UCLA rallies to beat Huskies

first_img But this UCLA team showed it had the moxie to recover from a stale, uninspired performance. Senior quarterback Drew Olson led the first fourth-quarter comeback of his career, driving the Bruins to the winning score, a 1-yard dive by tailback Maurice Drew with 68 seconds remaining to lift No. 20 UCLA to a 21-17 defeat of Washington in front of 64,249 Saturday at the Rose Bowl in its Pacific-10 Conference opener. Washington was in control as UCLA sputtered through most of the first three quarters, dropping passes, having balls batted down at the line and general malaise. However, Olson began to find his groove later in the third quarter, on the drive after Washington took a 17-7 lead on a 1-yard sneak by quarterback Isaiah Stanback. On UCLA’s next drive, Olson was on target as he went 5 for 5 for 42 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown toss to fullback Michael Pitre, on the first play of the fourth quarter to pull the Bruins within 17-14. That just set up the biggest drive in Olson’s career. The Bruins took over with 3:39 remaining, and immediately looked to be in trouble again. But on a fourth-and-1 from its own 36, Olson looked right and connected with Andrew Baumgartner for 5 yards. “I was the first option. They could have rolled the (coverage) and my route wouldn’t have been open, but then it worked out,” Baumgartner said. “I think this shows the difference between this year’s team and those of the past few years. We might have laid down before, but this shows the character of this team. We never laid down. We never quit.” On the next play, Everett’s catch and sprint brought the ball to Washington’s 20, leading to a pair of pinpoint throws by Olson, who found Chris Markey for 12 yards and Gavin Ketchum for 7 more. Then, on second-and-goal, Drew ended his frustrating night with a dive to give the Bruins their first lead at 21-17. “The (offensive line) did a great job of pushing the (defensive) line,” Drew said. “I had to jump over the O-line. That’s all that matters getting in the end zone.” Drew torched Washington’s defense for a school-record 322 rushing yards and five touchdowns last year in Seattle, but was a focal point of the Huskies’ defense this time. Drew rushed for 14 times for 33 yards through three quarters. “This showed how much heart we have,” Bruins tight end Marcedes Lewis said. “We messed up a couple of times, but for us to come back, that shows how much heart we have. We came back with character and heart.” In a pitiful offensive display, the uninspired Bruins were held scoreless in the first half for the first time since a 27-0 loss to USC on Nov.17, 2001. Two plays into the second quarter the Huskies had a 10-0 lead, thanks to a Evan Knudson’s 18-yard field goal and Kenny James’ 20-yard run through the left side of the line. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! UCLA (4-0, 1-0) last won as a ranked team Oct. 20, 2001, when the fourth-ranked Bruins beat California, 56-17. UCLA had lost its last six games when ranked. “That was one of those games you learn a lot about yourself, as a team and of your program,” UCLA coach Karl Dorrell said. “We’re still growing as a team. We’re still young. That was a great experience to go through, and I say that now because we won the game. “Sometimes you’re not going to get your best performance and you have to put together a performance to win a football game and we were able to do that. That shows a lot of positive signs about the character of our team. There’s no quit in our team.” On the game-winning drive, Olson went 6 for 7 for 72 yards. The key play was a 40-yard catch and run along the left sideline by Marcus Everett, who grabbed a quick hitch and slipped three tackles before racing down the left sideline to get the ball into Washington (1-4, 0-2) territory. “I think it builds a little character,” Olson said. “It was way too close of a game, (more) than we expected. They outplayed out us for three quarters. That’s the cool thing about this team. We find a way to win.” center_img For two weeks, UCLA players walked around campus with their chests puffed out, and talked about reclaiming part of Los Angeles in the college football scene. Gone, or supposedly, were the dud games. Gone, or supposedly, was the overlooking of a less-talented opponent. last_img read more

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