UCLA departed Tucson with a victory after a last minute try by Pierre Courpron and a conversion from Ben Francis, capping off a close game that UCLA nearly let slip through their fingers.
The first half ended with the score tied at 7-7 thanks to Brad Roth’s first try of his career. The period featured fragmented play from both sides (largely due to the officiating) with UCLA often trying too hard to force the offload and not hitting pay dirt after well crafted line-breaks.. The Bruins’ defense held strong for the majority of the half, holding out the Wildcats before they eventually capitalized on their momentum with a score.
The second half started with a brace from Zach Bonte, who managed to direct his frustration from the first to good use. He had two marauding runs through the Wildcats defense to establish a lead for the Bruins. Seb Sharpe ran 50 meters into the end zone after taking a hard inside line off of Pierre Courpron to extend the lead, but with only two of four conversions added, the Wildcats still remained within striking distance and they did not go down without a fight.
The crowd and momentum were on their side and they slowly started clawing the Bruins back in before finally taking the lead through a dubious penalty try with six minutes to go. UCLA then re-focussed and proceeded to maintain possession for the next three minutes and after time had expired, put together phase after phase of old school grind before Courpron touched the ball down in the try-zone. Francis then slotted the pressure conversion from the left-hand touchline into a strong wind to give the Bruins a 31-29 victory on the road.
UCLA now sit in 2nd place in PAC Conference play behind California and head to Tempe next weekend to face the highly rated and talented Arizona State Sun Devils. Full preview to follow.