You would have been forgiven for turning off Sunday night’s UCLA-Texas A&M game in the third quarter — or for changing over to Virginia Tech-West Virginia on ABC — especially after the Aggies took a 44-10 lead on a touchdown with 4:08 to play in the period. Up until that point, Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen had been battered by Texas A&M’s pass rush, which had few problems with UCLA’s still-leaky offensive line and sacked Rosen three times. The Aggies’ offense, meanwhile, was mostly unstoppable on its way to five rushing touchdowns.
Only three quarters into the season and coming off a 4-8 campaign, the Bruins’ season had seemingly gone up in flames, an inferno fed by Coach Jim Mora Jr.’s increasingly flammable seat.
So of course UCLA scored touchdowns on five straight possessions and won, 45-44, with the winning points coming on a fake-spike touchdown pass from Rosen to Jordan Lasley with 43 seconds left.
ESPN Stats & Info tried to put the comeback into some sort of perspective, as hard as that might be.
The best part about UCLA’s fake-spike game-winner is that the Bruins actually practiced the play in the run-up to the game, though first-year offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch admitted afterward that the decision to call the play was entirely spur-of-the-incredibly-surreal-moment.
“Breaking in a new offense, took a little time to get rolling. It’s a unique way to start off with a new OC and a new relationship, but I’m happy how it went,” Rosen said, via ESPN.
“The chips just fell in our favor tonight.”
The flames on Mora’s seat weren’t exactly extinguished: They just leapt over to Texas A&M Coach Kevin Sumlin, who knows this season is crucial because Texas A&M Athletic Director Scott Woodward said exactly that over the summer (on national television, no less).
“Last year was extremely disappointing,” Woodward said of the Aggies’ third straight 8-5 campaign. “We were as highly ranked as [No. 4] and got up there and played very well, hard competitive games and fell off like we’ve been doing. And we were very disappointed, very disappointed as a program, both Coach and I, and I just want to make darn sure we’re going to get it right. We’ve had a heck of a spring, recruiting is going well but coach knows he has to win and win this year and we have to do better than we’ve done in the past.”
But Tony Buzbee, a Texas-based attorney and member of the A&M Board of Regents, didn’t beat around the bush in a Facebook post written soon after Sunday night’s loss. He wants Sumlin out:
I’m sure I may be criticized for this post but I honestly don’t care. I’ve been on the Board of Regents for the A&M System for almost seven years. During that time, I’ve not once commented on Kevin Sumlin and his performance during his tenure at our school. I never said a word when he and his agent manipulated a much bigger and longer contract. I said nothing about his arrogance and his mishandling of multiple player controversies. I said nothing when we had multiple awesome recruiting classes, only to see key players leave our school or underperform. But tonight I am very disappointed and I have to say this. Kevin Sumlin was out-coached tonight, which isn’t new. He recruits well, but can’t coach the big games, or the close games. Our players were better tonight. Our players were more talented tonight. But our coaches were dominated on national TV, yet again. I’m only one vote on the Board of Regents but when the time comes my vote will be that Kevin Sumlin needs to GO. In my view he should go now. We owe it to our school and our players. We can do better.
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In case that wasn’t clear enough, Buzbee used one of his 43 all-time tweets to send a similar message.
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