Bruins narrowly lose back-and-forth battle in double overtime against Cardinal
Graduate transfer running back Brittain Brown was stopped on the game’s final play but still finished the game with 219 yards on 29 carries in UCLA football’s loss to Stanford. Brown replaced the usual starter redshirt senior running back Demetric Felton who did not play in the game. (Tanmay Shankar/Daily Bruin senior staff)
By Jack Perez
Dec. 19, 2020 8:19 p.m.
This post was updated Dec. 19 at 8:57 p.m.
The game came down to one play in the second extra period.
Without their starting quarterback, running back and center, the Bruins went for two – and came up a yard short.
UCLA football (3-4) fell to Stanford (4-2) 48-47 in double overtime at the Rose Bowl – the Bruins’ first overtime game since 2016. This was the final game for either team this year after both previously opted out of accepting a bowl invitation.
The Bruins outscored the Cardinal 44-28 in the second half and overtime, completing a 17-point comeback before Stanford came back to force the extra period. UCLA converted on 4th and 18 to put it within a point in the second overtime but failed on the two-point conversion attempt to give Stanford the win.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Chase Griffin said the rest of the offense helped make the touchdown possible, even if it did not end up resulting in a victory.
“I just wanted to hold the safety, and I worked to my shield,” Griffin said. “Also, our receivers did a great job getting open and up front. They gave me a little escape hatch to get out and scramble. (Redshirt sophomore wide receiver) Kyle (Philips) did a great job of getting past the defender and made a spectacular catch.”
Graduate transfer running back Brittain Brown was given the ball from a few yards out but was stuffed by Stanford’s defense to end both the contest and 2020 season for UCLA.
In the first overtime, both teams scored touchdowns but elected to kick extra points. Coach Chip Kelly made the opposite decision the second time around, making the last play a winner-take-all scenario between the Bruin offense and Cardinal defense, and the Bruin offense lost.
Kelly said he wanted to go for the win because he was running out of healthy players to choose from.
“I didn’t know how much longer we could continue to go, so we’re going to take a shot from the three,” Kelly said. “We threw it on the first one and there was obviously a penalty, holding, so we had to replay it and went to our second two-point play.”
A late fumble in regulation from Griffin gave Stanford the ball back with under two minutes and a seven-point deficit. The Cardinal capitalized by scoring a touchdown with 18 seconds remaining to tie the game.
Griffin took over after junior quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson left the game late in the second quarter with a right knee injury. The backup led the Bruins to three straight touchdown drives to start the second half and take the lead following a 20-3 halftime deficit.
Griffin started two games earlier this season and finished the night going 9-of-11 for 127 yards and four touchdowns. He found redshirt sophomore tight end Greg Dulcich twice, Philips once and junior wide receiver Chase Cota once for his four touchdown passes.
Another backup – Brown – ran for 219 yards on 29 carries. Redshirt senior running back Demetric Felton did not play at all in his final game as a Bruin, leaving Brown the majority of the rushing load.
Kelly credited Brown and others for picking up where the injured starters left off, but a few plays early on dug the Bruins into an early hole.
“Everybody else deals with injuries in this league and no one feels sorry for you, so we’re not feeling sorry for ourselves,” Kelly said. “We moved the ball well in the first half but we had a couple of key penalties that just put us way behind the sticks.”
After giving up 20 points in the first half, UCLA’s defense shut Stanford’s offense out in the third quarter and scored on an interception return touchdown with 5:39 left in the game to extend the lead to 14 and roll off 31 unanswered points to that point.
The Bruin defense did something no other unit has done in 2020 – pick off Cardinal quarterback Davis Mills. Not only did UCLA do that once, but it accomplished the feat three times in the second half, halting Stanford from gaining any momentum.
Redshirt junior defensive back Mo Osling III had seven tackles and an interception and said despite the final score, the defense performed well.
“I think the defense played great tonight, starting from the line to the linebackers to the DBs,” Osling said. “We came up with three turnovers, so that was an amazing accomplishment.”
Stanford has not lost in Pasadena against UCLA since 2008 and will see that streak continue into next season.