Riding a two-game losing streak, UCLA, through 28 minutes, was very much looking like a team that had no intention of making it three in a row. The last two minutes, though, show there’s still some work to do.
With two quarters in the books, UCLA is dominating Cal in every facet of the game but still takes “just” a 26-10 lead into halftime. UCLA came into the Pac-12 matchup having lost two in a row, to Arizona State and Stanford, by a combined 36 points.
While Cal opened the scoring on a field goal early in the first, UCLA proceeded to rip off the next 23 points. The Bears, though, head-scratchingly gift-wrapped the final three points for the Bruins.
Trailing 20-3 with just under six minutes remaining in the second and facing a fourth-and-10 from their own 25-yard line, Cal inexplicably attempted a fake punt. Once the laughter from the Bruins’ punt return unit subsided and they regained their bearings, Bears punter Harry Adolphus was stopped for a four-yard gain to turn the ball back over to the Bruins.
Cal dodged what could’ve been a significant bullet, however, as UCLA couldn’t punch it in from the three on three plays and had to settle for a 20-yard Ka’imi Fairbairn field goal. On the ensuing possession, the Bears marched 75 yards down the field and cut the lead to 23-10 with just under a minute remaining on a Jared Goff one-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Lawler.
The Bruins weren’t done, however, as Fairbairn kicked a school-record 60-yard field goal as time ran out in the quarter. It was Fairbairn’s fourth field goal of the half.
The Bruins produced 357 yards of offense, while the defense held the normally high-powered Bears to just 170. True freshman Josh Rosen accounted for 238 of the Bruins’ yardage through the air, and provided both Bruin touchdowns in the half.
One thing to keep an eye on in the second half is the health of Paul Perkins. The star UCLA running back sustained an injury to his left knee late in the second quarter and didn’t return to the contest. His availability for the remainder of the game is unknown.