UCLA takes step back with loss

PASADENA -- After fighting back the entire second half Saturday night, Jim Mora was done fighting as he walked off the field following UCLA's 38-33 loss to Arizona State.

UCLA's second-year coach had been unimpressed following the Bruins' previous two losses this season on the road to Stanford and Oregon. He talked about not being satisfied with just being close to beating the two teams that had become the class of the Pac-12 Conference, and how UCLA was about bigger and better things than that.

Saturday was the first step toward those bigger and better things. It was an opportunity for the Bruins to control their own destiny in winning the Pac-12 South and playing in the Pac-12 championship game. They didn't have to go on the road and beat a top-five team to make it happen. They had to beat a team ranked lower than them at home and they couldn't do it.

Not only could they not do it, they showed up late to the fight, falling behind 35-13 at halftime before making it a game in the second half.

The comeback bid ultimately fell short, as did UCLA's bid to win the Pac-12 South and play in the conference championship game for the third straight season. Instead, the Bruins were forced to watch Sun Devils players celebrate on their field and in front of their fans behind the north end zone.

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