The UCLA Football team rallied from 34-points down in their biggest comeback in program history, but it almost wasn’t because of several incremental factors.
Last Sunday night, the UCLA Football team completed one of the biggest comebacks in college football history. After playing so poorly in the first half, everything went right for the Bruins in the second.
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Any little mistake would have cost them the game but instead, there were a series of events that went the Bruins’ way that led to their victory.
1. Kellen Mond stepping out bounds
With 6:48 left in the game, Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond took the ball around the end and ran in for a score. Fortunately for the Bruins, the true freshman wasn’t able to stay inbounds. The tip of his left foot touched the sideline nullifying the touchdown which would have put A&M up 51 – 31. This would have most likely put the game out of reach. The Aggies ended up settling for a field goal attempt.
2. A 43-yard field goal attempt that fell short
After Mond wasn’t able to stay in bounds, the Bruins’ defense kept the Aggies out of the end zone. On A&M’s field goal attempt, the kick was barely touched by Adarius Pickett. But his slight touch was enough to change the flight of the ball and cause it to come up short.
If the kick was good, it would have put Texas A&M up three possessions and with under five minutes left, the Bruins most likely would not have had enough time to score three times.
3. Josh Rosen’s touchdown pass that shouldn’t have been
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After a forgetful first half, Josh Rosen was on target with almost everything in the second. His confidence was high and maybe too high on one shot down field.
As Darren Andrews got behind the defense, Rosen let one fly but didn’t get enough on the pass.
It was heading right into the hands of A&M’s safety Deshawn Capers-Smith but instead of making a possible game saving interception, the ball went right through his hands and into the arms of Andrews.
No one was more surprised than Andrews as his hands were already down anticipating the interception.
This turnover would have destroyed the Bruins’ comeback attempt.
4. Theo Howard’s touchdown catch
By the middle of the fourth quarter with the momentum definitely in the Bruins’ favor, UCLA still needed two scores to take the lead. Josh Rosen was once again driving his team down the field when he was chased out of the pocket by Zaycoven Henderson.
Rosen threw a dangerous ball into the end zone towards an area with three Aggies defenders. Luckily since Rosen threw that ball across his body, it didn’t have as much strength as he wanted. It fell inches short of the defenders as Theo Howard darted in front of them to snag the ball.
Obviously, an interception would have hurt the Bruins’ chances on the scoreboard. But the bigger effect would have been the complete loss of momentum UCLA had built.
We all know how the rest of the game went. But for all these plays, one or two inches either way and the fans who stuck around the Rose Bowl would have seen another disappointing loss instead of the Bruins’ largest ever come back.