record with a five-touchdown effort to carry the No. 20 Bruins to a dramatic, come-from-behind, 47-40 victory over No. 10 California before UCLA's largest home crowd of the season, 84,811 at the Rose Bowl.
Drew had 299 all-purpose yards, scored three rushing touchdowns, reached the end zone on an 81-yard punt return and caught a pass for the go-ahead score for the Bruins, who improved to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the Pacific 10 Conference.
Photo:AP (via CNNSI)
Drew had an incredible night, so did his QB, who for the second weekend in a row had another gutcheck game, showing remarkable poise and calm down the stretch. More from White on the DO comeback:
His two biggest completions came on a 38-yarder to sophomore Marcus Everett, who made a highlight grab between two Cal defensive backs, and a 28-yarder to Drew, who turned a swing pass into a touchdown to give UCLA a 41-40 lead with 1:35 left.
"He never flinched," UCLA offensive coordinator Tom Cable said about Olson, who completed 17 of 33 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns. "I thought this game was another big step for Drew. When we got behind at the end, he just made some great plays."
Said Everett, who had a team-high six catches for 95 yards: "Drew was so calm out there. He just kept telling us, 'Let's just go out there and do this and give all we can for the next two minutes and we'll win this'. And, we did."
"You have to make yourself looking like you weren't thinking about it all along," Dorrell said. "That's how the process works. As a matter of fact it worked pretty well, because our fans were booing."
Regardless, last night was huge. As mentioned up top, we are back on the national radar And, during the coming week, we may bee seeing analysis like this one from Matthew Zamek of CFN, who has more on Drew's game winning TD, and the not so preposterous notion of Bruins being 10-0 heading into December 3rd:
Austin, Blacksburg, State College, Tallahassee, Tuscaloosa and Athens might all have one really good team, but the Left Coast metropolis has two of them. And if Karl Dorrell's boys do what they should be able to do in their next four games, UCLA will find itself 9-0 heading into a showdown with Arizona State on Nov. 20. Win that, and look out: an undefeated UCLA team will collide with USC in an armageddon-like battle on Dec. 3. The City of Angels will become the site of a college football apocalypse, with UCLA rising up to claim a share of the LA football stage. It's surely premature to talk about late November right now, but the mere fact this giddy possibility exists in Westwood is a credit to a program, and even more particularly to the long, hard labor of Karl Dorrell, whose guts had more than a little to do with the outcome of this game.