When UCLA took the field against Arizona State on Saturday, the Bruin fan-base was anxious. Not only had UCLA looked flighty in the weeks leading up to Jim Mora’s first in-conference test of his career as the Bruins’ head coach, but they were also playing in Tempe and ASU had been highly-disciplined, save for a loss to Oregon, for most of the season.
After UCLA battled back from an early 14-0 deficit, the Sun Devils took a late-game lead with just over 90 seconds to go. Up to this point, Jim Mora’s squads had not had the ball in their hands with a chance to win the game, meaning we had yet to see Brett Hundley lead a frantic, fast-paced, two-minute drill prior to today. Meanwhile, UCLA needed only a field goal to win a dramatic contest and Ka’imi Fairbairn had yet to prove he can be a consistent kicker.
Of course, everything added up and the Bruins pulled out the most dramatic — and likely the most meaningful, due to the fact that this was a conference road game against a not-bad team — win of the season. The final drive was a thing of beauty and our guy at Punting Is Winning captured the moment gorgeously:
Every single play was well-calculated and well-executed, culminating in a 13-play, 60-yard sequence of events leading to a feels-too-damn-good UCLA win.
Fans — myself included — didn’t think UCLA was going to win a battle against an Arizona State team looking for someone to take out their anger from an Oregon-provided shellacking on.
After such a dramatic final drive, it’s highly likely that the label — “same, old UCLA” — might have been uttered for the final time.