Chip Kelly finally did it in his fourth season at UCLA. He forced his team to qualify for the bowl game.
Remaining in bailout mode after several mid-season losses, the Bruins overcame a sloppy start, full of penalties and other misses on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl, and finally wore Colorado down with their revitalized fast-paced play during a runaway second half.
It seemed that under Kelly, he could reach a new level of uselessness, UCLA overcame a 10-point deficit with 37 unanswered points on the way to a 44-20 victory, making the Bruins cup fit for the first time since 2017. …
They won’t end their 22-year drought in the Rose Bowl after dropping out of the Pac-12 South competition earlier that day, but the Alamo, Las Vegas and Holiday bowls remain in play.
UCLA senior quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson has been a breakthrough star in the lead after a thumb injury on his throwing hand that has stymied him since late last month. He ran 99 yards on cue and landed with his 257 yards of pass, which overtook Corey Paus to finish fifth on the school’s all-time pass list with 7,028 yards.
Running defenders Zach Charbonnet (67 yards, three touchdowns) and Britten Brown (58 yards, one touchdown) ran freely, helping the Bruins (6-4 overall, 4-3 Pac-12) build 245 yards on the ground.
The UCLA defense blocked the Buffalo (3-7, 2-5) in the second half, keeping them 117 yards off attack, making a big stop early in the fourth quarter when cornerback J Shaw scored Brady Russell in the fourth. and the first.
The Bruins turned former UCLA coach Carl Dorrell home in his first Rose Bowl game since his dismissal at the end of the 2007 season, beating Buffalo 34-0 in the second half.
UCLA receiver Kyle Phillips returned his punt 82 yards for touchdown early in the fourth quarter and caught eight assists at 99 yards to help his team record a two-game losing streak and three-game skid at the Bruins’ Rose Bowl. held their last victory on that dreamy night in early September against Louisiana. This was followed by home defeats to the states of Fresno, Arizona and Oregon, destroying all hopes of a major draw for the Kelly Bruins.
They can raise their record and climb the hierarchy of the bowl with victories over the falling USC and California in the remaining games.
Entering the game as an underdog with 17 points, Colorado held a 20-10 lead mid-game after scoring the most points in the first half of the season. The Buffaloes, who entered the game, finished 128th out of 130 teams in the Football Bowl, averaging 266.7 yards per game and 242 yards at halftime.
Colorado have overcome the Bruins’ fading defenses up to this point with 155 yards on the ground. Jarek Broussard ran 102 yards and Alex Fontenot excelled in short distances, scoring on two one-yard touchdown points.
Midway through the second quarter, UCLA’s top two attacking games don’t count. Charbonnet’s 51-yard run was eliminated by Greg Dulcic’s tight-end hold penalty, and Cam Brown’s 40-yard hold was pulled off the board after he stepped out of bounds and returned to the trap.
The Bruins broke through after Phillips caught a short pass and passed several defenders, overtaking the Colorado 17s by 40 yards. After Brown’s 15-yard run and a Colorado penalty for a yoke tackle, he moved the ball to the Buffalo. On one yard line, Brown hit a touchdown in the next game, leaving UCLA with a 10-7 deficit.
Colorado counterattacked after Broussard ran through defenses in a 46-yard run, finally caught up by UCLA midfielder Carl Jones Jr. on the Bruins’ three-yard line. Fontenot ended up scoring on his second touchdown run and was 17-7.
At the end of the farewell week, UCLA didn’t play very well at the start of the game. Thompson-Robinson intercepted a pass that flew over the head of Dulcic. Kicker Nicholas Barr-Mira conceded a field goal in a fourth straight game – he also missed a third-quarter PAT when the ball hit the left post – and the Bruins had seven penalties 42 yards at half-time.
A 41-yard goal from Barr Mira in the first half final game cut UCLA’s deficit to 20-10, but it was hardly an impressive performance in the first half against Colorado defenders who missed starters Nate Landman, Guy Thomas and Mecha Blackmon.
As a symbol of their enormous cleanup efforts, the Bruins hit just two penalties in the second half.
The narrative changed significantly, with fans heading home happy for the first time in over two months.