UCLA Makes a Statement in an Emotional Victory in Nebraska
Brett Hundley ran a bootleg to his right and hit Phillip Ruhl for a 12-yard touchdown that gave UCLA the 31-21 lead over Nebraska. Hundley after celebrating with his teammates whipped out a towel that he had written "RIP #36" in black marker.
It was an emotional week for the UCLA football team a week after they lost Nick Pasquale to a car accident.
"This is a game for him," Hundley told ABC after the 41-21 victory.
Head coach Jim Mora looked directly into the camera addressing Pasquale's family while starting to break up. "We did it for your son." He couldn't continue. "We did it for your son," he could only repeat before rejoining his team.
It's hard to avoid the emotions on the UCLA sideline. It's not the trite manufactured storylines that sportswriters tend to use as rhetorical device. It was all over the game.
You saw it in the first half. The Bruins were down 21-3. To be honest I was still asleep during all of that after a long night at Dodger Stadium. But it seems like as I woke up to watch the game, so too did the Bruins.
They scored a touchdown at the end of the first half to make the score look respectable at 21-10. Then in the second half it was all Bruins. Four drives, four touchdowns in the third quarter tying the Bruin record for most points scored in the third. Erasing the 18-point deficit tied the seventh largest deficit the Bruins have overcome in school history.
As the game headed into the fourth quarter and UCLA holding to a 38-21 lead, there was some expectation that Nebraska led by quarterback Taylor Martinez would make a comeback. Nebraska was driving deep into UCLA territory when running back Ameer Abudullah fumbled the ball at the six-yard line.
Nebraska's next drive that started with 9:19 left to go: three and out. UCLA then went on an 11-play, 64-yard drive for a field goal that left 1:47 in the game. That drive was perhaps the most impressive part of the game. The comeback was impressive, but seeing UCLA knowing how to lockdown a win in the fourth quarter was pretty amazing.
UCLA left Memorial Stadium with a 41-21 victory, their first win against a ranked opponent on the road since upsetting No. 7 Texas on Sept. 25, 2010. It was hard to judge UCLA after their win against Nevada two weeks ago. But against a quality Big Ten opponent, the Bruins look like the team that most predict will win the Pac-12 South again.