Collin Schlee’s grit not enough in UCLA’s loss to ASU

UCLA quarterback Collin Schlee had tears in his eyes as he walked away from the field with three seconds remaining in Saturday night’s game against Arizona State.

As he blotted the moisture away, Chase Griffin struggled to complete passes as the Bruins fell to the Sun Devils, 17-7.

UCLA quarterback Collin Schlee leaves the field with three seconds left in the game.

— Haley Sawyer (@haleymsawyer) November 12, 2023

Schlee had started 11 games last season at Kent State but had his first start as a Bruin on Saturday, and UCLA made it memorable, but not for the best reasons. The junior had no choice but to rely on grit in order to make plays.

“Collin is a tough, hard-nosed football player and I think everybody saw that tonight,” UCLA coach Chip Kelly said in the postgame press conference. “He can make plays with his legs and his arm. We had a lot of designed quarterback runs just because that’s part of Collin’s strength and he did a good job with a lot of that run stuff tonight.”

Schlee was sacked three times over the course of the game for a total loss of 28 yards, and Kelly said he was unsure of his health status afterward. Kelly also said that quarterbacks Ethan Garbers and Dante Moore were available for what he termed “emergency situations.”

UCLA had mostly deployed Schlee in run packages this season, but he used his arm against Arizona State and threw his first touchdown as a Bruin on a 16-yard pass to Logan Loya. He finished the game 11-of-18 passing for 117 yards and had his fourth game with over 45 rushing yards, logging 51 against Arizona State.

But emotions still came after all was said and done.

“I kept asking him, ‘Are you good dude? You good?’ He was telling me what he was seeing out there on the field, what the O-line could do better or what he needed,” offensive lineman Josh Carlin said. “I think it was just one of those things where we needed to keep the high spirits, we couldn’t just go down in the dumps.”


UCLA was given six penalties on defense for a total loss of 61 yards against Arizona State. The Sun Devils were able to earn first downs on four of those penalties.

Grayson Murphy was dealt a personal foul penalty in the fourth quarter to give ASU a first down, and the Sun Devils capitalized on the opportunity by going 75 yards to score a touchdown with 3:07 left in the game.

Murphy’s personal foul was his third major penalty in as many games after an unsportsmanlike call in UCLA’s loss to Arizona and a roughing the passer call in the win over Colorado.

He continues to produce on defense, however, and had a sack for a loss of 7 yards and a tackle for a loss of 7 yards against Arizona State. The defense overall held the Sun Devils to 74 rushing yards, but gave up 176 passing yards.

“It’s a complete team sport,” defensive back Alex Johnson said. “You’re down when you are down, but when you’re up, you’re up – you do those things as a team. And I think we really just got to focus on rallying behind one another. Things can be tough right now but adversity is something that can either make or break you.”

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A 12:30 p.m. game time for Saturday’s rivalry matchup between UCLA and USC was announced on Monday morning. The game will be televised on ABC. It’s the second 12:30 kickoff for the Bruins and the second game that will be shown on ABC.

The Bruins are seeing the rivalry game as an opportune time to bounce back from two straight losses.

“Why not be a clean slate? Like we’ve got nothing to lose, we’ve got nothing to hold back,” Johnson said. “Just go into next week and let it all hang out. Just let loose. We’ve got zero to lose and just let it all hang out.”


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