UCLA 28, Washington St. 25
A week after Washington State roared from behind to steal a Pac-12 victory from a struggling opponent, the Cougars learned exactly how it feels to be on the other side.
Coach Paul Wulff hopes his team will remember this feeling for the rest of a bounce-back season.
Kevin Prince threw a go-ahead, 7-yard touchdown pass to Shaq Evans with 3:26 to play, and UCLA cornerback Andrew Abbott intercepted Marshall Lobbestael's final pass near midfield moments later in the Bruins' 28-25 victory over Washington State on Saturday night.
Lobbestael passed for 235 yards and hit Jared Karstetter and Rickey Galvin for second-half touchdowns, but Washington State (3-2, 1-1) surrendering two fourth-quarter touchdown drives and a 2-point conversion pass.
''It didn't feel good,'' Wulff said. ''You think you control the ballgame, playing the type of game you want, but they made enough big plays at the end to win.''
Andrew Furney kicked four field goals for the Cougars, who could have matched their conference win total from the previous three seasons combined with a victory. After rallying from a late deficit at Colorado last week, Washington State allowed UCLA's comeback despite outgaining the Bruins 389-371 and controlling the ball for nearly 37 minutes.
The Cougars lamented settling for three field goals in the first half when their offense stalled inside the UCLA 10. Washington State didn't score its first touchdown until Lobbestael connected with Karstetter in the third quarter.
''I feel like we let one get away, but you don't make excuses,'' said Galvin, who rushed for 88 yards and had four catches. ''Our offense needed a break. One or all of us needed to step up at the end, but we couldn't do it.''
Lobbestael, Washington State's longtime backup quarterback, went 28 for 40 while staying in the Cougars' starting lineup despite the return of Jeff Tuel, back in uniform after breaking his collarbone in the season opener.
He was outdone by a fellow backup: Prince passed for 173 yards and led a thrilling comeback after starter Richard Brehaut broke his leg in the second quarter, mounting two late touchdown drives. The Rose Bowl crowd booed Prince when he replaced Brehaut, but the former starter proved he still knows how to move the Bruins (3-3, 2-1 Pac-12).
''We've had so many of these games where we lose, so it's just nice to come out of this one and win going into our bye week,'' Prince said. ''I understand (the boos). As a sports fan, I've been mad at certain players. It just goes with everything, but we came together real well.''
Derrick Coleman rushed for two scores, and Josh Smith caught a TD pass before making a gritty first-down reception that allowed UCLA to run out the clock. Nelson Rosario made the biggest plays, hauling in that one-handed grab and catching Prince's 2-point conversion pass after Evans' touchdown.
''We knew they were a good team,'' Rosario said. ''They were a lot better than previous years, but I told guys, we can't lose to them. We can't let this happen. None of us flinched. We were really confident that we could get it done.''
After his ominous greeting from UCLA's fans, Prince went 8 for 13 in a steady performance in relief of Brehaut. Prince began his third straight season as UCLA's starter, but lost the job last month after throwing three interceptions in the first quarter of a loss to Texas.
UCLA didn't get a first down until early in the second quarter, and Brehaut was hurt on a hard tackle during a 5-yard run moments later. The junior attempted to walk back to the huddle before collapsing on the field.
''If there's a tougher guy, I don't know him,'' coach Rick Neuheisel said of Brehaut, whose foot was in a boot after the game. ''He's a resilient son of a gun. He'll be back as soon as he can get back. ... We're going to miss Richard, but the next guy has to be ready.''
Prince immediately sparked the Bruins, connecting with Rosario on a 41-yard pass to the goal line, where Coleman scored.
Tyler Gonzalez, a former manager of the Bruins' soccer team pressed into football action by injuries, kicked the extra points for the Bruins.
Coleman added another short TD on the Bruins' opening drive of the second half, but UCLA's fourth personal foul allowed the Cougars to make a short touchdown drive capped by Karstetter's 8-yard grab over the middle.
Lobbestael hit Galvin in stride for a 21-yard TD, but UCLA blocked the extra point and made a swift drive for Smith's TD catch. Rosario couldn't hold on to the 2-point conversion throw, keeping Washington State ahead 22-20.
Furney hit a 47-yard field goal with 5:49 to play, but Rosario made his electrifying catch to put the Bruins inside the Washington State 10 moments later. Evans scored on a 7-yard slant, and Rosario caught a 2-point conversion pass, putting UCLA up by three points.