Huskies Comeback Effort Falls Short, 24-23
Nov. 7, 2009
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -Kevin Craft passed for 159 yards in the second half after taking over for injured Kevin Prince, and UCLA made a late defensive stand to snap its five-game losing streak with a 24-23 victory over Washington on Saturday.
Rahim Moore intercepted Jake Locker's deflected pass near the UCLA 20 in the final minute for the Bruins (4-5, 1-5 Pac-10), who ended a school record-tying seven-game conference skid despite losing Prince on a helmet-to-helmet hit late in the first half.
Craft, the Bruins' starter last season before losing his job to Prince, led their comeback from a nine-point deficit, going 10 for 14 with a 29-yard TD pass to Terrence Austin. The UCLA defense also shut out Locker and the Huskies (3-6, 2-4) in the final 26 minutes.
Locker passed for 235 yards and connected with Jermaine Kearse for two touchdowns, but the fleet-footed quarterback rushed for just 23 yards while playing with a deep thigh bruise in Washington's fifth loss in six games since beating Southern California. Kearse had seven catches for 114 yards, none in the fourth quarter.
After Kearse's 34-yard TD catch put Washington up 23-14 early in the third, the Bruins came back with Austin's TD catch and went ahead on Kai Forbath's 27-yard field goal just 7 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Erik Folk missed a 38-yard field goal attempt for Washington moments later, and the Huskies didn't score again.
Prince passed for 212 yards before a helmet-to-helmet hit from Washington linebacker Donald Butler sidelined him late in the first half. UCLA also committed five turnovers, including two fumbles by tailback Johnathan Franklin, while Locker's interception was the Huskies' only turnover.
Locker drove the Huskies from the 11 to midfield in the final 4 1/2 minutes. When Kearse and cornerback Sheldon Price battled for a pass down the sideline, Kearse apparently tipped the ball in the air - and Moore, the NCAA co-leader in interceptions entering the game, scooted over to grab it for his eighth interception.
Chane Moline rushed for an early score for UCLA, and Nelson Rosario had seven catches for 111 yards.
Chris Polk rushed for 132 yards for Washington, which hasn't won at UCLA since 1995.
Butler got a personal foul for the head-to-head hit on Prince as the quarterback slid to the turf. Prince remained prone for a few minutes before walking gingerly to the sideline, and UCLA linemen Mike Harris and Jeff Baca angrily screamed across the field at Butler.
Prince watched the second half from the sideline, still wearing his uniform. Before his injury, he managed to maintain the strong play from the long-struggling UCLA offense's dynamic fourth quarter in a narrow loss to Oregon State last week.
UCLA moved 88 yards on its opening drive against the Huskies, with Prince going 6 for 7 - including his 1-yard TD pass to Cory Harkey on fourth down.
UCLA made another 80-yard drive following Kearse's first TD catch, but Folk's third field goal put Washington up 16-14 midway through the second quarter. Prince was injured shortly afterward, and after backup Richard Brehaut fumbled on his first drive, Craft took over.
After Franklin's second fumble early in the second half, Kearse made another difficult TD grab. Austin kept the Bruins close with his own remarkable TD catch, deflecting a pass into the air while diving near the goal line, then rolling over and catching it.
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