A Rose Bowl black out set the stage for the Bruins, who were in must-win mode. A season filled with playoff aspirations has taken a few punches to the jaw. A win over the ranked Cal Bears would bring a little more postseason attention in UCLA’s direction.
Thursday nights can be a tough draw. UCLA’s classic powder blue and gold uniforms were traded out for a slick black look – a bit of a gimmick to draw attention to a non-Saturday game. It took a little while for the crowd to arrive, but approximately 60,000 filled the Rose Bowl to cheer on their stumbling team. The parking lots surrounding this historic venue filled with tailgaters anxiously awaiting a positive response from their Bruins. The UCLA marching band marched in, proudly playing “Mighty Bruins” and fans followed in to get set for kickoff.
A thundering flyover sent waves through the San Gabriel Mountains and as the first half progressed, UCLA kept unleashing the noise on Cal. Freshman QB Josh Rosen (fondly called “the Rosen one”) completed a school-record 34 passes to dominate Cal and prevent the season from completely caving in. The largest crowd eruption came from a first half ending 60-yard field goal by Ka’imi Fairbairn – it felt like UCLA could do no wrong. It was a night filled with “U-C-L-A Fight! Fight! Fight!”
Cal brought their band and a substantial throng of fans from Berkeley. Perhaps the Cal band didn’t get to play the fight song as often as they may have liked, but the halftime performance showcased both bands in a most-memorable history lesson. UCLA and Cal joined forces to reenact the Trojan War complete with costumes, choreography, and a giant Trojan Horse. Fans who typically bolt for restrooms and concessions stayed put to witness this incredible spectacle.
UCLA would go on to win the Berkeley-Westwood Battle of 2015. However, there’s still work to do toward winning the Pac-12 War.