Where do I even begin? This game was a rollercoaster of emotions and it ended in heart break as UCLA can’t finish their comeback as they fall 31-24 to the Texas A&M Aggies.
The tone of the game was set early as the Aggies were in Josh Rosen’s face early and often.
While being dragged down for a sack Rosen tossed up a duck only to have it intercepted by Priest Willis. The MVP for the Bruins in the entire first half was their kicker, JJ Molson. He accounted for every UCLA point scored in the entire first half while going 3/4 on the day.
Rosen had one of his worst games as a Bruin as he missed several open men for first downs and ended with three interceptions. Rosen’s ineffectiveness is not completely his fault. Texas A&M simply overpowered the UCLA offensive line and made Rosen’s afternoon hell. Myles Garrett showed why he’s one of the best defense ends in the nation with a sack as the Aggie defense totaled five on the day. The offensive line came into the game replacing three starters was out matched the whole day in the hostile environment that is Kyle Field. Rosen was uncomfortable the entire afternoon and showed his youth. The offensive line was not the only thing that gave coach Jim Mora and Rosen fits.
The UCLA receivers dropped several passes from Rosen that were absolute back breakers for the Bruin offense. One of the drops by Alex Van Dyke lead an interception for Rosen as he fired a bullet only to have it tipped up and caught by Justin Evans of A&M. This was not the most back breaking drop of the game; we will come back to that very soon.
The defense was impressive throughout the whole day. The third quarter was the only quarter in which the defense gave up multiple touchdowns in a quarter. The A&M lead was pushed to 24-9 and things looked bleak for the Bruins. And then the fourth quarter happened.
UCLA scores 15 unanswered points including a Bolu Olorunfunmi nine-yard touchdown and a 62-yard miracle pass to Kenneth Walker III that evened the game at 24 as we went to overtime.
UCLA won the toss and A&M got the first chance to punch one in and they did just that. After being stop on three straight downs, Trevor Knight walked into the end zone on a read option play and left the pressure squarely on young Rosen’s shoulders. Third and goal on the A&M six-yard mark was a microcosm of what hurt UCLA the entire game. Rosen throws a pass to Austin Roberts, the same tight end who caught the game tying two-point conversation drops a wide open touchdown and is defended well on fourth down to end the game and UCLA’s hopes of a road win in College Station.
Lost in the disappointment of Rosen and his pass catcher’s performance was the great game composed by Soso Jamabo. He ran for 98 yards on 23 carries and was UCLA’s workhorse the entire game. Rosen ended the game with 26-46 for 343 yards one touchdown and three interceptions. Texas A&M’s Justin Evans was the star of the A&M defense totaling 11 tackles and two clutch interceptions.
UCLA will look to bounce back from this disappointment with a cupcake game against UNLV.