Arena Sportsnet

Rosen Blooms For UCLA


PASADENA, CA. – In case you fell asleep early Sunday night, and I am guilty of such.  You missed a comeback for the ages.

Josh Rosen led a 2nd half charge that saw the UCLA Bruins erase a 44-10 deficit and defeat the Texas A&M Aggies 45-44 at the Rose Bowl.


Which prompts the obvious question: Why is Kevin Sumlin still employed?


The Aggies were dominant in the game until about 2:06 remained in the third period when Soso Jamabo rushed for a 6-yard touchdown to bring the Bruins within 44-17.


44-17 with a quarter left.  There’s no way that UCLA would come back.


No one told the Bruins that because they went right to work.  Especially Josh Rosen.


Darren Andrews hauled in a 9 yard TD pass with 13:02 left.  Now it’s 44-24.  Then Darren Andrews caught a 42 yard TD pass from Rosen to bring the Bruins within 44-31.  Five minutes later, Theo Howard took 16 yard TD pass and it was 44-38 with 3:10 left.


Time was running down.  The Aggies were shell-shocked.  The Bruins were not done.


UCLA got the ball back and marched downfield again with a chance to win.  Josh Rosen was right in the middle of it.  Then on the game winning play, Rosen pulled his final rabbit out of the bag. Using a fake spike (Dan Marino would have been proud) he fired a dart to Jordan Lasley from 10 yards out to complete the comeback.  The intent of the fake was to catch Texas A&M off guard, but the Aggies were already discombobulated by a series of breakdowns that had allowed UCLA back into the game.


45-44…..wait for it….BRUINS.    HOW do you explain that one??


Kevin Sumlin, it’s all your fault.  When you have a team down 38-10 at the half, on the road, on prime time, you KEEP PLAYING!  You do NOT – repeat – YOU DO NOT TAKE YOUR FOOT OFF THE PEDAL.


To illustrate this point think about this: Rosen threw for 292 yards and the four scoring passes in the final 15 minutes to overcome a 27-point margin.   Add this to the equation: UCLA scored touchdowns on five straight possessions after trailing 44-10 with 4:08 to play in the third quarter. Rosen threw touchdown passes of 9 and 42 yards to Darren Andrews before finding Theo Howard for a 16-yard score on a broken play with 3:08 remaining.


Oh by the way Rosen spent much of the game under constant and enormous pressure from the Aggies for the second straight season until mounting the stunning comeback. After being sacked five times last season in a 31-24 overtime loss at College Station, Rosen was dropped three times and lost two fumbles in his return after missing the final six games last year with a shoulder injury.


Then the fourth quarter of Sunday night happened.  Right in the shadow of Hollywood.  Go figure.


“We were an inch away from losing that game probably 10 times,” said Rosen, who threw for the third-most yards in a game in school history. “I mean, for God’s sakes, I mean, that field goal would have put us out, and we just had an incredible surge and effort just to put probably a centimeter of a finger on the ball. I mean, the things that had to go right to win this game were incredible.”


Final numbers for Rosen: 35 for 59, 491 yards and four touchdowns.


Did we mention that all four TDs came in the final stanza?


Trayveon Williams rushed for 203 yards and two touchdowns, and Keith Ford added 114 yards rushing and three touchdowns for Texas A&M. The Aggies lost for only the second time in six openers under coach Kevin Sumlin.  Which could be the ONLY reason Sumlin is still employed.


The Aggies completely dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, rushing for 382 yards and limiting UCLA to 70 yards on the ground. Williams had a 72-yard run where he bounced outside and raced down the UCLA sideline, which set up a 2-yard rushing touchdown by Ford, and the sophomore added a 61-yard scoring run late in the first half.


Then again, UCLA outgained Texas A&M 554-471.  And won despite committing the only three turnovers of the game.


Sumlin this week may be focusing on improvement, but has he found an explanation for this?  Better find one quick or that seat is going to get even hotter.