PULLMAN, Wash. - There is supposed to be beauty in patience, the willingness to wait for dividends, long after the work has been put in.
Forget that. UCLA was edgy, intolerant, not satisfied with simple progress.
Even a near-perfect fourth quarter on offense against Oregon State in Week 8 was not enough.
These Bruins needed a win, craved it, hungered for it, thirsted for it, begged and borrowed and pleaded for it.
By one point or a thousand, UCLA needed to beat Washington in Week 9 as much for its bowl chances this season as its future optimism.
And one point it was, a 24-23 victory over the Huskies last Saturday at the Rose Bowl that was not nearly perfect but was essential, flawed or otherwise.
As the Bruins prepared for downtrodden Washington State this week, they savored their first win in more than a month, a loss spanning five games but an eternity after a 3-0 start.
They prepared for the 1-8 Cougars, who might be without starting quarterback Jeff Tuel (injured kneecap) and whose rankings place them near the bottom of all Football Bowl Subdivision schools, as if they were preparing for the 1967 Green Bay Packers.
That is what one win wrought: A renewed enthusiasm, a spike in energy and even dreams of that elusive bowl game.
"That win was a momentum booster for us," UCLA sophomore defensive end Datone Jones said. "The whole team was down that we lost five games in a row. We won three in a row, we're on top of the world and our world came crashing down on us. That one win against a good team helped us push forward. Now we know how it feels to win again."
All indications are they'll be hooked on the feeling again today.
Despite five turnovers against the Huskies, the UCLA offense is playing with a confidence and rhythm unseen this season, even in its 3-0 start. As it so often does, it has started up front as the offensive line has provided ample protection for redshirt freshman quarterback Kevin Prince - and senior quarterback Kevin Craft after Prince suffered a concussion in the second quarter against the Huskies - in the past five quarters.
Albeit against opposing defenses in Oregon State and Washington that rank 91st and 112th, respectively, in the country in sacks, the protection has allowed Prince and Craft to operate with precision. They have combined for 569 yards and four touchdowns in the past five quarters.
All it took, it seems, was a simple conversation between Prince and UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel.
Before Prince took the field with just more than 10 minutes left against the Beavers, Neuheisel told his budding young protege to have faith in his receivers, to throw the ball into murky waters and believe his tall targets - sophomores Nelson Rosario and Taylor Embree - and his small but shifty option, senior Terrence Austin, would come up with it.
"This whole season has been about developing a whole trust with the offense, and I think it's finally clicked," said Prince, who showed no ill effects this week after the concussion and has been fully cleared to play. "I don't know if it's what coach Neuheisel said to me or just kind of what our game plan was. We were going into the (Oregon State) game saying we were going to throw fade balls. We were going to make our receivers work for it. Executing that game plan showed us, `Wow, we can do this."'
UCLA came up short against the Beavers. After the Bruins tied the score with just more than two minutes left in Corvallis, Oregon State drove down the field in less than two minutes and wideout James Rodgers ran the ball in for the winning score.
The same did not happen last week, although with three fumbles and two interceptions the Bruins seemed willing to give the game away.
Now, with back-to-back games against the dregs of the conference in Washington State and Arizona State, UCLA can build some momentum.
"Although it's great to not be at the bottom anymore, kinda be on our way up, it's more important that we're improving every week," Bruins senior tight end Logan Paulsen said. "We kind of got that rhythm, and the hardest thing for a young offense is to find that rhythm. Early in the season we had it in moments, but we lost it a little bit for five games.
"Oregon State, we got it back. We felt it."