Advertisement
Live

Dorian Thompson-Robinson injured as UCLA falls to Pitt in wild Sun Bowl

Share
UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) celebrates after a touchdown against Pittsburgh.
UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson gestures during the first half against Pittsburgh in the Sun Bowl on Friday.
(Andres Leighton / Associated Press)

Dorian Thompson-Robinson was injured in the fourth quarter as UCLA fell 37-35 to Pittsburgh in a dramatic finish at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, on Friday.

An old nemesis dooms Dorian Thompson-Robinson and UCLA in Sun Bowl loss

UCLA defensive back Mo Osling III reacts after dropping a potential interception during the second half.
UCLA defensive back Mo Osling III reacts after dropping a potential interception during the second half of the Bruins’ 37-35 loss to Pittsburgh in the Sun Bowl on Friday. UCLA took the lead in the final minute before losing on a field goal with four seconds left in regulation.
(Sam Wasson / Getty Images)

For a few forlorn minutes, it appeared the final image of Dorian Thompson-Robinson in a UCLA uniform would be him walking slowly off the field and into a tunnel, his left arm draped around the shoulder of a trainer.

The injured quarterback was granted a reprieve Friday afternoon when his team picked up a fourth-down stop and drove nearly the length of the field for the go-ahead points against Pittsburgh in the Sun Bowl. Thompson-Robinson returned to the field, slapping hands with jubilant teammates while a wide smile split his face, the Bruins apparently on the way to an epic comeback victory with just 34 seconds left.

In the end, there was only a dazed expression as Thompson-Robinson made another dejected walk back toward the tunnel, his face capturing the essence of what had just transpired during No. 18 UCLA’s crushing 37-35 loss.

Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson attributes much of his growth as a player to the strategies he’s learned at a chessboard.

Dec. 29, 2022

“Tough finish,” Bruins coach Chip Kelly said in something of an understatement.

UCLA looked like it might withstand the loss of its quarterback to an apparent lower-back injury, the outcome shifting during the final minutes like it was being whipped around by the gusty winds that overtook the stadium.

Read more >>>

Share

UCLA can’t find a miracle, falls to Pitt

Pittsburgh wide receiver Bub Means (15) celebrates after a touchdown against UCLA.
Pittsburgh wide receiver Bub Means celebrates after a touchdown against UCLA in the first half Friday.
(Andres Leighton / Associated Press)

Fifth-year senior Dorian Thompson-Robinson wanted to close his UCLA career with a final win.

Instead, he might have highlighted why Zach Charbonnet and others passed up bowl games.

DTR got off to a hot start, but he racked up three interceptions by midway through the second half and at some point developed an apparent back injury that prevented him from leading a UCLA rally.

Backup quarterback Ethan Garbers rallied for a touchdown to briefly give UCLA a lead with 34 seconds left, but Pitt backup quarterback Nick Patti countered by leading a field-goal drive that gave the Panthers the lead again. Garbers’ last heave with four seconds left was intercepted.

The No. 18 Bruins (9-4) fell 37-35 to the Panthers (9-4), closing out the season by losing three of their final four games after flirting with a spot in the Pac-12 title game.

Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson attributes much of his growth as a player to the strategies he’s learned at a chessboard.

Dec. 29, 2022

Share
Advertisement

Pitt takes 30 seconds to reclaim lead

Pittsburgh wide receiver Konata Mumpfield scores on a two-point conversion.
Pittsburgh wide receiver Konata Mumpfield scores on a two-point conversion in front of UCLA defensive back Mo Osling during the first half.
(Andres Leighton / Associated Press)

Pitt backup quarterback Nick Patti ran the final Panthers drive like a veteran, delivering a mix of pass plays and a scramble up the middle to put the team in position for a 47-yard Ben Sauls field goal with four seconds remaining.

Pitt 37, UCLA 35

Share

Ethan Garbers leads Bruins on huge touchdown drive

If you thought this game was over, not so fast my friend.

Pitt’s drive stalled and the Panthers fumbled a handoff while going for it on fourth down. Pitt recovered, but turned the ball over on downs.

The Bruins took over at their 30-yard line with 1:53 left in the fourth quarter.

Ethan Garbers settled in, getting key plays from TJ Harden and Jake Bobo. Harden rushed for 34 yards, Bobo caught a 14-yard pass after two Pitt timeouts and Harden scored an eight-yard touchdown. Nicholas Barr-Mira hit the extra point, pushing the Bruins ahead 35-34 with 34 seconds left.

And now for the UCLA kickoff ...

UCLA 35, Pitt 34

Share
Advertisement

UCLA drive quickly stalls

UCLA backup quarterback Ethan Garbers got one first down, but he couldn’t do anything with the four remaining downs, lofting an incomplete pass as he was hit on fourth down.

The officials reviewed a potential targeting violation on the play, but determined it was not targeting and Pitt took over on downs with 2:17 left in the fourth quarter.

During the review, CBS cameras captured Dorian Thompson-Robinson being helped to the locker room.

Pitt 34, UCLA 28

Share

UCLA defense limits Pitt to another field goal

UCLA’s defense is trying to give its offense a chance.

The Bruins didn’t always look pretty, but they did enough to limit Pitt to a Ben Sauls field goal after Ethan Garbers’ brief first drive.

It appears Dorian Thompson-Robinson is suffering through a back injury and Garbers will have 4:24 left to try to engineer a game-winning touchdown drive.

Pitt 34, UCLA 28

Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson attributes much of his growth as a player to the strategies he’s learned at a chessboard.

Dec. 29, 2022

Share
Advertisement

Ethan Garbers enters the chat

Pitt nailed its kickoff, pinning UCLA at its five-yard line.

Ethan Garbers took over as Dorian Thompson-Robinson received treatment for an unspecified injury on the sideline.

Garbers and the Bruins’ run game carefully avoided a safety and Nicholas Barr-Mira was able to get a punt away.

Pitt will have the ball with 8:48 remaining.

Pitt 31, UCLA 28

Share

Turnovers piling up for UCLA as Bruins give up lead

UCLA’s Jadyn Marshall fumbled a kickoff and the ball was recovered by Pitt’s Tamarion Crumpley.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson had a pained look on the sideline as he continues to wait to make up for his recent interception.

Pitt took over at the UCLA 19-yard line. The Bruins’ defense denied a touchdown, but Ben Sauls hit a field goal to give the Panthers a lead with 10:38 left in the fourth quarter.

Pitt 31, UCLA 28

Share
Advertisement

DTR’s dream finale is turning into a nightmare

Dorian Thompson-Robinson was cooking early against Pitt, hitting an array of targets for an early lead.

But his mistakes are taking a toll.

After UCLA’s defense delivered a stop to protect a one-touchdown lead, DTR dropped back to pass on first and 10 at the UCLA 27.

His pass was easily intercepted by Bangally Kamara and returned 12 yards to the UCLA 18.

The Panthers capitalized, with Rodney Hammond Jr. rushing for an seven-yard touchdown. With the extra point, Pitt tied the score at the 12:44 mark in the fourth quarter.

UCLA 28, Pitt 28

Share

UCLA punts again

UCLA’s offense has had a miserable third quarter.

The Bruins went three and out after a fumble UCLA recovered pinned the team back.

UCLA has not scored during the third quarter and leads with 1:15 left in the third quarter thanks to an interception returned for a touchdown.

UCLA 28, Pitt 21

Share
Advertisement

Pitt counters with long scoring drive

Neither team seems ready to pull away in this one.

Rodney Hammond Jr. rushed for a one-yard touchdown, completing a 75-play Pitt scoring drive.

With the extra point, Pitt made it a one-possession game again with 3:04 left in the third quarter.

UCLA 28, Pitt 21

Share

Jaylin Davies delivers a pick-six for Bruins

UCLA’s offense went three and out during its second possession of the third quarter, but it turned out to be no problem for the Bruins.

On second and four at the UCLA 45, Bruin Jaylin Davies intercepted Nick Patti’s pass and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown. UCLA hit the extra point and extended its lead to two touchdowns with 8:45 left in the third quarter.

UCLA 28, Pitt 14

Share
Advertisement

Dorian Thompson-Robinson tosses another pick

UCLA was off to a strong start when Dorian Thompson-Robinson faced third and four at the Pitt 17-yard line. He tossed a short-range dart to Michael Ezeike that he couldn’t handle and Javon McIntyre intercepted it, returning it from the one-yard line to the Pitt 13.

Fortunately for DTR, the Bruins’ defense forced Pitt to go three and out. UCLA was called for running into the punter, but avoided a roughing call that would have triggered a Panthers first down. Pitt seemed to be in position to down the ball deep in UCLA territory, but somehow failed to stop the ball and it was a touchback.

A forgettable start to the third quarter.

It’s UCLA ball with 10:49 left in the third quarter.

UCLA 21, Pitt 14

Share

How chess inspires UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson

VIDEO | 07:16
How chess inspires UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson

Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson attributes much of his growth as a player to the strategies he’s learned at a chessboard.

During spring practice in 2019, in search of an edge, UCLA football coach Chip Kelly brought in Seth Makowsky, a mindset strategist, to work with the quarterbacks. Makowsky taught them about decision-making under pressure and how to apply chess-board strategies on the field. Other players were curious, and soon, he found himself helping the entire UCLA football team.

Share
Advertisement

Chip Kelly honors late friend Mike Leach

UCLA coach Chip Kelly is honoring his friend Mike Leach, who died on Dec. 12.

Kelly’s visor and the Bruins’ helmets include a pirate flag, saluting Leach’s love of all things pirate.

It’s possible Kelly’s playbook has a touch of Leach magic as well, with the Bruins leaning heavily on the passing game during the first half. The calls may have more to do with Dorian Thompson-Robinson playing his UCLA finale and star tailback Zach Charbonnet skipping the game, but Leach surely would approve of giving DTR the green light to throw early and often.

Share

UCLA holds Pitt scoreless on final drive of first half

Pitt backup quarterback Nick Patti took a hard hit and was pulled while getting evaluated for a potential concussion.

Nick Yarnell took over for two possessions, hitting on mid-range pass.

Patti returned and was promptly sacked by Laiatu Latu.

The UCLA defense forced Pitt to punt and time expired in the second quarter.

The teams took turns running to the locker room to avoid another skirmish.

UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson is 14 of 18 passing for 263 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for another touchdown. The Bruins earned 33 rushing yards, largely relying on their air attack.

Pitt’s Nick Patti is 12 of 19 passing for 116 yards and one touchdown. The Panthers have rushed for 106 yards on 19 carries.

UCLA 21, Pitt 14

Share
Advertisement

DTR rebounds with a scoring drive

As he has done for all of his UCLA career, Dorian Thompson-Robinson brushed off a turnover and locked in during another drive.

It started raining steadily during the drive, but DTR went five of six passing, closing with a 28-yard touchdown pass to Titus Mokiao-Atimalala. Nicholas Barr-Mira hit the extra point.

UCLA efficiently reclaimed the lead with 57 seconds left in the second quarter.

UCLA 21, Pitt 14

Share

Pitt makes most of turnover to tie score

The Sun Bowl has had a recent history of featuring run-heavy teams.

Fans attending today’s game are getting a steady diet of entertaining pass plays.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson has been behind most of the fireworks, but Pitt quarterback Nick Patti bought some time after DTR’s interception and connected with Bub Means on a 45-yard pass.

Patti was three of four passing for the rest of the drive, nearly crossing the line of scrimmage before firing a pass to Bub Means for a 15-yard touchdown.

Pitt lined up for a two-point conversion attempt, but took a timeout when its receivers seemed confused about their alignment. After the break, Patti rolled right and connected with Konata Mumpfield for the two-point conversion with 3:49 left in the second quarter.

UCLA players complained throughout the drive they were getting held, but the refs didn’t toss any flags.

UCLA 14, Pitt 14

Share
Advertisement

Sizzling DTR hits his first speed bump with red zone interception

After UCLA forced Pitt to go three-and-out, Dorian Thompson-Robinson steered the Bruins back into the red zone but he made a mistake on first down at the Pitt 13-yard line.

DTR tossed high across the middle and Tylar Wiltz intercepted the ball to end the Bruins’ drive.

Pitt will take over at its six-yard line with 8:10 left in the second quarter.

UCLA 14, Pitt 6

Share

Dorian Thompson-Robinson racks up highlight plays

Dorian Thompson-Robinson was three of four passing on the first UCLA drive of the second quarter when he leaned back and hit Titus Mokiao-Atimalala for a 49-yard gain.

DTR ran for three yards to the Pitt one-yard line and recovered a fumble on the next play, but the Panthers’ defense was called for an offsides penalty.

The quarterback was then pushed into the end zone for the score. He avoided a penalty on the celebration and the Bruins hit the extra point with 11:57 left in the second quarter.

UCLA 14, Pitt 6

Share
Advertisement

Pitt hits another field goal

The UCLA defense continues its pattern of giving up long runs before tightening up coverage.

Pitt’s Ben Sauls hit a 49-yard field goal with one second left in the first quarter to trim the Bruins’ lead.

UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson is three of four passing for 71 yards and a touchdown. The Bruins also have 13 rushing yards.

Pitt’s Nick Patti is seven of 10 passing for 34 yards. The Panthers have rushed for 89 yards on 12 carries.

UCLA 7, Pitt 6.

Share

DTR leads Bruins on scoring drive despite drawing flags

Dorian Thompson-Robinson has started his final game as a Bruin and kicked it off with a strong scoring drive despite a few flags.

DTR’s 42-yard pass to Keegan Jones early in the drive was called back due to a holding penalty.

A few plays later, the quarterback found Kam Brown for a 51-yard gain. DTR then hit Logan Loya for an 11-yard touchdown pass.

Amid the post-score celebration, DTR trash talked and lightly head-butted Pitt defensive back Marquis Williams, earning an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The exchange was the quarterback’s response to a pregame scuffle on the field during warmups, with Williams at the center of the brief but heated exchange.

Nicholas Barr-Mira hit the extra point with 5:15 left in the first quarter.

UCLA 7, Pitt 3

Share
Advertisement

Bruins limit Panthers to a field goal after bumpy start

It wasn’t the prettiest opening drive for either team, but Pitt claimed the first three points of the Sun Bowl.

Panthers backup quarterback Nick Patti and the offense were hit with a delay of game penalty to start the drive, but he later scrambled for a 41-yard gain.

Pitt marched steadily toward the red zone, but the UCLA defense delivered a few key plays, capped by Stephan Blaylock’s tackle of Patti to force fourth down.

Ben Sauls hit a 22-yard field goal with 8:05 left in the first quarter.

Pitt 3, UCLA 0

Share

And we’re off ...

Howdy, I’m Iliana Limón Romero and I’ll be providing live UCLA-Pitt updates while Ben Bolch reports from the Sun Bowl. As an El Paso native, I’ve attended many Sun Bowls through the years. The conditions look good today, with far less wind than we’ve seen in the past.

Pitt received the opening kickoff and backup quarterback Nick Patti is leading the Panthers’ offense.

Share
Advertisement

UCLA long snapper Jack Landherr is a quiet star and role model for the Bruins

UCLA long snapper Jack Landherr runs onto the field before a game against USC at the Rose Bowl on Nov. 19.
(Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

A tall, ruggedly handsome young man, proudly wearing his Bruins blues, stood up this week and told us that all is not lost in college football.

His name, Jack Landherr, won’t be familiar, even though he will be playing in his 42nd game for UCLA in Friday’s Sun Bowl in El Paso. Long snappers don’t make headlines, unless they screw up. In four seasons, Landherr never screwed up. His snaps to the holder or punter were always on target, some perhaps a hundredth of a second slower than he wanted, maybe six inches higher than the previous one. No harm, no foul.

He caused a fumble in punt coverage in a Nov. 25 game against Cal. That led to a Bruins recovery, probably the game’s winning points, joyful slaps on the helmet from his teammates along the sidelines and praise from his coach, Chip Kelly, in the postgame news conference. He even got his name in the paper. Those things, of course, happen to quarterbacks and wide receivers and running backs about every 10 minutes. For Landherr, never before and no matter. He was a student-athlete.

Read more >>>

Share

UCLA defensive coordinator Bill McGovern is back for Sun Bowl after health issues

UCLA defensive coordinator Bill McGovern
(Don Liebig / UCLA Athletics)

EL PASO, Texas — Watching games on television can be hard work for a veteran defensive coordinator used to howling instructions from the press box.

Old habits must be put to rest. A voice must be lowered. One’s surroundings must be recognized to preserve the sanity of everyone within earshot.

“Not good, not good,” Bill McGovern said of his adjustment to watching UCLA from afar the last five games. “When you coach for 37 years and all of a sudden you think you have a headset on at home but you don’t, you know? So you might be yelling at somebody in your house rather than somebody on the other end of the line.”

For the first time in more than two months, McGovern’s familiar, raspy voice will be heard on coaches’ headsets.

He’s back.

Read more >>>

Share
Advertisement

How Chip Kelly and Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s mutual trust elevated UCLA

UCLA coach Chip Kelly hugs quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson.
UCLA coach Chip Kelly hugs quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson after a 62-33 win over USC at the Coliseum in November 2021.
(Harry How / Getty Images)

EL PASO, Texas — It would have been easy to give up on the young quarterback.

His accuracy was spotty. The ball sometimes slipped out of his hand for no apparent reason. He had a maddening tendency to run backward under pressure.

Maybe, just maybe, there was a better alternative …

It would have been easy to give up on the old coach.

His offense didn’t resemble what those jolly green giants ran at Oregon. The roster hemorrhaged one talented player after another. He preached books and ball, but where were all the wins?

Maybe, just maybe, there was a better alternative …

Five years later, aligned more closely than ever, UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Chip Kelly will walk onto a football field together for the last time, having withstood every doubt.

Read more >>>

Share

UCLA’s move to the Big Ten comes with an added ‘Berkeley Tax’

UCLA football players greet fans as they leave the field after a 42-32 win over Utah on Oct. 8.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

After months of haggling over UCLA’s end-around move to join the Big Ten Conference, the University of California regents are stepping aside and allowing the departure to proceed as planned.

The regents voted during a meeting Wednesday at UCLA to allow the Bruins to leave the Pacific-12 Conference and join the Big Ten provided they pay a hefty tax to UC sister school California-Berkeley and take measures to mitigate travel and improve nutrition and mental-health services for student-athletes.

By joining crosstown rival USC as part of an expanded Big Ten that will include 16 teams, the Bruins will help form the nation’s first coast-to-coast conference as well as a worthy foil to the supercharged Southeastern Conference.

Read more >>>

Share
Advertisement

UCLA vs. Pitt in Sun Bowl: Betting lines, odds and picks against the spread

UCLA coach Chip Kelly gives a thumbs up as he enters the field before a game.
UCLA coach Chip Kelly gives a thumbs up as he enters the field before a game between the Bruins and Alabama State in September.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Sportsbooks have UCLA as a seven-point favorite over Pittsburgh in Friday’s Sun Bowl in El Paso.

The big question was whether UCLA star quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and running back Zach Charbonnet would play in the game or opt out. Both are practicing and expected to play, with Thompson-Robinson taking most of the first-team snaps while Charbonnet was in-and-out.

When the bowl matchup was announced earlier this month, the Bruins opened as four-point favorites, lower than expected but understandable due to the uncertainty. The line has been steadily bet higher, up to UCLA -7.5 at DraftKings sportsbooks, which reports that 76% of the bets and 81% of the money has been on the Bruins. This would appear to be an indication that “someone knows something.” For current figures, see the VSiN betting splits page.

Read more >>>

Share
Advertisement