UCLA authored the biggest FBS comeback since 2006 on Sunday, overcoming a 34-point deficit to stun Texas A&M, 45-44. UCLA trailed 44-10 with just over two minutes to play in the third quarterback but reeled off 35 unanswered points thanks to four touchdown passes from Josh Rosen, who finished 35-of-59 for 491 yards.
Sunday was UCLA’s gain, but it was also Colorado’s.
That’s because Buffaloes head coach Mike MacIntyre watched UCLA’s comeback and learned a thing or two in the process.
“We try to do that with a lot of different games,” MacIntyre said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “End-of-the-game situations, how people handle them, and would we do it the same way? Then you watch somebody and go, ‘Oh, I wouldn’t have thought of that. That’s a great way to handle that situation.’ So we’re sitting there, I knew UCLA was getting beat bad, and we were working on Texas State late. One of our guys had it on while he was working, and he goes, ‘Coach, you got to come see this. They’re on their way back.’ There was about five minutes to go in the game. I think it was 44-31 when I saw it, and I said, ‘Guys, let’s sit down and get out our time chart’ – our chart that we follow for two-point conversions, for timeouts, for everything you do, different situations that can happen – ‘and let’s see if everything holds up.’ We sat there and watched it from the Texas A&M point of view and the UCLA point of view, and we did learn a couple things from it. It was a good teaching moment for all of us.”
Yes, there were obvious things that every football fan knows: Run the ball to bleed the clock, don’t snap the ball until you have to, etc., etc., etc. But there was more.
“There’s some things that you learn in that, there’s no doubt,” MacIntyre said. “One of the things we kept pointing out to our team (was special teams) – because it happened the next day, too. My alma mater got beat by Tennessee.”
Indeed, Georgia Tech lost to Tennessee, 42-41, in double overtime Monday.
“Georgia Tech, it all came down to some blocked field goals,” MacIntyre said. “The UCLA/A&M game, if UCLA doesn’t block that field goal, I don’t know if they win it (and vice versa). Tennessee blocked Tech’s field goal, and I just said, ‘How important that one play is. Either protecting it or blocking it, how important that one significant play is.’ So we talked about that as a team and went back over our field goal (practice) today and yesterday and showed them how important it was. We always do on Monday, but we had an added emphasis on it. So things like that, you can have a lot of good teaching moments – not only for yourself but also for your players. I always tell (my players), ‘You’re either getting better or you’re getting worse. Nothing stays the same.’ That’s one way we try to do that.”
Colorado, which opened with a 17-3 win over Colorado State, hosts Texas State this Saturday at 2 p.m. ET. The Buffaloes will face Josh Rosen and UCLA in Pasadena on Sept. 30.