The best college quarterback in Los Angeles threw the ball at a concussive bolt, threw it while furiously rowing back, threw it perfectly and poetically.
In warm Saturday afternoon light at the Rose Bowl, Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw the ball to Logan Loya and into UCLA history.
Loya sprinted 70 yards around frozen Utah defenders for the crucial touchdown in the Bruins’ stunning 42-32 win. At this point, the best college quarterback in Los Angeles wonderfully lost his mind.
Thompson-Robinson hopped and jumped and danced wildly to the end zone. He ripped off his helmet and screamed at the sky. He traced the Bruins touchline and pumped his fists.
He had just overtaken Brett Hundley as the Bruins’ career leader in touchdown passes at 76. He had just scored five touchdowns to lead the Bruins to their best start in 17 years, a 6-0 record that should include a spot in the nation’s top 10.
And believe it, even with the great Caleb Williams playing across town, Thompson-Robinson had just staked his claim as the top quarterback in Los Angeles.
“We want more. We want more,” Thompson-Robinson said afterwards in his usual rasping postlude, his voice dead after three hours of screaming. “You said top 10. I want top 5. Want top 2. We want everything . We want more. I promise you, we want more. This is nothing compared to what we want.”
In his fifth season here, Thompson-Robinson just keeps giving — 15 touchdown passes, two interceptions, a 75% completion rate, 231 yards rushing and four rushing touchdowns so far.
In his latest Saturday masterpiece, he missed just five of 23 passes for 299 yards with four passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown and just the one late interception miss.
He owned the Utes, he owned the moment, and then, walking off the field in front of his teammates while roaring at the high sun, he owned the Rose Bowl.
What did he say exactly?
“I said, ‘This is our house,'” he said.
Of course he did. His skills and experience are shaped by his passion. so much passion Such a mighty pride. So many wonderful moments punctuated by screams and gestures and inspiration.
He threw boys into the ground. He threw guys into collisions. He has thrown countless perfect passes through narrow windows into the arms of grateful recipients.
And he’s done it with a selflessness that, when asked in the post-game press conference if he could break Hundley’s record, he literally tearfully answered.
“It’s great to have my name there but I think what makes me most emotional right now is seeing how happy my lads have been for me in my dressing room, the coaching staff, everyone who’s been here since me was a newbie,” he said, blinking hard through watery eyes. “I’m just thinking again about all the hard times I went through, all the back and forth, all the transitions throughout the program. Again, I just can’t express how grateful I am and how grateful I am to be on this team now.
On Saturday against the favored and defending Pac-12 champion Utes, he again magicked from start to finish, beginning with the Bruins’ third possession in a scoreless first quarter.
He threw a perfect sideline shot to Michael Ezeike for 49 yards. He then threw a perfect 23-yard slant to Titus Mokiao-Atimalala. Four games later, Thompson-Robinson sprinted seven yards wide, finishing with a leap over the goal line to eventually take a 7-0 lead.
fist pumps. Happy jumps. sound set.
“Really happy for him to see how he’s grown as a person and how he’s grown as a leader,” said coach Chip Kelly. “It’s cool to look at and well deserved.”
The Utes fought back continuously, but Thompson-Robinson countered each punch with a dramatic jab.
After a Utah field goal, a 7-yard touchdown followed diagonally to Jake Bobo. After a touchdown in Utah, a five-yard touchdown fastball for Kam Brown. After another touchdown in Utah, a 10-yard touchdown laser for Bobo. And Thompson-Robinson does it all while balancing this enormous chip that gets bigger every week. Keep ignoring UCLA and he’ll just keep cementing that ignorance and run with it.
“It’s even bigger,” he said of the chip. “In two weeks, when we go to Oregon, it’s going to get even bigger, and after that it’s going to get even bigger. I don’t care who we play against, everyone will mean business this year.”
He reiterated his mantra from last week’s win over then-undefeated Washington. He knows what the football nation thinks of the long-ignored Bruins and he’s using it as fuel.
“I read everything and it hurts when other people don’t give my boys credit, and I will do whatever I can to give these guys enough credit that they deserve,” he said.
There’s no part of this riveting UCLA season that’s more overlooked than Thompson-Robinson himself. He hasn’t been entered in a Heisman Trophy race…until now. And even in his own city, he’s been completely overshadowed by the arrival of USC’s Williams…until now.
I asked Thompson-Robinson if he felt personally overlooked, but before he could respond, he was cut off by Bobo, who has caught five touchdown passes in his last four games after catching just three in his last four seasons at Duke would have.
“Yes,” exclaimed Bobo.
But Thompson-Robinson was like, Heisman? Which Heismann? Not only does he do the right things, he also says the right things.
“It’s really the first time I’m thinking about it, I’m focusing on this team, that’s why I came back,” he said. “I didn’t come back for anything personal, I came back to make sure these guys are in a good place when I go here and to make sure I leave a legacy that’s known to be remembered and I think so , I’m a work This is pretty good work now and I’m just trying to push it further. I’m here for these guys, I’m not here for myself.”
No matter why he’s here, Dorian Thompson-Robinson is here and how. Undefeated leader. Heisman hopeful. The best college quarterback in Los Angeles.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/ucla/story/2022-10-08/dorian-thompson-robinson-ucla-best-quarterback-la-utah Dorian Thompson-Robinson beats Caleb Williams for best L.A. QB