In every game there is always one point that I feel is the fulcrum to the game. Last week, it came after the mishandled punt attempt and subsequent forced fumble. As I am watching the Emmys right now, I will announce all my nominees first.
And the nominees are:
- Michael Doctor's late stop on Brett Hundley.
- The missed field goal by UCLA.
- The consecutive stops following turnovers.
- All the combined drops/misthrows by UCLA.
One of the major plays in the game was Doctor getting a hold of Hundley and stopping him from getting a first down on their last real dangerous chance. If the Bruins had gotten it they might have gone on to score a touchdown and make it only a 3 point game, although they still would have needed to recover the onsides kick. This moment was important, but it came a little bit late when the Beavs were mostly in control, barring ridiculous heroics from UCLA.
Another moment that stood out was not a Beaver play but a missed field goal by UCLA kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn. After a fairly long drive, the Beavs finally stopped the Bruins, but they had gotten into reasonable field goal range. If made, it would have been a one possession game, and the pressure would have been on the Beavs to get another score to increase the difference, possibly costing some time UCLA might have used at the end. It also felt like such a victory for the Beavs at that moment in time, because the Bruins had been moving the ball and to see them come away with no points really added confidence. The real turning point came earlier however.
In the 3rd quarter Mannion was sacked by Anthony Barr and fumbled the ball, giving UCLA the ball on the OSU 43 yard line. This already spelled trouble making a big mistake on the road, but just like against Wisconsin the defense came through. They forced a 4 and out giving OSU the ball back none worse for the wear following the turnover. Then Mannion made his worst mistake of the game, forcing a throw that was picked off by UCLA's Stan McKay. Once again this looked like trouble; the defense had just corrected that last error by the offense, and it seemed like a lot to ask for them to do it again. But then they did. They gave up one first down, but with the help of a UCLA penalty they held the Bruins, not even letting them in field goal range. This was early enough that if the Bruins had scored it would have given them extra confidence and they could have even tied the game with a touchdown, completely negating the early advantage OSU had created. To me, this terrific defensive stand was the biggest moment of the game. If the defense can't hold, the game was very likely to swing towards UCLA, but the Beavs held them off.
That's the most important bunch of plays to me, disagree? Agree? Sound off below!