UCLA (4-6, 2-5 Pac 12) finally ended their drought of wins that lasted over a month when the Bruins upended Oregon State (2-8, 1-6 Pac 12), 38-24.
In reality the score wasn’t as close as it looked. The Beavers were able to score first by capitalizing on a Soso Jamabo fumble that Oregon State linebacker Manase Hungalu scooped up and returned to the UCLA four-yard line.
Two runs later by running back Artavis Pierce and the Beavers led 7-0 before many of the 64,813 fans in attendance had reached their seats.
You couldn’t blame UCLA fans if there was a little bit of “here we go again, it’s going to be a bumpy ride”.
UCLA has had more than their fair share of tough losses this season and young men made of lessor stuff could have caved in, but not this team. This Bruin football team has fought all year long and had chances to win every game.
The Bruins shook off the early turnover and created some havoc of their own. UCLA went on a seven play, 70-yard drive of their own to even the score 7-7.
The drive was highlighted by a Mike Fafaul to Jordan Lasley 48-yard hookup. Lasley is turning into a playmaker for the Bruins. He needs a little more consistency, but Lasley is a budding star for the Bruins. Lasley had five catches for 105 yards, which is the second time this season the Bruin sophomore receiver has crossed the century mark in receiving yards.
UCLA was able to force a fumble of their own Jaleel Wadood stripped Oregon State wide receiver Jordan Villimin of the football and linebacker Jason Brown was alert recovering loose ball for the Bruins. Seven plays and 30 yards later Bruin freshman running back, Jalen Starks scored his first touchdown of his career making the score 14-7 Bruins.
Special teams have been a sore spot for the Bruins but they made a huge play to close to the end of the first quarter, when sophomore linebacker, DeChaun Holiday, blocked a Beaver punt and Lasley picked it up scoring a touchdown giving UCLA a 21-7 lead.
Oregon State never quit in this game and that is a testimony where the program is headed under second year coach, Gary Anderson. The same can be said about Jim Mora’s Bruins. Both teams showed why they have lost close games, but also showed the heart and determination of why even though mistake ridden, both teams have had their chances for more success.
With the Bruins leading 31-24 with just over two minutes left on the clock, senior defensive back, Randall Goforth, picked off a pass and took it 40 yards for a game sealing touchdown.
Fafaul threw for 281 yards and has now thrown 1,060 yards for the year, joining Josh Rosen (1,915 yards) as the only two Bruin quarterbacks to throw for 1,000 yards in the same season.
UCLA head coach, Jim Mora was happy about finally getting back into the win column.
“It's good to get a win,” Mora said. “They have been hard to come by this year. These guys have stayed together and have kept a great attitude. So, they got rewarded for it. That was great. We have to get ready for a big week this week.”
Big week indeed, the Bruins will face the red hot USC Trojans who are coming off a huge win in Seattle over the previously undefeated and No. 4 ranked Washington Huskies.
UCLA can win this game, but they can’t make the kind of mistakes that have plagued them all season long. The Bruins need for the first time this season to play as close to a complete game as possible. UCLA needs to be successful in all three phases of the game. The Bruins had success in all phases against Oregon State, but also had blemishes.
The Bruins will need to play their best game of the season next week, if they do, they can win and keep the dream alive for a bowl game.