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Olson shows mettle

December 25, 2019

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 The comeback eased UCLA’s potential pain on a forgettable night that featured: The Bruins committing 13 penalties, including two roughing-the-kicker calls, for 118 yards. UCLA also had two false starts in the fourth quarter. Sloppy tackling, as Washington ran for 213 yards. The Huskies were averaging 107.5 rushing yards. UCLA getting pushed around on the line of scrimmage. The Bruins couldn’t run the ball (25 carries, 65 yards), and Washington controlled the ball for 12:02 of the first quarter. Dropped passes by UCLA’s receivers, including Marcus Everett and tight end Marcedes Lewis. UCLA received an important confidence boost from quarterback Drew Olson in what was otherwise an uninspired, mentally-deficient 21-17 victory on Saturday against Washington at the Rose Bowl. The first fourth-quarter comeback of Olson’s career offset his dismal 40 minutes, and helped the 20th-ranked Bruins (4-0) remain undefeated despite a lackluster night. Players admitting they overlooked Washington, despite talk for the last two months that they had kicked the habit of taking opponents lightly. “It is relief for just a moment because we won the game. We still have so much work to do,” UCLA coach Karl Dorrell said. “That’s disappointing, but I’m not more disappointed than I am encouraged by what I saw. I saw a lot of great things we can build on from this game.” Olson didn’t play well, with more than a half-dozen passes batted down at the line of scrimmage. He missed open receivers – most notably Brandon Breazell on a post-pattern in the first quarter – and was 9 of 18 for 72 yards with two interceptions at the half. However, Olson did something he did not do in season’s past. He went 20 of 26 for 210 yards, no interceptions and two touchdowns in the second half. “That’s real big because now everyone has faith in the quarterback that when it’s on the line, he can go out there and lead the team,” UCLA strong safety Jarrad Page said. “He was accurate on his passes. That’s important. Even as a defense, we look out there and say, ‘That’s all right, Drew’s got us. He’s going to lead the team down there and score.’ ” Olson’s play was impressive on UCLA’s final two scoring drives. He went 6 for 6 for 46 yards on an 80-yard touchdown drive to pull the Bruins within 17-14 early in the fourth quarter. When UCLA began its last drive with 3:39 to play on its own 27-yard line, Olson again was masterful, and more importantly, confident. His first pass was knocked down at the line, but he completed his next six, including a 5-yarder to Andrew Baumgartner on fourth down to prolong the drive. And once the Bruins got into range for a tying field goal, Olson continued with solid reads and pinpoint throws. He connected for 12 yards to Chris Markey out of the backfield, and seven more to Gavin Ketchum to move to Washington’s 1-yard line. Maurice Drew’s 1-yard dive with 1:08 to play was the only run on the game-winning drive as Olson completed 6 of 7 passes. “We knew (Olson) had it in him,” Lewis said. “Drew, man, there’s nothing I can really say about that dude. He delivers.” Also: Defensive end Nikola Dragovic’s status for Saturday’s game against California is in question. The sophomore did not play in the second half against the Huskies because of a left knee injury. He was scheduled to undergo an MRI Sunday night. … UCLA remained No. 20 in the Associated Press poll, and moved up four slots to No. 16 in the coaches’ poll. Brian Dohn, (818) 713-3607 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!center_img An effort like the one UCLA gave Saturday won’t result in too many wins the rest of the season, but the lingering question as to whether Olson possessed the gumption to lead a fourth-quarter, come-from-behind drive was answered. “It’s huge, because last year I stumbled a couple of times,” Olson said. “I always felt that I was a little better than that. It was good to come down there and lead the team in a crucial drive.” last_img

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