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UCLA 45, Texas A&M 44: The Aggies Blow a 34 Point Lead

After holding a 44-10 third quarter lead, Texas A&M gave up five straight unanswered touchdown drives

NCAA Football: Texas A&M at UCLA Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Rosen led UCLA on a massive comeback for a 45-44 victory over Texas A&M. After Texas A&M held a 44-10 third quarter lead, the game looked to be in hand for the Aggies, but five consecutive unanswered touchdowns gave the Bruins one of the largest comebacks in FBS history.

Rosen threw for a career-high 491 passing yards with four touchdown passes (the last four touchdowns of the comeback) while three UCLA receivers caught more than 100 yards.

A pair of first half UCLA fumbles inside their own 25 led directly to 10 points for the Aggies and a big rushing day led the way for Kevin Sumlin’s offense. Trayveon Williams and Keith Ford combined for five first half rushing touchdowns with Williams going over 200 yards while Ford went for over 110 rushing yards as the Aggies went to halftime with a 38-10 lead.

Nick Starkel ended up getting the start at quarterback with Kellen Mond drawing some first half playing time. However, Starkel would go down injured in the third quarter. He was helped off the field, but was taken on the cart to the locker room with an apparent leg injury. Before the injury, Starkel was not asked to do much (particularly given the success of the rushing game for Texas A&M) and went 6/13 for 62 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.

After Starkel exited, Mond took over full time and the wind went out of A&M’s sails. A pair of field goals extended the lead to 44-10 and the game looked like it was out of reach. The running game which was so successful earlier in the game would stall in the second half as over the last 17 minutes of the game, Williams and Ford would rush for only 17 yards.

However, UCLA would score touchdowns on five consecutive drives of 66 yards or longer including a 96 yard drive to bring the game to a two score deficit. During that stretch, Texas A&M failed to capitalize on their earlier momentum and their best drive ended with a blocked field goal attempt while two drives ended with three and outs.

For Kevin Sumlin and co., this loss has to be a demoralizing one with a season in which his tenure was already seen as being on the hot seat. A loss on its own was not damning, but the nature of this loss will not sit well. Games against Nicholls and Louisiana-Lafayette should offer a reprieve the next two weeks, but the following stretch against Arkansas, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi State and Auburn (with all except Arkansas and Florida in College Station) will go a long way towards determining Sumlin’s future in College Station.