Just as the Rose Bowl was starting to rock, a Derrick Coleman 20-yard touchdown giving the UCLA football team a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter, the Bruins were brought alarmingly back down to earth in their 31-14 win over Cal on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl.
After smashing into Bears running back Isi Sofele on 1st-and-10 at UCLA 26-yard line, sophomore safety Dietrich Riley fell to the ground and did not move.
He stayed on the ground for an extended period before being placed onto a stretcher and carted off the field, at which point he waved to the crowd and gave thumbs up. Riley was taken immediately to Huntington Hospital for tests, which all came out negative, and a UCLA athletics department spokesman said later that Riley had regained feeling and movement in all his extremities.
“I think it was a stinger where he felt like he couldn’t feel anything and then the feeling came back,” UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel said. “Caution is the order of the day, and they took care of him.”
The Bruins were visibly shaken by the play but rallied quickly, with redshirt freshman safety Tevin McDonald intercepting a Zach Maynard pass just two plays later.
Players were almost in tears in the locker room describing the play, even after they’d heard the news that Riley was seemingly OK.
“I’ve known Dietrich since high school, and he and I are locker neighbors – we joke around a lot – so to see him to go down almost brought me to tears,” junior defensive end Datone Jones said. “We did it for him.”