UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen has received almost all of the attention for UCLA this year but took a bit of a back seat to his teammates on the other side of the ball on Saturday night.
The Bruins defense put together their best effort in a long, long time against BYU to leave Provo with a 17-14 win that was a much more dominant outing than the score line indicated.
The Cougars managed just 0.9 yards per rush, failed to get much of anything going in the passing game and saw quarterback Taysom Hill throw one interception and record four sacks. While there was plenty of issues on the BYU offense, the fact of the matter was that the team from Los Angeles simply had defenders that looked faster, stronger and quicker on just about every snap.
It was a good thing that the defense rose to the occasion for Jim Mora too because the Bruins offense still hasn’t found much of a rhythm this season outside of their quarterback making some NFL-caliber throws. Rosen finished the night 26-of-40 for 307 yards, two scores and a pick but was only able to pick up six third down conversions all game in a bit of a one-man effort.
Nate Starks made his season debut at tailback and rushed for 39 yards on 15 carries as part of a mediocre ground game against a tough BYU front seven. The team’s leading rusher, Soso Jamabo, did not even suit up for UCLA while backup Bolu Olorunfunmi chipped in with 15 yards in limited action.
The win rounds out the non-conference slate for the Bruins and sets up a big showdown next Saturday at the Rose Bowl with defending conference champion Stanford. The Cardinal have been the one team that Mora has not been able to solve since arriving in Westwood but if the defense plays like it did against BYU, it could be an interesting Pac-12 contest between the two division favorites.
Josh Rosen irked many Texas A&M fans earlier this week when he remarked that crowd noise sounds pretty much the same after 50,000 fans.
The 102,000-strong Kyle Field crowd gave Rosen an earful on Saturday before the Aggies’ defense ear-holed the star quarterback a few times during a back-and-forth 31-24 win over UCLA in overtime.
The Bruins signal-caller finished the game 26-of-46 for 343 yards and a score while rallying from 15 down in the 4th quarter to force overtime. As remarkable as he was during the closing minutes of regulation however, Rosen also tossed three interceptions (one off a tipped ball), was sacked five times and barely had time to catch his breath in the pocket after being under siege by the ‘Wrecking Crew’ front seven all game long.
Still, the quarterback hushed the crowd temporarily with just over a minute left thanks to an improbable 62-yard strike to Kenny Walker between two defenders (after dropping the snap initially). That score tied the game and caused a minor heart attack across the SEC. Rosen was unable to complete the comeback however, with a pair of incompletions in overtime sending the team back to Los Angeles with an 0-1 start to the season.
It may have been a miserable day for Oklahoma following their loss to Houston earlier in the day but two former Sooners helped A&M to victory in another part of the Lone Star State. Making his first start for the Aggies since transferring during the offseason, Trevor Knight scored the winning touchdown in overtime on a 4th down zone read from the one yard line to secure the win in a gutsy manner. He finished with mediocre passing numbers but came up clutch when the team needed it most with three scores, throwing for 239 yards and running for 31 more.
Fellow Oklahoma transfer Keith Ford also punched it into the end zone and had 65 yards rushing while true freshman Trayveon Williams chipped in 94 on the ground as well.
The narrow win for Texas A&M adverted a potential apocalyptic opening week for the SEC West, with Arkansas sneaking past Louisiana Tech by just a point, LSU falling to Wisconsin and South Alabama topping Mississippi State. The Aggies figure to move into the top 25 when polls are released after Labor Day and could be an early favorite to challenge No. 1 Alabama in the West given the other results around the division.
As for the Bruins, the loss won’t do anything to help the reputation of the Pac-12 as a conference with numerous good teams but no elite one. UCLA’s furious comeback was inspiring but ultimately still was one that fell short. Things don’t get any easier this month for the Pac-12 South favorites either, as they take on UNLV, BYU and Stanford to close out September.
On a weekend full of incredible college football games, one of the most interesting intersectional matchups involved Pac-12 South favorite UCLA heading into the heart of SEC territory to take on Texas A&M.
In what was a fairly even first half by both teams, the Aggies took a narrow 10-9 lead heading into the locker room but will be looking to make some adjustments after a slow start offensively. The Bruins have their own issues to address after coming away with just two field goals on two trips inside the A&M 10 yard line.
Quarterback Trevor Knight did advance the ball with both his arm and his legs during his first start for A&M after transferring over from Oklahoma. He ended the first half 14-of-21 for an even 100 yards while scrambling for another 13 on the ground. His favorite target in the passing game was not surprisingly Christian Kirk, who posted seven catches for 45 yards.
Keith Ford scored the first half’s only touchdown but it was teammate Trayveon Williams who led the Aggies in rushing with 61 yards on five carries.
A few days after riling up the 12th Man with comments about the potential crowd noise at Kyle Field, UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen was 11-of-19 passing for 131 yards. He also tossed an inexplicable interception early in the game when he attempted to throw the ball away while being dragged down, but the ball ended up being lofted into the hands of Daeshon Hall. Rosen did make some NFL-caliber throws against an active A&M defense but not enough to give the Bruins the lead at halftime.
Tailback Soso Jamabo also chipped in with 53 yards rushing for UCLA.
In a position battle NFL scouts no doubt had a close eye on, Bruins left tackle Connor McDermott did a solid job on potential No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett but the rest of the line was up and down against a fast John Chavis defense.
And now, the most interested you’ll ever be in a news item about a junior college football team.
Netflix has announced its future Emmy Award-winning (probably) documentary series “Last Chance U.” has been renewed for its second season. For the uninitiated, “Last Chance U.” follows junior college powerhouse East Mississippi Community College and the characters within through a season at the bottom of the college football totem pole.
“We are thrilled to continue our relationship with Greg Whiteley who has genuinely captured both the struggles and triumphs these young men face in a world that often seems designed to hold them back,” said Netflix VP of original documentary programming Lisa Nishimura said in a statement. “Coach Buddy Stephens, Academic Advisor Brittany Wagner and the entire team at EMCC have bravely opened their doors for the filmmakers to capture their real world as it unfolds. We eagerly anticipate having a front row seat as they continue to fight for their dreams in the coming season.”
The Lions went 8-1 last season but were disqualified from their attempt at a third straight national championship following a benches clearing brawl with Mississippi Delta last October.
Season 1 veteran John Franklin III is now amidst a quarterback derby for the starting job at Auburn, and fellow EMCC quarterback and “Last Chance U.” star Wyatt Roberts is now on the roster at Mississippi State. The Lions claim nine former players now on rosters in the NFL.
In August of last year, it was reported that the son of Snoop Dogg, wide receiver Cordell Broadus, would be leaving the UCLA football program to “to break away from the football life and pursue his own goals.” Seven months later, it was reported that Broadus had returned to the Bruins and would play for the Pac-12 school this season.
Five months after that? Never mind.
Monday, head coach Jim Mora confirmed that, once again, Broadus has left the program. According to Mora, Broadus, who said in his initial walking-away announcement that he played football so his famous father “would love me,” has decided to pursue other passions, including presumably modeling.
A four-star member of the Bruins’ 2015 recruiting class, Broadus was rated as the No. 27 receiver in the country and the No. 3 player at any position in the state of Nevada. Broadus was part of a pitched recruiting battle that saw the prospect opt for UCLA over cross-town rival USC, which is his father’s favorite school.
Broadus never played in a game during his time with the Bruins.