PASADENA—The cruelest of losses occurred Saturday, September 24, as the UCLA Bruins dropped a 22-13 decision to the Stanford Cardinal, for the ninth consecutive loss to their bay area rivals. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside caught the game winning touchdown pass with 24 seconds left in the contest for the win. This leaves UCLA at a 2-2 record with a daunting schedule ahead.
Victory seemed possible for most of the evening, a familiar 13-9 score signaled a good omen late in the fourth quarter, (a final score of legend over USC of yesteryear), and the defense playing better than any defense the university has ever seen. And still to come up empty handed was extremely disappointing to the Rose Bowl faithful, with 70,833 strong. Pasadena resident Larry Sering said after the game that “this is the most painful game I’ve ever watched, and I’ve been faithful to this team since the 70’s.” Indeed, it did feel like the air had been taken out of the Rose Bowl.
UCLA QB Josh Rosen wasn’t perfect, throwing for 248 yards and a TD, but played well even though dropped balls were the order of the evening. The talent level drop off at wide receiver is quite pronounced this year. The offense was quite conservative and could have been a bit more aggressive, however, they were poised to upset the No. 7 team in the nation with less than a minute left in the game. Through the tears and pain, good job fighting with everything you have. It was almost enough.
The defense was terrific, holding Heisman hopeful Christian McCaffrey to 138 yards on the ground, and did not reach the end zone. The Bruins have lost the last nine games against Stanford.
“That’s about as difficult as it gets,” said UCLA Head Coach Jim Mora. Adding, “It stings when you lose like that, and played so courageously, against a really good team.”
UCLA faces the University of Arizona on Saturday, October 1, at 7:30 p.m.