This was a fun one. Let's get to the recap.
The day did not start out well for the UCLA Bruins on defense. The first drive's lowlight was a clear targeting penalty by Kenny Young, when he launched head first at Tanner Magnum after he'd given himself up on a slide. Young was ejected and Isaako Savaiinaea was inserted into the action. The Cougars' opening drive ended with a 7-yard TD run by Adam Hine to give BYU an early 7-0 lead.
The Cougars took advantage of the Bruins' tendencies on KOR with an onside kick that BYU recovered.
The defense held up strong, getting off the field thanks to an Aaron Wallace sack where he avoided a cut block attempt and a Takkarist McKinley TFL.
The offense looked to be answering back with a big 44-yard Paul Perkins run and a 13-yard Nate Starks run. The drive was cut short in the redzone on an interception by Josh Rosen. He tried to go late over the middle while forced out of the pocket under pressure. Harvey Langi made a hell of a play to leap up and get it, but that is not a throw Rosen can make at this level.
The defense picked up the offense's miscue. Another sack on 2nd down by Isaako Savaiinaea and a Takkarist McKinley hit on 3rd and 15 got UCLA's D off the field.
The offense stalled on the next drive, and the UCLA defense forced a 3-and-out. The first quarter wrapped up with a 44-yard run by Perkins to put UCLA in position to put points on the board.
The promising drive was ended after a failed 3rd down which featured a crushing (but clean) hit on Rosen. A 35-yard FG by Ka'imi Fairbairn made the score 10-3.
The next offensive series saw another Rosen interception, this time on a rushed throw to Jordan Payton. Throw was a little behind Payton and Harvey Langi got there at the same time as the ball, it was tipped into the air and corralled by Harvey Langi for his 2nd interception of the contest.
The Bruins held again on defense despite being put in terrible field position, a 40-yard FG stretched BYU's lead to 10-3.
A couple of terrifying plays on UCLA's next drive. One where Soso Jamabo fumbled, forced by Harvey Langi (who had an insane game on defense) but was recovered by Jake Brendel. The second on a near interception by Rosen on a 3rd down where he was under pressure once again. After punting, a kick-catch interference on the punt by special teams captain Taylor Lagace gave BYU good field position again.
The defense bailed UCLA out once again with another sack on 3rd down and a 4th down stop to get off the field without allowing any points and giving UCLA's offense a shot to go down and tie the game or narrow the deficit.
The 2-minute drill for UCLA's offense with a chance to tie the game started promising. Paul Perkins got a few touches, Thomas Duarte was finally targeted for a first down, Jordan Payton took a 4-yard short hitch and powered his way through 4 or 5 BYU defenders to get about about 15 yards.
UCLA was within scoring range with about a minute to go and 3 timeouts remaining. Unfortunately, on 3rd and 6, Rosen was once again flushed from the pocket and tried to loft the ball to Devin Fuller across his body and Kai Nacua undercut it (as good D-1 safeties will do) for an interception to send UCLA to the locker room down 10-3.
At the half, Josh Rosen was 5-15 for 52 yards with 3 interceptions. Paul Perkins had 12 carries for 128 yards. 0-5 on third downs on the offensive side for the Bruins.
The UCLA defense held BYU to a combined 3-11 on 3rd/4th downs. Got off the field in tough spots multiple times, pressured Tanner Magnum quite a bit. Impressive performance by the Bruins on defense after a tough 1st series.
On BYU's opening possession, a sack on a big 3rd down by Jacob Tuioti-Mariner (but really by 3 Bruins at once) after Deon Hollins forced two penalties on pass rushes. Holding on a play where he would've gotten close to a sack which took away a huge gain by BYU, and his presence forced a false start right afterwards by the same left tackle.
This was followed by a 56-yard punt return by Devin Fuller, sprung by several great blocks and nice acceleration by Fuller down the sideline. Gave UCLA spectacular field position to start the half.
The offense stalled a bit, but Coach Mora (in an unusually un-NFL decision) went for it on 4th and 1 and Paul Perkins delivered on it. A TD run on the next play by Perkins tied it up at 10-10 with 9:27 to go in the 3rd quarter.
The defense got chunk-and-dunked down the field by Tanner Magnum, ending in a 14-yard TD pass to Mitch Matthews on a play where Tom Bradley brought 6 men on a blitz, but the blitz got picked up by BYU. Made it 17-10 in favor of BYU.
Offense moved fairly effectively on the ensuing possession, forcing two BYU timeouts but they were forced to punt after BYU bottled up near midfield.
Defense nearly gets off the field but Jacob Tuioti-Mariner dipped inside instead of setting the edge on a short run where BYU's runner bounced outside after being stuck. The defense was being driven on by the Cougar offense at the end of the quarter with the score 17-10.
Pass breakup by Denzel Fisher on a perfect break on the ball stopped the drive, but a 45-yard FG by Trevor Samson gave BYU a two-score lead at 20-10.
The big drive started off with a 33-yard run by Paul Perkins off the edge. Broke a tackle to spring himself for a big gain.
After a couple more effective runs by Perkins, UCLA ran out a trips set with Jordan Payton alone in a 1-on-1 matchup on the backside. Rosen threw a dime on a post corner route to the end zone for a 19-yard TD to make the score 20-17 with 12:16 left in the contest.
The defense got BYU in five 3rd down situations on the next drive, but BYU converted the first four to get within FG range and they converted a short FG to make it a 6-point game at 23-17.
After a couple of nice gains by Paul Perkins and Jordan Payton, the hero arrived with Nate Starks driving UCLA all the way down the field quickly. The offense going 80 yards in just 2 minutes and 13 seconds to score and give UCLA their first lead of the game at 24-23. The drive was capped off with a 3-yard TD run by Starks.
With UCLA's unbeaten mark on the line, and facing a QB who has made his mark on game-winning drive in the 4th quarter, the defense took the field with just under 3 minutes left in the game.
BYU's offense moved quickly onto UCLA's half of the field, getting there in just under a minute. Fabian Moreau checked back into the game with an injury and made a great play jamming a WR at the line on a play where Kene Orjioke tipped the pass.
The defense forced a 4th down and 7 with 1:09 to go in the game, the pass rush forced Magnum out of the pocket and he heaved it downfield, terrifying UCLA briefly. But, as the camera panned out, it was clear that Myles Jack was in perfect position for the interception to seal a huge victory for the UCLA Bruins.
Three chippy kneel downs later and UCLA walked out of the Rose Bowl with a 24-23 victory over the BYU Cougars to go to 3-0 in the non conference slate once again under Jim Mora.
This was a terrifying and immensely exciting game against a damn good football team in BYU. Josh Rosen struggled immensely in the 1st half, but stepped up when he needed to in the 2nd half, going 6-8 for 54 yards with a TD pass.
The running game carried UCLA's offense all game long. Paul Perkins went 26 for 219 (a career high) with a TD. Nate Starks went 7 for 81 yards and the game winning TD.
On defense, Isaako Savaiinaea has to get the game ball with 14 total tackles, 10 solo tackles and 1.5 sacks. Deon Hollins was a terror off the edge for BYU's tackles, getting held and wrapped up all night but still getting pressures. The whole front seven picked up the secondary for the most part, as the Bruins had Myles Jack playing Nickel back for most of the game, they lost Moreau to an injury for most of the game and was without Rios for parts of the 4th quarter as well.
These are the games that great teams win. UCLA won this one but will have to play better to comfortably beat Arizona on the road next week.
Until then, Go Bruins!!!