The Bruins’ potent offense managed to squeeze out a win and take the victory at the Rose Bowl despite the Huskies’ late-game comeback.
On Friday night, No. 15 Washington (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) was defeated by 5-0, 2-0 UCLA football (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12), fighting off a strong comeback attempt to win 40-32. At the outset of the fourth quarter, the Bruins were up 40-16, but in the closing minutes, that advantage had shrunk to just eight points.
Once the Huskies had used all of their timeouts, it took a third down pass from quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson to tight end Hudson Habermehl to put the game away and keep the clock running, adding to the QB’s outstanding performance. The Bruins didn’t punt until there were less than eight minutes left in the fourth quarter, with Thompson-Robinson leading the assault.
Thompson-Robinson completed 24-of-33 passes for 315 yards and three touchdowns while also gaining 53 additional yards and another score on the run. Jake Bobo, a Duke transfer receiver who recorded six receptions for 142 yards and two touchdowns—both career highs—was Thompson-preferred Robinson’s target on Friday.
Zach Charbonnet, a running back, contributed almost as much, gaining 124 yards and a touchdown on 22 attempts. UCLA had a play average of 6.9 yards on the night, and they required all 499 of those yards to secure the victory.
The Huskies nearly got back into the game before the Bruins’ defense, which peaked in the first half, had its ups and downs.
UCLA’s defense shut down Washington for the remainder of the half after they scored a touchdown on their opening possession of the game. Between their early touchdown until the halfway mark of the game, the Huskies averaged just 2.56 yards per play, with their drives ending in field goals, safetys, two interceptions, and punts.
The Bruins were given extra field position because of their defense’s improvement and a kick return by Kazmeir Allen that would have resulted in a score but for a tripping call in an open area. UCLA’s drives, however, ended at the 3, 6, and 16-yard lines for Washington, and they only scored three points on those three possessions.
Due to pressure, Thompson-Robinson had to toss the ball away on one of those drives, while Charbonnet was stopped at the line on the other, both of which resulted in failed 4th-and-short conversions.
The Bruins were in position to receive the kick on the other side of the halftime break and were still in the lead, 26-10, despite their inability to convert.
And as soon as they were out on the field, UCLA’s attack was unstoppable.
Although the Bruins only ran 13 plays in the third quarter, they finally led 40-16 after stringing together two lengthy touchdown drives. On their lone drive of the period, the Huskies scored a touchdown, but they failed a two-point conversion try that would have made it a two-score game.
Even so, Washington started the fourth quarter with a touchdown drive and actually made their second attempt at the two-point conversion, but there were only 12 minutes left on the clock. Following UCLA’s lone punt of the game, they gained possession again and marched 93 yards for an additional eight points.
With fewer than four minutes left, the Huskies’ attempt at a comeback was genuine, and they had all the momentum in the world. Thompson-Robinson gained two first downs on the ground and one through passing for the Bruins, who drained the clock for the whole period.
With the help of Thompson-crucial Robinson’s play, UCLA triumphed against a ranked opponent for the first time on Friday. The Bruins have an eight-game winning run going back to the conclusion of the 2021 season, and they are now 5-0 on the year.
Before playing No. 12 Utah in the Rose Bowl on Oct. 8, UCLA will have eight days off. If the Bruins rise in the polls as a result of their shocking victory on Friday, this could be a high-profile ranked clash.