Sep 18, 2021; Pasadena, California, USA;  Fresno State Bulldogs wide receiver Ty Jones (8) makes a catch against UCLA Bruins defensive back Jay Shaw (1) in the second quarter at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

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Fresno State rallies back to stun No. 13 UCLA, 40-37

Jake Haener threw his two touchdown passes in the final 2:55, including a 13-yard game-winner to Jalen Cropper with 14 seconds remaining, and Fresno State survived to upset No. 13 UCLA 40-37 on Saturday in Pasadena, Calif.

Haener finished with 455 yards passing.

Fresno State (3-1) built a 23-10 lead at halftime over a UCLA team playing its first game since a Sept. 4 upset of LSU, using a combination of multifaceted offense and aggressive run defense to catch the Bruins off-guard.

Running back Ronnie Rivers scored on touchdown runs of one and 36 yards in the first half, and Cropper scored on a goal-line carry as the Bulldogs exploited a 49-16 disparity in plays run over the first two periods.

UCLA (2-1) came back, holding Fresno State out of the end zone for more than 33 minutes of game time after the second of Rivers’ touchdowns.

Quarterback Dorian-Thompson Robinson threw three touchdown passes, including a pair to Kyle Philips, and Zach Charbonnet rushed for the second of two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to give UCLA two different leads.

Both times after falling behind, Fresno State answered.

The Bulldogs went 75 yards in 10 plays in 4:32, capped when Haener found Erik Brooks for a score to push the visitors ahead, 33-30.

UCLA responded with a scoring drive of its own, as Thompson-Robinson — who went 14-of-24 for 278 yards — connected with Philips for 15 of his team-high 113 yards receiving.

Fresno State then had gains of 10, 27 and 26 yards on the ensuing possession to set up Haener’s win-sealing strike to Cropper near the pylon. Cropper finished with 14 catches for 141 yards, while Haener went 39-of-53.

Rivers rushed for 136 yards to lead all ballcarriers and outgained the entire UCLA team.

The Bruins finished with 117 yards on the ground, but the running back tandem of Charbonnet and Brittain Brown, who had been vital in the win over LSU, were limited to 23 and 19 yards, respectively.

–Field Level Media

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