Washington State Cougars pulls off the upset win in Los Angeles after coming from behind late in the fourth quarter to defeat the #19 UCLA Bruins 31-27 to improve to 7-3 on the season and continue to be in contention to win the Pac-12 North following Oregon defeating Stanford just before the kick off of this game.
Luke Falk was the player of the game for the Cougars after he went 38 for 53 for 331 yards, two touchdowns and an interception after coming off late in the second half with fears of a concussion after being sacked by Jacob Tuioti-Mariner. He broke Washington State’s single season record with the late touchdown pass that was his 35th of the season and now sits just seven back of the single season NCAA record of 42 with two games left this season.
Josh Rosen gave Falk a run for his money going 33 for 57 for 340 yards and rushed for 70 yards and a touchdown while UCLA won the road game rushing for 214 yards including Paul Perkins who rushed for 121 of those yards on 20 carries.
In the first half UCLA managed to get on the board first with a field goal on the Bruins opening drive after Washington State’s defense came up with a big stop as UCLA drove all the way down to the Cougars four before getting stopped. Washington State then responded with a touchdown on a 12 play 75 yard drive that Gerard Wicks managed to run in from the UCLA two yard line to give The Cougars a 7-3 lead.
After going down UCLA once again drove down the field, all the way to the Washington State two yard line before letting the Cougars defense drive them back once again and settle with just a field goal to make it 7-6 to finish up the first quarter.
As both sides traded punts back and forth the Bruins finally put some plays together and drove the ball 94 yards behind Paul Perkins rushing game that was eventually ran in by Nate Starks who went 14 yards to put UCLA up 7-13 late in the second half.
On the following drive is when Falk had to leave the game to be tested for a concussion in order to follow the NCAA’s concussion protocol after taking a hard hit on a sack by Tuioti-Mariner with 2:45 left before half. Peyton Bender had to come on 3rd and 20 and threw an incompletion.
On the ensuing punt, Washington State was given a gift with 2:07 left in the second quarter when the replay official and referee both came to the conclusion that Ishmael Adams had fumbled the ball on the UCLA 14 yard line, after the initial ruling on the field was Adams was down. The replay didn’t appear to be conclusive but somehow it was overturned. The Cougars would go on to take just 37 seconds to find the end zone as Bender found Dom Williams on the 7 yard slant pass to the corner of the end zone to go up 14-13 with 1:30 left in the half.
UCLA went on to get a 38 yard field goal by Ka'imi Fairbairn to help the Bruins retake the lead 14-16 going into half time. Before this game Jim Mora Jr and UCLA were 31-0 when leading at half time, a streak that was broken in this game.
Washington State came out in the second half and stopped the Bruins initial drive, the Cougars took over at the UCLA 47 yard line and took just 11 plays for Falk to find Gabe Marks on a four yard pass in the end zone to give the Cougars the lead once again 21-16 this time. The catch was Marks 197th career reception to set a new school record for the most receptions all time and the touchdown was Falk’s 34th of the season to tie the school record for most touchdown passes in a season.
Both sides would go on to get a field goal and make it 24-19 with 7:10 left in the fourth quarter.
The Cougars were in a perfect time wasting drive to wrap up the game and were on the UCLA 23 when head coach Mike Leach once again went for a passing play on 1st and 10 for a shot to the end zone where Falk was intercepted on an out route right at the pylon as Jaleel Wadood scooped up the ball to cause the touch back and give Rosen a chance with 3:06 left to drive the ball.
Washington State’s defense couldn’t hold on this time and Rosen drove his team the 80 yards and ran it 37 yards to the end zone to give the Bruins a 24-25 lead, they went for two and Rosen got it to Thomas Duarte to get the two point conversion and make it 24-27 with 1:09 left in the game.
But UCLA left much time on the clock for Falk and company as he drove his team 75 yards on 7 plays in 1:06 seconds and found Marks on the 21 yard pass down the middle in the heart of the end zone to recapture the lead 31-27 with three seconds left. The pass was Falk's 35th of the season to set a new Washington State record.
Washington State head home to take on Colorado Buffaloes next weekend, a game that will be on ESPN 2 and start at 10:45 pm EST.
UCLA will head off to Salt Lake and take on #10 Utah Utes.