Only the true East Coast degenerates—not even myself, if we’re coming clean—would have had the guts and belief to stick with UCLA’s game at Washington State after 1 a.m. Sunday morning, when the No. 19 ranked Cougars went up 49-17 on the winless Bruins midway through the third quarter. But those who toughed it out were treated to a baffling, near impossible-seeming comeback, as UCLA resurrected itself in the final 20 minutes to win 67-63, while WSU fumbled away their undefeated season in front of God, Gardner Minshew, and everyone in Pullman.
The story of the game is four fumbles lost for WSU, all of which came as UCLA was making their late charge. Here’s the whole quartet of butterfingered mistakes, with the final two occurring on the Cougars’ final two drives of the game:
What’s most amazing about these blunders is that Washington State’s offense still did more than enough to ensure victory—I mean, 63 points? Come on! But even as Cougars QB Anthony Gordon threw for an absurd nine touchdowns, UCLA found a way to close the gap with some big quick-strike offensive plays. With the team down 49-31 towards the end of the third, having already scored 14 unanswered, QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson connected with Demetric Felton for a 94-yard score, made possible by track-meet speed and a couple of stiff arms.
Felton also had a kick-six in the second quarter, and the game-winner on a screen pass, but the play of the night goes to Kyle Philips, a redshirt freshman wideout who shredded the defense all across the width of the field for a 69-yard punt return score that gave UCLA an inconceivable lead, 60-56, with 7:30 to go.
The Pac-12 sure as hell isn’t sending anyone to the playoff this year, so they might as well keep giving us some more ridiculously entertaining late-night barnburners, ranked teams be damned.