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UCLA scores 35 unanswered points to beat Texas A&M, 45-44

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The Bruins were dominated for nearly three quarters of the game but were able to erase a 34-point deficit to defeat the Aggies in the season opener for both teams.

UCLA completes improbable comeback for a 45-44 victory over Texas A&M

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen tries to scramble away from the pressure of Texas A&M linebacker Tyler Dodson in the second quarter.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The seemingly impossible happened Sunday at the Rose Bowl.

UCLA completed a comeback from a 34-point deficit with 35 unanswered points starting late in the third quarter, pulling out a stunning 45-44 victory over Texas A&M in the Bruins’ season opener at the Rose Bowl.

Two plays after UCLA receiver Jordan Lasley dropped a third-down pass at the first-down marker, he pulled in a 10-yard touchdown pass with 43 seconds left, twisting his body in the back of the end zone to make the catch and tie the score.

UCLA’s J.J. Molson then booted the most meaningful extra point of his career through the uprights to nudge the Bruins ahead for the biggest comeback in school history.

The Bruins (1-0) then stopped Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond a yard short short of a first down on fourth and 10 after a lengthy review. After the final snap, several Bruins sprinted over to the student section to celebrate. Their teammates soon followed.

Rosen completed 35 of 59 passes for a career-high 491 yards and four touchdowns, including 292 yards and all four touchdowns in the fourth quarter. He got lucky twice, floating a pass that should have been intercepted but instead went for a 42-yard touchdown to Darren Andrews. He also threw off his back foot with a defender in his face to complete a 16-yard touchdown to Theo Howard.

Caleb Wilson led the UCLA receivers with 15 catches for 203 yards, both career highs.

Trayveon Williams had 203 yards rushing for Texas A&M (0-1), which was held to 58 yards in the fourth quarter.

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UCLA has scored 35 unanswered points, takes a 45-44 lead

Things have officially gotten crazy at the Rose Bowl.

Josh Rosen completed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Lasley in the back corner of the end zone, Lasley spinning his body to make the catch and give UCLA a 45-44 lead over Texas A&M with 43 seconds left.

Lasley had just dropped a third-down pass.

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UCLA pulls within one possession, 44-38, with 3:10 left

The thing about big early leads is that there’s plenty of time for them to fizzle.

Texas A&M is learning that the hard way. UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, throwing off his back foot with the Aggies pass rush in his face, thew a pass up for grabs and Theo Howard caught it in the front part of the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown.

The Bruins’ deficit is only 44-38, and fans are chanting “Defense!” with three minutes left.

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UCLA gets a fortunate touchdown, now trails 44-31 with 8:12 left in the game

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen floated the pass. Texas A&M nickel back Deshawn Capers-Smith was in position to intercept it.

The ball skipped through Capers-Smith’s hands and into those of Bruins receiver Darren Andrews, who scooted into the end zone for a 42-yard touchdown.

It’s suddenly a two-score game, Texas A&M’s lead down to 44-31 with 8:12 remaining. Bruins fans are standing and roaring.

It’s getting interesting, at the very least.

Andrews has two touchdown catches.

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Josh Rosen heating up, but it’s probably too late as UCLA trails, 44-24

Josh Rosen is starting to find some rhythm. Unfortunately for him, it’s already the fourth quarter and his team is down big.

Rosen connected with Darren Andrews for a nine-yard touchdown to shave Texas A&M’s lead to 44-24 with 13:22 left in the game.

UCLA tight end Caleb Williams is quietly having a big game with 10 catches for 144 yards. Rosen has completed 21 of 39 passes for 276 yards and a touchdown.

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Soso Jamabo touchdown run cuts UCLA deficit to 44-17

UCLA has a running game? Well, at least on one play.

Soso Jamabo cut outside for a six-yard touchdown run that dropped the Bruins’ deficit to 44-17 late in the third quarter. Jamabo has been the team’s most effective runner, gaining 29 yards in five carries for 5.8 yards per carry.

Bolu Olorunfunmi has averaged 3.1 yards per carry in his 10 attempts.

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Texas A&M tacks on another field goal to take a 44-10 lead in third quarter

It’s all going to be just details the rest of the way.

Texas A&M went 41 yards on its latest drive, leading to a 48-yard field goal by Daniel LaCamera that gave the Aggies a 44-10 lead with 4:08 left in the third quarter.

UCLA has 165 yards of offense with 40 on the ground to this point.

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Texas A&M extends its lead to 41-10 early in third quarter

It apparently can get worse for UCLA.

Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen, who limped off the field after being sacked late in the second quarter, fumbled while being sacked on the Bruins’ first possession of the third quarter.

Texas A&M took over in UCLA territory, then Daniel LaCamera kicked a 32-yard field goal to extend the Aggies’ lead to 41-10 with 9:57 left in the third quarter.

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Texas A&M has an immediate answer, goes up 38-10

The feel-good vibes from UCLA’s first touchdown didn’t last long.

On the next play from scrimmage, Texas A&M’s Trayveon Williams ran for a 61-yard touchdown to give the Aggies a 38-10 lead late in the second quarter.

UCLA’s defense has not been good, to put it mildly. Texas A&M has amassed 337 yards of offense, including 281 on the ground.

This is shaping up to be a game where a deep dive into the record books may be needed.

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UCLA gets its first touchdown, still trails 31-10 late in second quarter

UCLA fans showered the Bruins with mock applause when Bolu Olorunfunmi ran for the team’s first first down since its opening drive.

Then UCLA receiver Jordan Lasley gave the Bruins something legitimate to cheer when he hauled in a 54-yard pass from Josh Rosen, giving his team the ball at the two-yard line. UCLA tailback Jalen Starks ran it in from there, pulling the Bruins to within three touchdowns at 31-10.

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Texas A&M can’t be stopped, takes a 31-3 lead with 4:11 left in second quarter

It just keeps getting worse for UCLA.

Texas A&M went with its running quarterback, Kellen Mond, and the Bruins failed to account for him on a couple of third-down scrambles that led to first downs.

The Aggies then padded their lead with a one-yard touchdown run by Keith Ford to take a 31-3 lead. That’s Ford’s third touchdown and there’s still more than a half to play.

UCLA’s run defense is essentially nonexistent, with Texas A&M having rushed for 220 yards and averaging 6.7 yards per carry.

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Texas A&M goes 99 yards to take a 24-3 lead

UCLA looked like it might have finally scored a victory when another great Stefan Flintoft punt pinned Texas A&M at its own one-yard line.

Nope.

The Aggies drove virtually the entire length of the field, Trayveon Williams gashing the Bruins defense for a 72-yard run that would have been a touchdown save for a flying tackle by UCLA’s Nate Meadors.

It didn’t matter, however, because tailback Keith Ford eventually scored from two yards out to give the Aggies a 24-3 lead with 11:38 left in the second quarter.

Texas A&M has already rushed for 164 yards with an average of 7.5 yards per carry.

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Another UCLA turnover leads to a 17-3 deficit

UCLA’s offense keeps putting its defense in a bad spot.

Bolu Olorunfunmi fumbled after a five-yard gain, giving Texas A&M the ball at the Bruins’ 20-yard line. Trayveon Williams cut outside three plays later for a two-yard touchdown run that gave the Aggies a 17-3 lead.

That’s two consecutive turnovers in two plays for the Bruins after Josh Rosen had fumbled on the previous offensive play.

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Texas A&M ups its lead to 10-3 after big defensive play

Texas A&M made a big defensive play but didn’t do much with it.

Aggies defensive end Jarrett Johnson knocked the ball out of UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen’s hand as Rosen cocked his arm back to throw. Aggies safety Armani Watts recovered and raced to the UCLA three-yard line.

But two incompletions and a two-yard run later, Texas A&M opted to kick a 19-yard field goal that gave the Aggies a 10-3 lead with 5:11 left in the first quarter.

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Texas A&M scores on first drive, takes 7-3 lead over UCLA

Texas A&M had an answer for UCLA’s early score.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Nick Starkel found some success passing and then the Aggies got in a groove running the ball, with tailback Keith Ford scoring on a five-yard run to give Texas A&M a 7-3 lead ovver UCLA midway through the first quarter of the teams’ season opener Sunday at the Rose Bowl.

Bruins cornerback Darnay Holmes set up the touchdown with a late hit out of bounds on the previous play, giving Texas A&M a first down at the five-yard line.

Starkel completed all three of his passes for 39 yards on the drive.

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UCLA takes an early 3-0 lead over Texas A&M

UCLA scored first in its season opener.

The Bruins drove 53 yards in 13 plays on their first drive, quarterback Josh Rosen completing a pair of third-down passes along the way, before J.J. Molson kicked a 29-yard field goal to give his team a 3-0 lead over Texas A&M early in the first quarter of their game Sunday at the Rose Bowl.

Rosen completed four of eight passes for 31 yards on the drive, throwing the ball away on third down while being chased before the field goal. Bolu Olorunfunmi had three carries for nine yards.

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Texas A&M wins toss and defers; UCLA will receive kickoff

Texas A&M won the toss and deferred until the second half, prompting UCLA to choose to receive the ball first in its season opener on Sunday at the Rose Bowl.

Former UCLA defensive back Kermit Alexander served as the honorary captain for the Bruins.

Kickoff is shortly.

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UCLA and Texas A&M preparing to kick off

UCLA is closing in on kickoff of the Do-Over Bowl, a season opener the Bruins hope goes vastly different than the one they endured exactly one calendar year ago.

Texas A&M prevailed in that game, 31-24, in overtime after UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen’s final pass fell incomplete near the end zone, capping a day of frustration in which Rosen had three passes intercepted and was sacked five times.

The conditions will be hot again, with temperatures at the Rose Bowl well into the 90s as game time approaches. The Bruins hope the similarities end there and they can start to erase the putrid taste of last season’s 4-8 record.

Rosen will be making his first appearance in 11 months after sustaining a season-ending shoulder injury in October against Arizona State. He looked locked in over the final portion of training camp and will be playing in his first game under the guidance of Jedd Fisch, UCLA’s new offensive coordinator.

The Bruins will also try to establish some sort of running game after averaging only 84.3 yards a game last season, ranking next to last among major college teams.

Texas A&M wants to get off to its typical good start. The Aggies started 6-0 in 2016, 5-0 in 2015 and 5-0 in 2014.

Skies were party cloudy before kickoff with lightning in the area that prompted officials to advise fans to seek shelter in their vehicles or buses at the stadium.

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What to expect when UCLA and Texas A&M take the field

Quarterback Josh Rosen and UCLA get a second chance to earn a victory over Texas A&M as they open the season on Sunday in a rematch.
(Bob Levey / Getty Images)

A look at the matchups for the seaon-opening game Sunday at the Rose Bowl.

Texas A&M (0-0) vs. UCLA (0-0)

Sunday, 4:30 p.m., Rose Bowl. TV: Channel 11. Radio: AM 570

Marquee matchup

Christian Kirk was a recruit UCLA badly wanted, and the Bruins are going to get him … trying to run them off the Rose Bowl turf. The Texas A&M receiver and punt returner was held in check last season during the Aggies’ 31-24 overtime victory over the Bruins in College Station, Texas, finishing with eight catches for 58 yards. The preseason All-American likely will be his team’s top target Sunday.

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The Bruins look to avenge last season’s opening loss to Aggies

UCLA tight end Austin Roberts bobbles a potential touchdown pass at the goal line during the Bruins' overtime loss to Texas A&M a year ago.
(Sam Craft / Associated Press)

The play happened late in UCLA’s last season opener, one calendar year and what might seem like a lifetime ago in the world of a college football player.

It developed exactly as intended. Tight end Austin Roberts had the defensive back beat by a few steps on third and goal as he raced toward the front corner of the end zone. Quarterback Josh Rosen, scurrying away from a pass rush that had sacked him five times, threw the ball where only Roberts could catch it. The Bruins needed the touchdown to force a second overtime against Texas A&M.

Roberts stretched out his white-gloved hands. The ball struck his thumb and forefingers and tumbled toward the turf. Roberts held his hands toward his face in disbelief.

If time heals all wounds, then more will need to pass before Roberts can fully get over the play that symbolized a crushing defeat and what would become a lost season for the Bruins.

“I’ve kind of replayed that every day this week,” Roberts said Thursday of the next-to-last play during UCLA’s 31-24 setback against the Aggies, “just reminding myself that I’m not trying to have any repeats of that and trying to make sure that it doesn’t happen” again.

That makes Sunday something of a do-over for Roberts and the Bruins. They will face Texas A&M once more in a season opener, this time at the Rose Bowl in what could be a palate cleanser for that year-old yucky taste.

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