Pasadena, Calif—-South Alabama (2-1) almost pulled off an upset Saturday afternoon, the Jaguars held an eight-point advantage heading into the fourth quarter, but the Bruins’ (3-0) Nicholas Barr-Mira’s 24-yard field goal as time expired gave the Bruins a 32-31 victory at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
Leading by a two-point lead with just under three minutes left in the game, South Alabama decided to go for it after initially lining up for a 39-yard field goal attempt, the Bruins came up with a huge sack and took over possession. The Bruins took over with 2:52 remaining at the 33-yard line and went 61 yards in 10 plays. Barr-Mira’s field goal sealed the game.
“We had talked all week long about some type of trickeration. Sometimes that happens when you have Group of Fives playing Power Fives,” Kelly said. “I thought that our guys did a really good job of defending it. I saw Carl (Jones Jr.) coming off the edge, and then it was really a big play by our defense when we needed one.”
UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson was 20-of-30 and threw for 263 and three touchdowns. Robinson put on a clinic in the second half with his pinpoint accuracy.
“We work on it everyday, the two-minute clutch. We’re pretty good at it now having done it so much, it’s a normal Wednesday’s practice for us,” said Thompson-Robinson,
South Alabama rushed for 162 yards, led by La’Damian Webb’s career-high 124 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown. Webb had a long of 47 yards and also had 42 yards receiving on six receptions for 171 yards of total offense and Carter Bradley passed for 237 yards and two scores an interception for the Jaguars, which was looking to become the fourth Sun Belt Conference team in two weeks to beat a Power Five program.
Bradley completed 26 of 36 passes, including a 4-yard TD to Caullin Lacy late in the third quarter to put the Jaguars up 31-23 late in the third quarter.
Defensively for the Jags, Jalen Jordan had a team-best seven tackles – five solo, while Jaden Voisin had six and three other players recorded five apiece, including James Miller, who added a tackle for loss.
Jones was surprised that the Jaguars would take that risk with the game on the line, but adjusted his position on the line to get a better path to the quarterback. Coach Kane Wommack just rolled the dice and lost.
Holder and third-string quarterback Tanner McGee shifted into a shotgun formation, but he couldn’t find an open receiver and was sacked for an 11-yard loss by Carl Jones Jr.
“My eyes lit up when they hiked it and number 10 was looking for somebody to pass the ball to,” he said. “The only thing that was on my mind was ‘go get him.’ This could be a chance to change the game, and that’s what happened, we changed the game.”
Wommack said his reasoning for going for the late fake was he wasn’t comfortable giving UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson a chance to drive down the field with that much time left and only a five-point advantage.
“I thought we needed to go up two scores against a quarterback like this,” Wommack said. “They adjusted well to it. We thought we had them right there. It would have been nice to get that one and ice the game.”
Dorian Thompson-Robinson completed a pair of passes to Titus Mokiao-Atimalala to get the Bruins into South Alabama territory. Six running plays followed, including a 3-yard gain by Zach Charbonnet to get the Bruins a first down and force the Jaguars to spend their final timeout.