UCLA escapes with 32-31 win over South Alabama on game-winning field goal
That was a little too close for comfort.
The two decisive plays Saturday during UCLA’s Week 3 contest with South Alabama at home featured field goal units from both teams with two wildly different outcomes. With a 31-29 lead and the ball inside the UCLA 25-yard-line, South Alabama faked a field goal and UCLA snuffed it out to keep hope alive.
UCLA took control of the football with 2:52 on the clock, drove down to the Jaguars’ 6-yard-line, and kicked a game-winning 24-yarder as time expired to win 32-31 and secure the program’s first 3-0 start since 2015.
… 𝙏𝙊 𝙒𝙄𝙉 𝙏𝙃𝙀 𝙂𝘼𝙈𝙀.
— UCLA Football (@UCLAFootball) September 17, 2022
South Alabama head coach Kane Wommack will surely face some questions after the game. The Jags held a 31-23 lead entering the fourth quarter after a touchdown-fumble-touchdown sequence turned a six-point UCLA lead into an eight-point Bruin deficit.
The Jags took over after a UCLA three-and-out with 9:08 on the clock and that two-point lead. They then embarked on an 11-play, 57-yard drive that took more than six minutes off the clock and ended with nothing.
Facing a fourth-and-2 from the UCLA 22, South Alabama, which averaged nearly 6 yards a play on the Bruins defense, decided to try a fake field goal. They could have kicked it and potentially gone up by five points. They could have lined up and tried to get the 2 yards straight ahead after taking it to the Bruins at the line of scrimmage for much of the game.
Instead, they tried this.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING pic.twitter.com/iW05Kcbbr6
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) September 17, 2022
UCLA took over and drove for the win.
Bruin quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson finished with 263 yards and three touchdowns while completing 20 of his 30 passattempts. The connection between he and wideout Jake Bobo was on full display, as the former Duke receiver racked up 89 yards and a score on five catches. Logan Loya and Kam Brown were on the receiving end of Thompson-Robinson’s other two touchdown strikes.
Defensively, the Bruins struggled. South Alabama finished with 399 yards as the Bruins posted just one tackle for loss all day. USA running back La’Damian Webb ran for 124 yards and a score on 16 carries.
Both sides had two turnovers each.
Probably not the game UCLA hoped to have heading into Pac-12 play, but the Bruins will have a chance next week to put some things together against a Colorado team that hasn’t looked good at all to open the year. UCLA (3-0) heads to Boulder for another 11 a.m. PT kick on Sept. 24.