UCLA rallied from a 32-point, second-half deficit behind 564 total yards and seven total touchdowns from quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson to beat No. 19 Washington State 67-63 on Saturday night in Pullman, Wa.
The Bruins (1-3, 1-0 Pac-12) fell behind 49-17 at the 6:52 mark of the third quarter on the seventh of Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon’s program-record nine touchdown passes. That set the scene for an incredible flurry that saw UCLA take the lead, relinquish it, then regain it for good in the final minutes.
Thompson-Robinson kicked off the comeback with a goal-line touchdown run at 3:48. After a fumble — the first of four by the Cougars in the second half — Thompson-Robinson found wide receiver Chase Cota on a 37-yard scoring strike on the next snap, the Bruins’ second touchdown in 15 seconds of game clock. Cota finished with 147 yards receiving.
UCLA quickly regained possession, and Thompson-Robinson connected with wide receiver Demetric Felton on a 94-yard touchdown on the first play, making it 49-38 with 1:21 left in the third. Felton caught two scores, including the game-winner on a third-and-long with 1:07 remaining in regulation.
A 7-yard touchdown pass to tight end Devin Asiasi capped the four-score rally, which spanned just 4:20 of game clock. The score brought UCLA within 49-46 with 14:28 to play, and a fourth-quarter shootout was on.
Washington State (3-1, 0-1) went back ahead by 10 points on Gordon’s record-setting eighth touchdown pass, a 33-yarder to Easop Winston Jr. at 10:08, but the cushion didn’t last long. Thompson-Robinson rushed for a 3-yard score, then Kyle Philips had the first punt return for a touchdown by a UCLA player since Maurice Jones-Drew in 2005, going 69 yards at 7:31 of the fourth.
Philips’ run-back was the second UCLA special teams score of the night — Felton took a kickoff 100 yards to the end zone in the first half — and it gave the Bruins their first lead since 10-7 in the first quarter.
Gordon threw his ninth touchdown pass — a 65-yarder to running back Max Borghi, who also rushed for 123 yards — and a fourth-down stop on the ensuing UCLA possession seemed to set up Washington State for the win.
However, on a night he caught four touchdown passes, Winston coughed up a costly fumble that turned into Thompson-Robinson’s winning pass to Felton. Washington State’s last-gasp effort ended when Keisean Lucier-South delivered a blind-side hit on Gordon to force the Cougars’ fourth second-half fumble inside the final minute.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew set the previous Washington State record of seven touchdown passes last season vs. Arizona. He was in attendance at Martin Stadium on Saturday.
UCLA’s 17 first-half points surpassed the Bruins’ point total in any of their first three games, and their 67 points were 25 more than their first three games combined.
—Field Level Media