UCLA practiced a fake spike last week, never imagining that it would cap off the biggest comeback in school history.
Josh Rosen faked the spike and threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Lasley with 43 seconds remaining and UCLA overcame a 34-point deficit to stun Texas A&M 45-44 on Sunday night.
“How many seconds were left when we did it? 40? That’s when we thought of it. Not before then,” UCLA offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said.
Rosen went 35-for-59 for 491 yards and four fourth-quarter touchdowns, and Jalen Starks and Soso Jamabo had scoring runs for the Bruins in the opener for both teams.
UCLA overcame a deficit of more than 20 points for the first time since overcoming a 22-0 hole in the first quarter of the 2005 Sun Bowl against Northwestern.
Rosen threw for 292 yards and the four scoring passes in the final 15 minutes to overcome a 27-point margin.
“My career at UCLA, we’ve had a lot of times where the chips didn’t fall in our favor, and I think it’s time that finally it did,” Rosen said.
UCLA scored touchdowns on five straight possessions after trailing 44-10 with 4:08 to play in the third quarter. Rosen threw touchdown passes of 9 and 42 yards to Darren Andrews before finding Theo Howard for a 16-yard score on a broken play with 3:08 remaining.
UCLA got the ball back with 2:39 to go and drove 66 yards in 10 plays, including an 11-yard throw and catch to tight end Caleb Wilson. Rosen capped the remarkable comeback with a fade to the far corner of the end zone after faking the spike to freeze the defense. JJ Molson kicked the winning extra point.
The intent of the fake was to catch Texas A&M off-guard, but the Aggies were already discombobulated by a series of breakdowns that had allowed UCLA back into the game.
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SOURCE: USA Today, The Associated Press