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November 1, 2009
Bruins make it close
Mercifully the month of October is over for the Bruins. UCLA entered into October play with a sparkling 3-0 record and hopes that this young team could pull off a miracle season, but that was not to be as the Bruins ended up losing five straight conference games.
Though this has been a very tough time for the Bruins, only the Cal game seemed out of reach and even in that game the Bruins were marching, but lack of execution and couple of dropped passes led to a Cal linebacker Mychal Kendricks pick for six to put the game away, but even in that game this young football did not quit.
It would be easy to quit with the score 19-3 in the fourth quarter on the road and you are sitting at 0-4 and soon to go 0-5, but this team did not quit.
What UCLA did is stage a comeback that may finally be the light at the end of the tunnel. The Bruins still lost the game and they still went 0 for October, but the offensive firepower Bruins fans have been clamoring for showed up in the fourth quarter.
On UCLA's first possession of the fourth quarter the Bruins started play on their own 30 yard line. They picked up a quick first down and UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince launched one downfield that allowed wide receiver Nelson Rosario to make a terrific one-handed grab and then Rosario raced 58 yards for a touchdown.
The Bruins went for two and again Prince went to Rosario and the Bruins were successful to make the score 19-11.
UCLA's defense put together a three and out, but Oregon State gets an outstanding 56 yard punt by Johnny Hekker pinning the Bruins back on their own six yard line with 8:30 left to play.
Prince hits tight end Logan Paulsen for a 22 yard gain that gave the Bruins a first down and much needed breathing room. It appeared that UCLA's drive stalled at their 36 yard forcing a punt, but Oregon State was called for 12 men on the field giving the Bruins an automatic first down giving new life to the UCLA drive.
The Bruins once again opened the playbook and Prince hit Rosario for 45 yards to the Oregon State four-yard line.
Prince was sacked on the very next play and it looked like UCLA's red zone woes that have plagued them all year would once again raise its ugly head, but this offense looked a little different than the one that had been struggling all season long.
This offense was playing with confidence and it looked like the light was turning on for the redshirt freshman quarterback.
On fourth and goal from the Beaver seven yard line Prince threw a strike to sophomore Taylor Embree for a touchdown making the score 19-17.
Prince hit redshirt freshman running back Johnathan Franklin who made a tackler miss and made it to the end zone to tie the score 19-19.
Now it would be up to the defense to get the ball back or at least hold them off so the game could go into overtime.
On first down at the Oregon State 30 yard line, Alterraun Verner jumped a route and came within an eyelash of picking off Beaver quarterback Sean Canfield and taking it to the house for what would be a school record four picks for six but like many chances in October, it was not to be, as the ball harmlessly fell to the ground.
On the very next play Canfield went to the source of good things for the Beavers and hit Jacquizz Rodgers for 22 yards.
Against offenses as good as Oregon State's you don't get many second chances and the Beavers ended up marching down the field culminating in a James Rodgers 17 yard touchdown on a reverse making the score 26-19.
Did the Bruins have one more miracle in their pocket?
With 44 seconds left on the clock the Bruins start play on their own 24 yard line. Prince hit Embree for 26 yards getting the ball to 50 yard line. Prince is able to hit Rosario twice in a row as the time is winding down getting the ball to the Beaver 27 with second left on the clock the Beavers were able to put some heat on Prince and he was hit as he threw the ball still Embree came up with the ball but time had run out.
The Bruins ended up on the Oregon State 15 yard line when play ended.
Now the Bruins enter a new month and the question is, can they put the month of October behind them, and take the momentum of the fourth quarter of the Oregon State game into the month of November?
If they can then the Bruins will have an opportunity to close out the season on strong note as they build the program for the future.
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