UCLA, Pitt's Sun Bowl Finish Thrills Twitter After Dorian Thompson-Robinson's Injury

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 30, 2022

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 25: Dorian Thompson-Robinson #1 of the UCLA Bruins scrambles with the ball against the California Golden Bears during the second quarter of an NCAA football game at California Memorial Stadium on November 25, 2022 in Berkeley, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Friday's Sun Bowl between the No. 18 UCLA Bruins and Pittsburgh Panthers left social media buzzing, as Pitt overcame a late deficit and hit a game-winning field goal with just four seconds remaining, giving the Panthers a 37-35 victory in El Paso, Texas.

UCLA led by as much as 14 in the second half, but Pittsburgh scored 20 unanswered points to take a six-point lead into the latter stages of the fourth quarter.

The Bruins seemed like they were out of it after senior quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson exited the final collegiate game of his career in the fourth quarter with an apparent back injury, but backup Ethan Garbers led a touchdown drive that put UCLA back up 35-34 with 34 seconds remaining:

CBS Sports @CBSSports

THE BRUINS TAKE THE LEAD WITH 0:34 SECONDS LEFT <a href="https://twitter.com/UCLAFootball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@UCLAFootball</a> <a href="https://t.co/bNxGIlmtdP">pic.twitter.com/bNxGIlmtdP</a>

Pitt quarterback Nick Patti came through in the clutch, though, completing 18- and 17-yard passes to Jared Wayne and Bub Means, respectively, before scrambling for 11 yards to set up kicker Ben Sauls' fifth successful field goal of the game:

CBS Sports @CBSSports

BEN SAULS DRILLS IT TO GIVE THE LEAD BACK TO <a href="https://twitter.com/Pitt_FB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Pitt_FB</a> <a href="https://t.co/bKnKsYVcfF">pic.twitter.com/bKnKsYVcfF</a>

Given the drama and back-and-forth nature of the matchup, observers on Twitter were left in a state of shock:

Shehan Jeyarajah @ShehanJeyarajah


RedditCFB @RedditCFB

The Sun Bowl is completely drunk. <a href="https://t.co/ngg2QWKp21">pic.twitter.com/ngg2QWKp21</a>

Ray Cartwright @RayCartwright

WOW what game the Sun Bowl was! πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯

𝕏𝔽 𝕃℀𝕆ℕ𝔼 @xflzone_ig


BrigadierπŸͺ–Bronco @BrigadierBronco

This Sun Bowl game is INSANE

Everybody'sGot1Pod @EverybodysG1Pod

What a finish in the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl! Wow!

Blake Heitman @blake_heitman

What a drive by Pitt!! What a finish in the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl!

Bill Bender @BillBender92

Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl verdict. <a href="https://t.co/B4XBQNLfIi">pic.twitter.com/B4XBQNLfIi</a>

Tod Hess @railfan514

The Sun Bowl has been the best bowl so far.

Wardo @mister_eddiee

Damn.. how does UCLA lose like that <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SunBowl?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SunBowl</a>

The No. 18 Bruins were in search of their first 10-win season since 2014 and seemed to be well on their way to getting there, but their offense largely stalled in the second half.

It was a tale of two halves for DTR, who put up big numbers and had UCLA ahead 21-14 at the break before a second-half collapse.

While Thompson-Robinson did throw three interceptions, he also tossed two touchdowns and rushed for another.

The senior signal-caller was on pace for over 500 passing yards, but he couldn't get anything going in the second half and went just 1-of-5 for seven yards with no touchdowns and one pick after the break.

UCLA extended its lead to 28-14 in the third quarter on a pick-six, but Pitt tied it up with two touchdowns, including one off Thompson-Robinson's third interception. DTR did not return after that pick, and while no official injury was announced, it was noted on the broadcast that he appeared to be getting his back worked on.

Even without Thompson-Robinson, the Bruins were in position to win the game, but their defense simply couldn't hold up.

UCLA head coach Chip Kelly will undoubtedly be second-guessed over some of the decisions he made in the loss, and the focus will now shift toward who will be under center for the Bruins next season following the departure of DTR.