UCLA has defeated Central Washington 26-23 to move into second place in the D1-A college Pacific conference.
The Bruins scored four tries, earning a bonus point, while CWU took home a bonus point for a close loss.
“We had the ball near their tryline in the first 20 minutes but couldn’t come away with points, and that’s been a problem for us,” said CWU coach Tony Pacheco. “Against these teams in this league you can’t get away with that.”
"The guys played great defense, especially in the first 20 minutes," added UCLA Head Coach Scott Stewart. "We kind of weathered a bunch of pressure. They got some penalty kicks, but we were able to get the ball, score a try, and get in the game."
UCLA found some space out wide to take a big lead. Central roared back, and were knocking on the door to win the game. However, they knocked on three times in-goal, and the Bruins held on.
"When we ran the ball at them and strung some passes together we were able to be successful," said Stewart. "We kept it tight early and then once we gained some ground and felt like we were in the game we took it wide."
Wing Martial Chaput caused Central problems all day and scored two tries, Meanwhile No. 8 Stephen Yoshida was instrumental for UCLA.
"We were under pressure in the scrums and he scooped up a bunch of junk at the back of the scrum and got us going forward," said Stewart. "We needed that."
The Bruins now control their own destiny in pushing for a playoff berth. However today’s late Cal Poly v. UC Davis game goes, if UCLA beats the Mustangs next week, they will finish 2nd in the Pacific.
Central Washington is not out of it, but will need Cal Poly to be UCLA next week, and then will need to beat Cal Poly to force a three-way tie of 2-2 teams.
"I think it's fair to say this is our most important win in a while," Stewart said. "We won a meaningful game against a team that's been operating above us, and we did it on the road. Now we just have to keep putting our best foot forward and, like today, put be as competitive as we can be."
Tries: Murphy, Chapopt 2, Noeldner
Convs: Penney 3
Central Washington 23
Tries: Blair, Stanfill
Convs: Lobe 2
Pens: Lobe 3