Final score: UCLA 17 Oregon St. 14
UCLA kicker Kai Forbath had already missed two field goals, but when Oregon St. and a home field clock operator gave him a third chance, Forbath delivered from 52 yards out, and delivered for UCLA a 17-14 win over Oregon St. in the Rose Bowl.
With 3 seconds left, an extra second was put on the clock. Then, with 4 seconds left, Richard Brehaut completed a 12 yard out route to Randall Carroll that officially took only three seconds, setting up the game winning kick. The clock ran out on the play, but review put one second back on the clock (correctly), based on the clock. The problem was the play started with 4 seconds on the clock, and after Brehaut bobbled the snap, lost his balance, regained it, and threw the ball, there was still 4 seconds on the clock.
That was what ultimately decided the game, but there were plenty of other keys to the Bruins' upset win. The most notable was UCLA's response to Oregon St.'s second half opening scoring drive to take a 14-7 lead.
The Bruins proceeded to put together a 19 play, 70 yard scoring drive, that took 9 minutes and 35 seconds, and was kept alive by a personal foul, one of several unforced, unnecessary, and totally inexcusable such mistakes made during the night by Oregon St. Given second life, Jonathan Franklin punched the ball in for the tieing touchdown.
Franklin wound up the game's leading rusher, with 80 yards on 23 carries, and the one score.
Another personal foul on offense stalled an OSU fourth quarter drive, an inexcusable error in a game that UCLA shortened significantly with their ball control tactics. The Bruins held the ball 11 minutes and 16 seconds more than the Beavers, which heavily contributed to Jacquizz Rodgers being held to only 14 rushes, and 19 touches, and just 64 rushing, and 83 total yards.
Joe Halahuni was the game's leading receiver, with 60 yards on five carries, including a 28 yard touchdown catch for Oregon St.'s first touchdown. Which was a large part of Oregon St.'s problem. Not that Halahuni had a good night, but that a tight end had their biggest night receiving.
Jordan Bishop played only minimally, and had no catches, due to effects of a bruised shoulder suffered making a spectacular catch in the Cal game.
Ryan Katz completed 18 of 26 passes, but for only 163 yards.
This loss, with Holiday Bowl officials watching, seriously hurt Oregon St.'s bowl prospects, as the Beavers dropped to 4-4 for the season. Oregon St. will stay in fourth place in the Pac-10 race, with a 3-2 record, but after a visit from Washington St., still have USC, Stanford, and Oregon on the schedule. Splitting those 4 games is necessary to even be bowl eligible, and it may require winning 3 of 4 of those games to actually reach even a low level bowl.
The loss has to be laid on the coaching staff, the second consecutive one in the last two road games, both to teams with losing records. For one thing, by week 10, a team making multiple personal foul mistakes has had a problem making corrections.
But worst was the defense coming into a game totally unprepared. A glance at the UCLA depth chart revealed immediately that the Bruins were going to be able to do the same thing Louisville did, which was to over-power the Beavers' defensive front. Yet nothing was done about it.
Oregon St.'s defensive (lack of a) game plan made Richard Brehaut look like Andy Dalton, just as they had Louisville's Adam Froman. Defensive coordinator Mark Banker's defensive scheme continues to not provide for containment, allowing quarterbacks with any more mobility than a fire hydrant to continually escape pressure, and turn losses into big plays.
And Brehaut only completed one pass for more than 12 yards, a 43 yarder to Taylor Embree. And that was on a crossing route, where no effective coverage of anything by the safeties happened.
Perpetually hung up in Banker's man-press coverage, Oregon St.'s corners had no chance to stop numerous easy toss and catch plays. Eight of Brehaut's 13 completions were for first downs that kept scoring drives alive. The short passing game could be easily jumped with two man coverage schemes, but bracket coverage is a foreign concept that is getting no consideration.
The effective defensive tactic Oregon St. used was a liberal dose of blitzes, both against the run, and the pass. Yet Banker often as not eschewed the blitzes that were more often than not working. That allowed the UCLA offensive line the opportunity to take the initiative. The result, 21 Bruin first downs to 16 for the Beavers.
Rick Neuheisel should have quieted critics with a win that snapped a 3 game UCLA losing streak, and improved the Bruins to 4-5 overall, and 2-4 in the Pac-10. A win where he brought his team in prepared to play in a way that gave them their best chance to win, and exploited a faulty defensive scheme that invited exactly what happened.
And Neuheisel did a better job of managing the game, and the clock, even minus the timing situation at the end of the contest, than Oregon St. and Mike Riley did. The Beavers couldn't get the game to overtime, allowing the Bruins an extra opportunity to win the game, and also left a time out on the board.
Katz's progress seems to have stalled, as he again over-threw a wide open Marcus Wheaton early in the game, and again in the second half, when sustaining a drive was essential. Taking a sack late in the second quarter also pushed Oregon St. out of Justin Kahut's range for a field goal that, as it turns out, would have been huge. Leaving points on the field has cost OSU multiple games this season. In order to win at the level the Beavers are expected to play at, a team cannot be helping opponents with mental mistakes like that.
In all, Katz suffered three sacks, a season high, and a couple were drive destroyers.
"The best way to deal with it is to avoid situations like this," Riley said afterwards, speaking of the way UCLA finished the game. Riley is absolutely correct in that assessment, but why that still isn't being reflected in game preparation, and on the field, is unexplained.
Oregon St. returns home for Dad's weekend, facing Washington St. The Cougars (1-9, 0-7) lost 20-13 to Cal in Pullman today, the Bears' first road win of the year.
UCLA has a week off, next playing at Washington on Thursday, Nov. 18. The Huskies (3-6, 2-4) lost to #1 Oregon 53-16 in Autzen Stadium today, after scoring 10 straight points to pull within 18-13 in the third quarter. The Ducks then went on a 35-3 run, including 28 unanswered points to finish the game, to pull away.