UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen went through all the motions of playing in Tuesday night’s Cactus Bowl but as expected (and reported), the potential first round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft emerged for the coin toss in warmups after doctors would not clear him to go. Somewhat surprisingly as a result, his Bruins didn’t struggle all that much on offense with his absence and took a 17-7 lead over Kansas State into halftime at Chase Field.
Rosen’s replacement, Devon Modster, had his moments as both a passer and a runner. He finished the first two quarters with 215 yards passing and a pair of touchdown while also adding a dimension with his legs (19 yards). Jordan Lasley did most of the work on the team’s first big scoring play, racing 52 yards up the sideline off a quick pass and fishing the half with 90 yards all together. Fellow wideout Theo Howard got loose for the other touchdown, a 70-yard bomb off play action that completed fooled one of the better Big 12 defenses around.
J.J. Molson also chipped in a 44 yard field goal to open scoring in the game.
Skylar Thompson got the start at quarterback for the Wildcats but it was Alex Delton who proved to be the biggest threat behind center, rushing for a 68-yard touchdown on his first snap nearly untouched. Given the struggles that UCLA has had stopping the run, it was a bit shocking to see the team struggle somewhat to run the ball outside of that big play. Offensive line issues and injuries may have played a role in that but tailback Alex Barnes couldn’t find much room at all and had only 38 yards on the ground.
When it comes to halftime adjustments though, don’t put one past the ol’ Wizard as Bill Snyder is one of the best in the sport in that respect. Still, his opposite number in interim UCLA head coach Jedd Fisch has gotten the better of him so far and will be looking to close out a successful stint in Westwood with a bowl win out in the desert.