UCLA 29, No. 20 Arizona St. 28
PASADENA, Calif. (AP)
When Alex Garoutte's last-ditch field-goal attempt for Arizona State fluttered and fell short on the Rose Bowl grass, UCLA rushed off the sideline and danced on the field, eventually taking the party into the locker room.
Two weeks after the Bruins' season and Rick Neuheisel's coaching tenure both appeared finished, they got the chance to dance - and the Pac-12 South got some improbable new leaders.
Derrick Coleman scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 1-yard run with 49 seconds to play, and Garoutte missed a 46-yard kick as time expired in the Bruins' 29-28 victory over the No. 20 Sun Devils on Saturday night.
UCLA (5-4, 4-2 Pac-12) embarrassed itself on national television two weeks ago with a 36-point loss at Arizona. Instead of folding, the Bruins responded with their first back-to-back victories since early last season, capped by the biggest conference victory of Neuheisel's four years and a rare celebration in his mostly dour tenure.
''Young people, they enjoy it. Old people enjoy it,'' Neuheisel said. ''They break into dance, so I break into it with them. I'm embarrassed to say I have very little rhythm, but being around those kids makes you feel young again.''
But the game was enough to make any coaches or fans old before their time.
Arizona State (6-3, 4-2) rallied from a nine-point deficit in the second half, and the lead changed hands twice in the final 8 minutes. Coleman's dive capped a perilous 79-yard drive featuring a fumble by Coleman, an offensive pass-interference penalty and a third-and-29 conversion by the Bruins.
''This is the kind of win I've been waiting for my whole life,'' said Coleman, who rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns. ''This is what you play football for.''
Brock Osweiler passed for 264 yards and two touchdowns while rallying the Sun Devils, capping a 93-yard drive with a go-ahead TD dive with 7:48 left. He then moved the Sun Devils 47 yards in 38 seconds during the final minute with major help from a pass-interference penalty to set up Garoutte's final attempt.
The freshman pushed it wide right - his third miss of the night, and his second in the final 6 minutes. The Bruins improbably pushed their way into first place with three games to play.
''We hurt ourselves and killed ourselves more than they stopped us, and it starts with me,'' said Osweiler, who went 22 for 38. ''I missed a few reads. ... Alex has a big leg. My goal was to get him to 50 yards. At least we gave him a shot.''
The loss was another head-scratcher for Arizona State, which has been a model of inconsistency during coach Dennis Erickson's tenure. The Sun Devils outgained UCLA by 49 yards and didn't commit a turnover, but they've lost the tiebreaker advantage in the Pac-12 South standings - although Cal is the toughest opponent among their final three, while UCLA still must play Utah and Southern California.
That didn't make the loss any easier to take.
''It's a gut-wrenching loss for this football team,'' Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson said. ''You have to give UCLA credit, but we had so many opportunities in the second half to either put it away or win it.''
Cameron Marshall rushed for a season-high 168 yards and a touchdown for the Sun Devils, who fell behind 23-14 on Kevin Prince's 76-yard TD pass to Nelson Rosario on the second play after halftime. Arizona State rallied with TDs from Jamal Miles and Osweiler, but the Bruins mounted a dramatic drive - and then barely avoided giving up a last-minute field goal.
Johnathan Franklin rushed for an early TD for the Bruins, while Prince had his second straight impressive game, going 11 of 17 for 196 yards passing along with 61 yards rushing.
''For me, it's the biggest win of my career,'' said Prince, who also has beaten Texas and Tennessee. ''To be in the position we were two weeks ago at Arizona, and then to respond the way we did, it makes you proud of everybody.''
Garoutte missed a 48-yard attempt late in the first half, and he missed from 36 yards with 5:49 to play after UCLA's Josh Smith fumbled a kickoff return.
UCLA led 16-14 at halftime after Coleman's sixth TD in four games, even with Arizona State outgaining them by 91 yards. Prince's pump-fake and a mix-up in coverage left Rosario alone 20 yards behind Arizona State's secondary, allowing him to jog in with his first TD of the season - but Miles caught a short pass for a 9-yard score moments later.
The final minutes were frantic. Arizona State got the ball back at its 7 early in the fourth quarter, and Osweiler marched the Sun Devils in 10 plays for his short go-ahead score.
Coleman's 41-yard run put the Bruins in scoring position until UCLA fumbled and committed pass interference to drop back to third-and-29 - but Prince found Rosario with a 33-yard pass to the Arizona State 6.
Coleman scored moments later, but Prince threw an incomplete pass on UCLA's 2-point attempt when tight end Joseph Fauria ran the wrong route.
Arizona State moved to its 44 with 21 seconds left after a lengthy video review of an illegal forward pass, and UCLA's Aaron Hester was called for pass interference on the next play, eventually setting up Garoutte's final miss.