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The Bruins were down 34 points. Everything had to go right for them.

That's exactly what happened, and Josh Rosen became immortalized as a result.

On Sept. 3, 2017, UCLA football stormed back from a 34-point deficit in the second half to take down Texas A&M, an SEC powerhouse that had defeated them in the 2016 season opener. The 45-44 victory for the Bruins stood out among a .500 season of Rosen injuries, coach Jim Mora's firing and a midseason tumble that essentially rendered the comeback pointless in the rankings and standings, but it is still one of the greatest games in UCLA history.

The Bruins kept things close in the first quarter, until Rosen fumbled the ball away and gave the Aggies great field position to go up 14-3. A Jalen Starks touchdown with three minutes left in the second seemed to close the gap to 21 points heading into halftime, but Trayveon Williams immediately took one in for six from 61 yards out to make it a four-score game again.

Williams returned to the sideline, grabbed the drum major's mace and did a dance on the sideline, a moment that has gone down in history as the epitome of premature celebration.


The comeback wouldn't officially start until late in the third quarter, with UCLA down 44-10, as Rosen completed a few chunk plays to tight end Caleb Wilson that set up running back Soso Jamabo for a 9-yard touchdown to make it 44-17. A three-and-out led to a touchdown drive that ended in a Rosen-Darren Andrews connection, and the Bruins were down with 20 points with 13:22 to play.

UCLA's next offensive drive started inside its own 5-yard line thanks to a near-perfect punt from Texas A&M, but that wasn't enough to slow down the Bruins. After a few big gains got them out of the shadow of their own end zone, Rosen wound up and launched one deep to Andrews from midfield.

The ball was severely underthrown and was sailing right towards an Aggie defensive back's hands, but it slipped right through and hit a surprised Andrews right in the gut as he turned and walked in for the score. Gus Johnson's "Over the middle....Oh, caught!" call made the play all the more memorable, and UCLA had cut the lead to 13.

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The next score was arguably even wilder, and Rosen capitalized on a missed Texas A&M field goal and led his team down the field again. Rolling out to his left, Rosen narrowly avoided a sack before lofting a contested pass with hardly any follow through into the front of the end zone. Theo Howard tracked it back and caught it kneeling down for another six.

After forcing yet another punt, the Bruins were marching again, until a false start and incompletion put them in a 4th-and-6 now down 44-38. Rosen found Jamabo swinging around the the left, keeping UCLA's hopes alive and setting it up with a first down in the red zone with less than a minute to play.

Rosen faked the spike, looked back left to Jordan Lasley and dropped one in where only his man could get it. In the words of a screaming Gus Johnson...

"Rosen fakes the spike, in the end zone, touchdown! Woah! Jordan Lasley! The legend of Josh Rosen, in full bloom! Dan Marino would be proud!"

The Bruins were up 45-44, and after Chigozie Nnoruka chased down Kellen Mond to force a turnover on downs, Rosen came back out to kneel it and secure the victory and cap off his 491-yard, four touchdown performance.

The highlights, stats, memes and sound bites that came out of this game always find a way back online every now and then, but maybe today more than ever. Alongside UCLA's 31-point comeback against Washington State in 2019 and Joshua Kelley's handling of USC in 2018, the Texas A&M game stands out as the most fondly-remembered moment the program has had over the last six seasons of mediocrity, disappointment and unfulfilled hope.

Rosen is on his fifth NFL team in four seasons. Mora is working for ESPN. Darren Andrews, Caleb Wilson and Jordan Lasley have all seen their NFL careers dwindle away before their eyes, while Starks, Jamabo and Nnoruka never even got a chance to start theirs.

They'll still always have the Texas A&M game, though, the 34-point comeback that shocked the nation, even if it was just for one night.

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