Dedicated to the HATRED of all things trOJan


Heart in Texas — UCLA shows valiant heart, coming back from a 15-point deficit in the final 5 minutes to tie the game, but continued mistakes, including Rosen’s third Interception, plus a dropped TD pass in the end zone in OT, lead to a Texas A&M 31-24 victory

Three interceptions, two wide open Receivers missed on errant passes, a dropped Interception, about four dropped passes that might have been Touchdowns, and even a Coaching Time Management error that probably cost the Bruins 3 points before Halftime — All of these added up to destroy one of the best UCLA comebacks in recent Bruin history.  With the Bruins unable to protect QB Josh Rosen from a devastating Aggie pass rush, UCLA fell down to a 24-9 deficit in the second half of the season opener in Texas.  And just when fans started leaving and Bruins online were throwing in the towel, the Bruin Offense and Defense came alive, storming back to tie it up with under 3 minutes to go.  They even got the ball back again with a chance to win, but Rosen got picked off for the third time to end the threat.

A fantastic defensive pass break-up by Adarius Pickett, who had already snagged an INT earlier, saved the Bruins and got the game into OT.  The Aggies took the first OT possession and scored on a QB run, so the Bruins needed a TD to extend the game.  Rosen looked like he got it on 3rd and goal, but Tight End Austin Roberts, who had caught the game-tying 2-point conversion, dropped the ball that hit him in the hands.  On 4th down, Rosen was pressured mightily, like he was for most of the game, and his desperation pass into traffic was broken up to end the game.

Rosen ended up with 342 Passing yards, and Soso Jamabo racked up 91 yards on the ground.  Bolu Olorunfunmi gained 48 Rushing yards, and added an amazing TD where he was tackled but his knees never hit the ground.  Rosen’s lone TD pass went to Kenneth Walker III for 62 yards, on a fantastic fingertip catch.  Walker had 6 catches for 115 yards.  The Bruins gained 468 yards, but I’d still call Kennedy Polamalu’s debut effort as Offensive Coordinator a failure.  He failed to adjust to the A&M pass rush, and the mistakes, drops, missed assignments, etc. outweighed the good things.  Play calling was unimaginative, and he failed to use Screens and Draws to slow down the pass rush.  The people he put in position to make a difference didn’t, as (for instance) Jordan Lasley dropped a sure TD pass, and Alex Van Dyke dropped an easy catch that ricocheted off his hands into an Interception.  Can you blame him for those drops?  Maybe.  Why were those back-ups in, getting their numbers called, while we were down by 15?  There is hope, though, that he will see the light after viewing the film.  His ignorance and inexperience will be clearly evident on the replay.  It was a pathetic effort, but not the worst day ever for a Kennedy in Texas.

On Defense, there were less frustrating, infuriating moments.  Tahaan Goodman may have been the MVP, with a Forced Fumble on a strip, two or three really hard hits for tackles, and a good pass coverage on a pass in the end zone.  He also broke up the Hail Mary at the end of regulation.  The D-backs looks pretty good in general, but the Aggie Star Receiver Christian Kirk was able to catch 8 passes.  He was the one guy that should have been covered — or double-covered — all the time.  Marcus Rios got beat for a TD, and Fabian Moreau dropped an Interception, and got flagged for a Defensive Holding penalty in the end zone.  But in the final minutes, the Defense forced two quick do-or-die three-and-outs, giving Bruin fans hope that they can be tough when it’s needed most.

On Special Teams, new Kicker J.J. Molson made three short Field Goals, but missed a 48-yarder wide right.  He had the distance though, so he should be okay this year.  He kicked a few Kickoffs into the end zone, but also had a few short ones that led to TD drives.  The Bruins’ Special Teams Coaching/Prep was weak, as one time for a FG they lined up with only 10 guys, and on a PAT Block, they lined up with 12.  These mistakes are unacceptable.  Kick and Punt coverage was fine, but no big returns were made by the Bruins either, even with elusive speedster Ishmael Adams receiving the ball.

Next week is UNLV at the Rose Bowl, so all three facets of the team will look markedly better.  Teams always improve after their first game.  And the Bruins have a lot of issues to clean up… but a lot of potential, and obviously, a lot of heart.

"MIS-STAKES THROUGH THE HEART" was published on September 3rd, 2016 and is listed in Blue & Gold News.

Copyright © 2007 All photos and stories herein are sole property of
Any commercial re-use without express written permission is strictly prohibited, and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.