How do you even get the fake-spike play called and arranged with 40 seconds left, at the end of what could be a historic comeback, but just as easily could be a gut-punch of a narrow loss?
The Bruins did the shit, but before they’d totally done the shit, their comeback survived some very lucky turns. A Josh Rosen touchdown pass to Darren Andrews went directly through the hands of an A&M defender who had whole seconds to align himself for the interception. A second Rosen touchdown pass, with just about three minutes on the clock and the Bruins down 13, had the look of one of those gutsy on-the-move darts, and the broadcast crew certainly did their part by calling it “one of the more incredible throws I’ve seen in a long time,” but viewed from the roving overhead camera, it looked much more like a desperate, terribly ill-conceived heave that a quick-thinking Theo Howard snagged away from certain doom.
You need some luck to pull off this kind of comeback, and this touchdown, in particular, was all luck. That “remarkable” throw? According to this Daily Bruin recap, not so much:
“From almost throwing a pick to a defensive lineman to two tipped balls. I fully was trying to throw that ball away – that touchdown to Theo. I was not throwing that to anyone. (The pass rusher) just hit my hand and I got lucky,” Rosen said.
The decisive score that completed the insane comeback was the final play of a 10-play drive that started at UCLA’s 34-yard-line, with the Bruins still down six but powered by 100 percent of whatever belief and momentum was left between the two teams. Soso Jamabo had just converted a do-or-die fourth down on a catch-and-run completion that put the Bruins at A&M’s 10-yard-line with 48 seconds remaining. The Bruins raced to the line, and the play call was apparently a fake-spike fade route.
But when the hell did that call come in? Before the fourth down conversion? Hey, if we convert this, get to the line and run the fake-spike fade route. Is there a hand signal? Surely an offensive coordinator mimicking a spike and then mimicking a throw would tip off someone on the other sideline? The fake spike play seems like the sort of thing no defense at any level beyond ankle-biters should ever fall for, but even I, the savvy-and-not-at-all-drunk-and-watching-on-a-tiny-airplane-television viewer, can’t imagine when the call makes its way to the field, and spreads to all the players, such that they are able to get on the same page and execute it during the brief period after the end of a play, when they are rushing ahead to get lined up without a huddle.
Some crazy shit has to go right in order to make a 35-point comeback in a single quarter. Take your pick, from this one, but for my money, the craziest is whatever mind-meld put the fake-spike play on with the Bruins racing up to the line. It made for an incredible ending.