Bruins running back Johnathan Franklin dives toward the pylon to score… (William Mancebo / Getty…)
UCLA 44, Washington State36 (final)
Now I feel bad about saying Washington State had little talent.
That was a cheap shot born of frustration because of undisciplined play by both sides and officiating that was losing control of the game.
The Cougars do have some talent, and it’s giving the kind of effort that will probably save the team from a post-game Mike Leach rant.
Note: we did say probably.
At the end it was a one possession game.
The Cougars passed for 456 yards and outgained UCLA in total offense by 193 yards.
Washington State’s last touchdown came on three-yard pass from Connor Halliday Kristoff Williams, which was followed by a two-point conversion pass from Halliday to Dominique Williams.
Unfortunately for the Cougars, they couldn’t come up with the onside kick and UCLA ran out the clock.
Next up for the Bruins: USC at the Rose Bowl.
UCLA 44, Washington State 28 (6:25 left in fourth quarter)
If USC receivers are watching this game they have to be licking their chops.
Washington State quarterbacks Jeff Tuel and Connor Halliday have combined to pass for 375 yards against UCLA – this on a day when the Cougars’ top receiver quit the team.
It still doesn’t look like the Bruins are really in any danger of losing this game, but Washington State keeps trying to make it interesting.
On the kickoff after Halliday connected with Dominique Williams on an 11-yard scoring pass, the Cougars came up with a turnover.
UCLA’s Kenneth Walker coughed up the football and Cyrus Coen covered it for Washington State.
That gave the Cougars the ball at UCLA’s 27-yard line.
But on the second play from scrimmage Halliday was rushed and threw up a floater over the middle of the end zone, where it was intercepted by Andrew Abbott.
UCLA 44, Washington State 21 (50 seconds left in third quarter)
There’s just no quit in these Cougars.
Not much talent in them, either, but saying any more than that at this point would be a low blow.
Washington State gains an average of less than 30 yards a game by running the ball, but the Cougars did pretty well on the ground in a seven-play, 85-yard scoring drive.
Forty-six of the yards came on runs. However, the touchdown came on a four-yard pass from Connor Halliday to Marcus Mason.
Hey, Washington State just won the third quarter, 14-7.
UCLA 44, Washington State 14 (4:10 left in third quarter)
We were kind of hoping that both teams would control themselves, the officials would let the boys play a little and this second half would roll to a expedited conclusion.
No such luck.
UCLA scored on a two-yard run that turned into a circus.
Jordan James crossed the goal line standing up, but was knocked back to about the one-yard line as the officials blew their whistles, signaling that the play was over.
Unfortunately, Cougars defender Daniel Simmons –- who knows, perhaps hard of hearing –- chose at that point to try to grab one of James’ legs and flip him on his side.
Which, of course, James just couldn’t let go.
No, he had to retaliate by going up to Simmons and shoving him -– meaning that Washington State’s unsportsmanlike penalty was nullified by UCLA’s unsportsmanlike penalty.
Fortunately for us television viewers, we missed the conversion kick. There were two different personal fouls called on Washington State on that play.
UCLA 37, Washington State 14 (7:05 left in third quarter)
Big news: Brett Hundley threw a pass that hit the turf.
Don’t snicker. At this point, that’s a legitimate statistic.
Hundley completed 11 of 13 passes in the first half, and one of his incomplete passes was actually caught -- by Washington State for an interception.
This most recent incomplete pass prompted a punt that ended UCLA’s first possession of the second half.
And now this: Washington State just converted on a third-down play.
Also a legitimate statistic!
Consider this: The Cougars were 0 for 10 on third downs in the first half.
We’ve got some trend-busters here, so stay tuned.
And now this: Washington State has converted on a fourth-and-six play. But, as if to remind us we were still watching the Cougars, the snap from center on the next play was dribbled back to quarterback Connor Halliday, who picked up the ball and chucked it to a player in the flat, who took a helmet-to-helmet hit by a UCLA defender.
UCLA, which is right up there with USC among the most penalized teams in major college football, has been penalized seven times for 93 yards.
On the next play, Halliday connected with Brett Bartolone on a fade route to the back corner of the end zone, a seven-yard scoring play.
More big news: Washington State actually got a kick past scrimmage and it went through the uprights for the extra point.
UCLA 37, Washington State 7 (1:18 left in first half)
The Cougars are in self-destruction mode.