NCAA Football

Breaking it Down: Rosen’s game winning fake spike

Photo Credit: USA Today

On Saturday night, the UCLA Bruins scored 35 unanswered points to complete the second largest comeback in FBS history against Texas A&M. The final play to complete the comeback was a fake spike that would have made NFL legend Dan Marino proud.

After the Aggies went three and out, only chewing 23 seconds off of the clock, the Bruins took over at their own 26-yard line with 2:32 left on the clock. Quarterback Josh Rosen would complete six of his next eight pass attempts to get the ball down to Texas A&M’s 10-yard line with 48-seconds left on the clock. With the clock stopped after the first down, Rosen would line up the offense in their formation to spike the ball.

Rosen fake spike, pre-snap

The Aggies didn’t seem surprised to see UCLA getting ready to spike the ball, because the Bruins were out of timeouts, but it appears they forgot that the clock is stopped until the umpire signals it to start…and Rosen would snap the ball before that happened.

Rose fake spike, the fake kneel

Notice how the umpire isn’t completely turned around before the ball is snapped?

That was Rosen making an absolutely heads up play to get the ball snapped and in play again before the clock started rolling again. The speed with which he also lulled the Aggie defense into expecting the spike on first down…the quicker the quarterback spikes the ball, the less time is burnt by the play. Another masterful move by the junior QB was dropping his knee down to the turf — but not touching — as it sold the defense on him just trying to stop the clock.

Rosen fake spike, TAMU defenders stand around

Look at how relaxed that defense looks, the two inside linebackers are just standing straight up and the right outside linebacker also isn’t moving; in fact, the only defender that looks like he’s doing his job is the cornerback that’s about to be beat. His eyes are focused on Jordan Lasley as he comes charging down the sideline, notice how he’s also starting to turn as well.

The cornerback’s decision to focus on his man, and not the quarterback, almost puts him in position to break up the game winning touchdown.

Rosen fake spike, it was at this moment the Aggies knew...they f---ed up

But Lasley is just too fast and athletic for him to handle.

Rosen fake spike, the catch

The junior wideout from Compton, Calif. went up to get a ball that was either going to be caught by him…or was going to go sailing out of bounds to stop the clock. It was a well placed toss by Rosen, and an even more brilliant catch by Lasley.

Rosen fake spike, one foot inbounds.

Texas A&M would go four and out on their next possession immediately after the kick off, and the Bruins would just kill the clock to secure the victory.

Head coach Jim Mora, along with his coaching staff, made some brilliant adjustments at halftime to take advantage of the Aggies defense and get their offense in gear. But the Bruins also benefited from some questionable coaching decisions by Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin; the Aggies would only run the ball seven times in the second half and continue to use their fast paced no huddle offense…despite a 34-point lead.

IMPORTANT: All screen caps from the final play are taken from Pac-12 Networks highlights.

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2 replies »

  1. They only ran the ball seven times in the second half?! As great of a comeback as this was, Sumlin deserves to get fired after that.