In a game marred by UCLA pass drops, penalties on both squads, turnovers on both squads, big special teams plays from both squads, and general sloppiness, the UCLA Bruins held off the Oregon State Beavers, 38-24. Although UCLA won for the first time since October 2nd, it was a sloppy game against an undermanned Oregon State team that was decimated by injuries.
The game was oddly reminiscent of last week's contest against Colorado. It will take a much, much better Bruin effort next week against Southern Cal, who is as hot as any team in the nation, knocking off previously undefeated Washington in Seattle tonight.
There were some positives tonight. Theo Howard was targeted more times than he has been as a Bruin and he had a nice, if unspectacular, game. The running game was decent, as UCLA ran for 163 yards as a team. Mike Fafaul got a much needed win as UCLA's starter.
And the Bruins defense was good. Two OSU touchdowns came on very short fields due to a return after a UCLA fumble turnovers and a big punt return. The other was a defensive score. The only time OSU drove the field, it was held to a field goal.
Here's a recap of the second half:
Oregon State's first possession of the second half resulted in a punt. UCLA punted the ball right back, and the punt itself was another poor one by Austin Kent.
Then Takk McKinley took over for a series, with a tackle for loss on first down and a sack on second down, his 10th sack of the season, good for 2nd in the nation. OSU couldn't convert on third and long, and punted the ball back to the Bruins.
On its third play of the resulting drive, UCLA gifted a touchdown to Oregon State. After the catch, Jordan Lasley, who had had a big game for the Bruins up to that point, coughed up the football and Oregon State's Manase Hungalu scooped it up and rumbled 40 yards into the end zone to cut UCLA's lead to 24-21.
UCLA bounced back with a long drive, aided by two personal fouls by Oregon State, culminating in a 4 yard touchdown run by Nate Starks. UCLA was again up by 10, 31-21.
Oregon State answered with a field goal. It was actually a win for the Bruins, as the Beavers drove the length of the field for the first time of the night, but could not punch it in on first and goal with three plays from inside the five yard line. Head Coach Gary Anderson opted for the short field goal on 4th and a yard and a half, cutting UCLA's lead to 31-24, with 54 second left in the 3rd quarter.
Ish Adams fielded the following kickoff one yard deep in the end zone, and took it out the the Bruin 39 yard line. The UCLA offense moved the ball across midfield before the 3rd quarter ended.
UCLA continued its drive and, aided by a pass interference call in the end zone, found itself with a 3rd and goal play from the one yard line. Inexplicably, Offensive Coordinator Kennedy Polamalu called a roll out to Mike Fafaul's left and, when nothing was there, Fafaul made a terrible decision, throwing across his body and into the arms of Manase Hungalu, who returned the ball out to the Oregon State 37 yard line.
UCLA's defense, however, bowed up, forcing a three and out. UCLA took over on its own 26 and moved the ball into Beaver territory, when it shot itself in the foot. A Brandon Stephens long touchdown run was negated by an offensive holding call and UCLA's drive stalled just short of field goal range. UCLA punted the football inside the Oregon State 10 yard line.
After a Beaver first down, Oregon State's drive stalled and they punted the football back to UCLA. The Bruins took over still up by seven points, but were forced to punt.
Oregon State took over needing a long drive for a touchdown to tie (something the Beavers had not done all night). It didn't happen, as Randall Goforth picked off Beaver QB, Marcus McMaryion, and took the ball to the house to put UCLA up by 14, 38-24, with 2:14 remaining.
Oregon State's final drive went nowhere, and UCLA killed the clock to end the game.
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Next week is Southern Cal.