UCLA Rallies for Last-Minute Win Over South Alabama, 32-31
PASADENA, CALIF. – Nicholas Barr-Mira kicked a 24-yard field goal as time expired to lead UCLA to a 32-31 comeback victory over South Alabama at the Rose Bowl on Saturday afternoon.
The Bruins improved to 3-0 on the season with the result, while South Alabama dropped to 2-1.
Redshirt senior wide receiver Jake Bobo paced the Bruins offensively, making five catches for 89 yards and a touchdown, his first as a Bruin. Logan Loya and Kam Brown both had touchdown receptions as well, as UCLA redshirt senior quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson finished with 263 yards passing and three touchdowns.
UCLA found itself down 31-23 at the end of the third quarter after a pair of South Alabama touchdowns in under a minute but closed the gap at the top of the fourth quarter with an eight-yard touchdown pass from Dorian Thompson-Robinson to Logan Loya on fourth down. Thompson-Robinson's two-point conversion rushing attempt fell just short, however, keeping South Alabama ahead, 31-29, with 12:25 remaining in the game.
The Bruins appeared to get an important third-down stop on third and seven with five minutes to play, but the drive was extended due to a late hit, giving the Jaguars an automatic first down. South Alabama was denied a score four plays later, however, after attempting a fake on a field goal at the UCLA 22. Tanner McGee was sacked by Carl Jones for a loss of 11 on the play, giving the Bruins the ball on the 33 with 2:52 to play. A pair of 20+-yard passes by Thompson-Robinson helped the Bruins get into field goal range for Barr-Mira's heroics.
UCLA struck first in the contest, a 38-yard field goal by Nicholas Barr-Mira following a JonJon Vaughns interception on the game's opening drive. South Alabama countered on its next drive with a one-yard touchdown run by Marco Lee. The Bruins had to settle for another field goal on their next possession, with Barr-Mira booming a career-long 49-yard kick through the uprights to close to within one, 7-6.
After a lost fumble by Zach Charbonnet at the South Alabama one-yard line, Jaguar running back La'Damian Webb capped a 12-play, 80-yard drive with a nine-yard touchdown rush to give South Alabama its largest lead of the half, 17-6. Webb had rushed for 80 yards on just seven carries in the first half and finished the game with 124 yards on 16 carries.
The Bruins found their offensive rhythm on UCLA's final drive of the first half. Thompson-Robinson connected with Jake Bobo on a 34-yard pass for UCLA's longest play of the quarter. The next play, running back Keegan Jones made a tackler miss at the line of scrimmage and broke free for a 25-yard rush to put the Bruins in the red zone. The 6-foot, 5-inch Bobo climbed the ladder for his first touchdown in a UCLA uniform a play later to cut South Alabama's lead to 17-14.
The Jaguars had 11 plays of 10-plus yards in the first half as they outgained the Bruins 250-195.
After trailing 17-13 at the half, UCLA scorched Spieker Field for 75 yards on just four plays in 1:38 seconds to claim a 20-17 lead on the first drive of the second half. A 21-yard completion to wide receiver Jake Bobo and a 20-yard rush by Charbonnet, his second 20-plus-yard gain of the afternoon, set up an 11-yard touchdown pass to Kam Brown.
On the next possession, Bruin linebacker Choé Bryant-Strother forced a fumble, which was recovered by Devin Kirkwood on the UCLA 36. The Bruins went on to score three on a Barr-Mira 28-yard field goal to move ahead, 23-17. However, South Alabama marched right back to reclaim the lead, 24-23, on an eight-play, 67-yard drive capped by a Lee eight-yard touchdown run.
The Jaguars quickly regained possession and momentum when Dorian Thompson-Robinson fumbled on the first play of the drive, with South Alabama recovering the ball on the UCLA 6. Two plays later, Carter Bradley connected with Caullin Lacy for a four-yard touchdown pass and a 31-23 Jaguar lead.
UCLA returns to action next Saturday, traveling to face Colorado in the conference-opener for both schools. The Pac-12 Networks will televise the contest, which is scheduled for an 11:00 a.m. PT kickoff.