UCLA FB Rewind: A Pair of Thrilling Comebacks
September 25, 1982 -- UCLA at Michigan
Before a crowd of over 105,000 fans at Michigan Stadium, UCLA rallied from a 21-point deficit to hand the Wolverines a 31-27 setback and record its first win ever over Michigan.
After Michigan tallied the first 21 points in the game to bolt to a commanding 21-0 lead with 9:56 left in the second quarter, UCLA quarterback Tom Ramsey righted the Bruin ship and guided UCLA to one of its greatest road comeback victories in school history. Ramsey completed 22 of 36 passes for 311 yards and two touchdowns for the game.
First, Ramsey found receiver Dokie Williams on a 46-yard scoring pass to put UCLA on the board. On the next possession, the quarterback capped off a drive with a sneak into the end zone to pull the Bruins to within a touchdown. Michigan had time to squeeze in a field goal just before the end of the half to take a 24-14 edge at the break.
Two plays into the second half, safety Don Rogers intercepted a Michigan pass. A couple of snaps later, Ramsey found JoJo Townsell for a touchdown drawing the Bruins to within three points, at 24-21. After Michigan added another field goal, a long kickoff return by Williams set up a short scoring run by Kevin Nelson and the Bruins enjoyed their first lead of the contest at 28-27.
John Lee added on a field goal to boost UCLA's lead to 31-27. The Bruins had to hold off one last Michigan drive which ended with the Wolverines on the UCLA 8 as time ran out.
Little did either team know, in the third week of that season, that they would meet once again, in the "Granddaddy OF Them All", on New Year's Day, 1983.
September 21, 2019 -- UCLA at Washington State
In a game which featured non-stop offensive fireworks -- 1,077 combined passing yards, 18 total touchdowns, 130 points, 56 first downs – it was UCLA's defense and special teams which came up with several key plays down the stretch to help the Bruins rebound from a 32-point third-quarter deficit and defeat Washington State 67-63.
With UCLA trailing 49-17 with 6:52 remaining in the third quarter, the Bruins jump-started a scoring avalanche which resulted in three touchdowns in the final four minutes of the quarter. The point parade was part of a run of seven touchdowns in eight Bruin possessions, many aided by WSU turnovers.
Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who set a school record with 564 yards of total offense on the night, ran for one touchdown (3:48 remaining in the third quarter) and threw scoring passes of 37 yards to Chase Cota (3:33 remaining), which was set up by an Elijah Gates fumble recovery, and 94 yards to Demetric Felton (1:21 remaining) to bring the Bruins within 49-38.
In the fourth quarter, Thompson-Robinson hit tight end Devin Asiasi with a 7-yard touchdown pass and then found Cota for a two-point conversion pass to pull UCLA to within 49-46 with 14:28 remaining in the game. WSU answered with a scoring pass to up their advantage to 56-46 with 10:08 left.
After Thompson-Robinson ran over from the 3, UCLA had cut WSU's lead to 56-53 with 8:10 left. The Bruin defense stiffened and forced a Washington State punt on the next possession which Kyle Philips returned 69 yards for a touchdown, putting the Bruins ahead 60-56 with 7:31 showing on the clock.
Not to be outdone, the Cougars utilized a long scoring pass to move back in front, 63-60, with 6:11 to play. The Bruins turned the ball over on downs on their next possession, but linebacker Krys Barnes ended WSU's drive by forcing a Cougar fumble and fellow linebacker Josh Woods pounced on the loose ball with 2:27 remaining in the contest. UCLA took over at the WSU 26 and four plays later Thompson-Robinson located Felton in the flat for a 15-yard catch-and-run for the go-ahead score.
After a JJ Molson touchback on the ensuing kickoff, Keisean Lucier-South's quarterback hit resulted in another fumble on Washington State's first play and Woods once again fell on the ball. The Bruins ran the final minute off the clock for their first win of the season.
Felton finished with seven catches for 150 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the day to go along with a 100-yard kickoff return. Thompson-Robinson completed 25 of 38 passing attempts for 507 yards and five touchdowns. The Bruin signal-caller added 57 yards on the ground and two more touchdowns. Barnes topped the Bruins with 10 tackles.