In the box score, Kyle Philips' biggest play of the game against the Tigers was far and away his game-sealing touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Looking at the highlight reel too, the 45-yard score stands out not only for Philips' ability to get open coming across the middle of the field, but also for his broken tackle and spin move against LSU's top corner and future first round pick Derek Stingley.
The top receiving target for No. 13 UCLA football (2-0) has had his fair share of touchdowns, third down conversions, special teams scores and more in his 25 career appearances as a Bruin. Week 1 against LSU was no different, and Philips drew a lot of attention for a couple of crushing blocks this time around as well.
"(It's) not underrated by our coaching staff – he was one of our players of the game just because of how well he blocked," said coach Chip Kelly back on Sept. 6. "I think that’s what makes Kyle such a great receiver is that he will do everything. He can block, he can run routes, he can catch, he’s a great special teams player for us, he’s a great all-around football player."
The first block that earned Philips some praise was on a checkdown from quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson to running back Zach Charbonnet. Facing a 3rd-and-10, Charbonnet caught the ball right around midfield with a defensive back running downhill towards him.
Philips went vertical and met the defensive back with some force, providing Charbonnet enough room to turn it into a 35-yard gain that set UCLA up in the red zone.
As he returned to the bench at the end what became a scoring drive, Philips got some kudos from a Bruin quarterback – not Thompson-Robinson, Ethan Garbers or even Chase Griffin, though.
This signal-caller was a little bit older than that crew, but his words may have carried a bit of extra weight.
"Troy Aikman was on the sideline after the block, he kinda came up to me, said ‘Good blocking,'" Philips said Wednesday. "I was, like, kinda frozen at first, I was like ‘Oh, dang.’ It was a cool experience."
Philips said the entire receivers room has a new mindset this season, one that stands to help break off even more chunk plays like that one moving forward.
"That just kind of came from how these coaches have us practicing every day," Philips said. "In the past, maybe a pass play happens, you don’t get the ball, we kinda would just run off the field, wouldn’t do anything. But now it’s kind of turned into we can make big plays out of anything."
Philips' second key block in the LSU game came in a goal line scenario, as he pulled around from the right side to help running back Brittain Brown get by the crashing defender on the left and into the end zone untouched.
It doesn't take an offensive-minded head coach or Hall of Fame quarterback to recognize Philips' importance to those two plays. Former UCLA defensive end Datone Jones is the one who shouted out Philips online and posted the highlight of his block on the Charbonnet catch.
Junior linebacker Carl Jones Jr. talked about Philips' toughness and blocking skills with the media Wednesday, and claimed he had seen it before from a bunch of the Bruin wide receivers, both in practice and in games.
"It was definitely amazing to see that everybody, even when they don’t get the ball, that they still are trying their best to help their brother score, and that’s exactly what KP did," Jones said. "KP took on a block probably bigger than him but he kept it going and I just feel like everybody, not just KP, but everybody is just taking that step of just being all for the team."
Philips has four receptions for 61 yards through two games in 2021, well behind the pace he was producing at in 2019 and 2020.
But while those numbers have dipped, Philips has still found a way to get his team on the board.
"We’re not focused on getting stats – what we’re doing is just focusing on winning," Philips said. "And you can’t complain when you’ve got Zach and Brittain Brown in the backfield, cause those guys make crazy plays."