Bruins able to avenge season-opening loss with 42-21 victory over Rebels
The celebration was subdued because, in the end, the win came easy for UCLA.
So easy that Josh Rosen watched from the sideline as backup quarterback Mike Fafaul put the finishing touches on the Bruins’ 42-21 win over Nevada Las Vegas (1-1) at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night.
UCLA (1-1) avenged its season-opening loss to Texas A&M by jumping on the Runnin’ Rebels (1-1) from the start. Aside from a few erratic plays as the second quarter wound down, UCLA scored on all four of its full possessions before halftime.
And even though the offense fell out of a rhythm in the third quarter, its early efficiency was enough to help the Bruins avoid their first 0-2 start since 2010.
Soso Jamabo punctuated a 14-play drive with a three-yard touchdown run for the Bruins’ first score. A possession later, he ran to the left sideline, stopped on a dime, spun around, ran the width of the field and then tiptoed the opposite sideline on his way to a 23-yard score.
Rosen, who methodically completed 15 of 21 passes for 155 yards in the first half, found Mossi Johnson for a 29-yard touchdown to push UCLA ahead 21-7. Then Jamabo scored his third first-half score from seven yards out.
But the Bruins couldn’t shake the Runnin’ Rebels — who scored right before the half to make it 28-14 — and flat-lined out of the break.
After UCLA running back Jalen Starks fumbled on his second carry of the season, UNLV drew even closer. With just over five minutes left in the third quarter, Runnin’ Rebels quarterback Johnny Stanton scrambled up the middle 11 yards untouched into the end zone.
The Bruins’ offense continued to sleep through the second half. Jamabo and wide receiver Ishmael Adams each saw passes bounce off their hands and to the Rose Bowl grass one drive. Then, just as another drive was fizzling, UNLV defensive back Kenny Keys was called for targeting on Eldridge Massington.
Keys was ejected. UCLA was gifted a trip into Runnin’ Rebels territory. Four plays later, Bolu Olorunfunmi rumbled past the goal line from one yard out to stretch the Bruins’ lead to 35-21.
UNLV’s offense, grasping to get its momentum back, jogged onto the field and then jogged off it less than a minute later.
That proved to be its last chance to claw back into it, as the Bruins drained close to six minutes of game clock before Rosen dove for a one-yard touchdown.
Then the star quarterback exited the game, his work finished and lit up by the scoreboard.
Slideshow: Images from the Bruins’ game against the Rebels
UCLA forces a turnover on downs to keep UNLV three scores away
Down three scores and grasping at straws, UNLV’s offense exited the field after four passes failed to net a first down.
Runnin’ Rebels quarterback Johnny Stanton found Darren Woods Jr. for a nine-yard gain on third down, but UCLA safety Randall Goforth broke up a pass a play later to force a turnover on downs.
It was a punctuation mark for Goforth’s day, which included two interceptions while the Bruins built their 42-41 lead.
UCLA leads UNLV, 42-21, in the fourth
Josh Rosen kept the ball and rushed one yard for a UCLA touchdown and the Bruins lead UNLV, 42-21 in the fourth quarter.
The scoring drive covered 88 yards in 13 plays.
UCLA kept the clock running on the series, it took 5:03.
Soso Jamabo rushed for 17 yards in three consecutive carries to start the series.
Rosen completed two passes to fullback Ainuu Taua for nine yards and seven yards.
Jalen Starks also carried the ball several times for gains of six, ten and even yards.
This game looks safely out of UNLV’s reach.
UCLA’s Fabian Moreau makes big play on third down
Fabian Moreau broke up a third-down pass attempt by Johnny Stanton and UNLV punted.
Stanton threw an incomplete pass to start the drive and then rushed for three yards on second down.
It was one of UCLA’s best defensive drives of the game after several series that left much to be desired.
UCLA gets the ball back with 10:37 left in the game and a two-score lead, 35-21.
UCLA leads UNVL, 35-21, in the fourth quarter
Bolu Olorunfunmi rushed for one yard and a touchdown. UCLA leads UNLV, 35-21, in the fourth quarter.
The Bruins’ scoring drive covered 73 yards in 10 plays and took three minutes off the clock.
Josh Rosen has completed 20 of 35 passes for 234 yards and a touchdown.
Most of his incompletions have been because of dropped passes by receivers.
Rosen completed a 20-yard and 23-yard pass to Jordan Lasley on the drive.
UNLV safety Kenny Keys Jr. was ejected from the game after he was called for targetting against Eldridge Massington.
UCLA defense finally stops UNLV on third down
Kenny Young made a big play on defense and sacked Johnny Stanton for an eight yard loss.
The Bruins have allowed UNLV to convert on third down eight of 12 times, including twice on this drive.
UCLA’s defense looks flat and its best player, Eddie Vanderdoes, is on the sideline.
UCLA receivers can’t hold onto the football
Josh Rosen’s receivers have done him no favors tonight.
Five consecutive incompletions in the past two series and this one results in a three and out.
Rosen targeted Soso Jamabo twice - but he dropped both passes.
UCLA punted and UNLV has a chance to tie the game.
UCLA leads UNLV, 28-21, in the third quarter
Randall Goforth intercepted Johnny Stanton a second time, but UCLA fumbled, UNLV recovered and converted the turnover into a touchdown.
Johnny Stanton rushed 11 yards into the end zone, untouched, and UNLV has made it a one-score game in the third quarter, down 28-21.
The scoring drive covered 60 yards in 11 plays.
Soso Jamabo rushed for a long gain before freshman Jalen Starks fumbled the ball.
UNLV recovered and tore apart the Bruins defense, converting three times on third down - including twice on third and long.
UCLA slowed by penalties to start second half
Penalties plagued UCLA to start the third quarter and the Bruins were forced to punt.
Rosen completed consecutive passes to Eldridge Massington for 10 yards and 13 yards to start the drive.
But Kolton Miller was called for a false start and Darren Andrews was flagged two plays later for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Rosen was sacked on third down.
UCLA vs. UNLV halftime stats
Apologies for statistic delays, UCLA’s live feed is not working and they’re going old school here in the press box.
Josh Rosen has completed 15 of 21 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown.
Brandon Stephens has rushed for 42 yards in four carries.
Soso Jamabo has rushed for 42 yards and three touchdowns in six carries.
Ishmael Adams has caught four passes for 41 yards.
For UNLV, Johnny Stanton has completed seven of 15 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown, with an interception.
Lexington Thomas has rushed for 53 yards and a touchdown in 11 carries.
Devonte Boyd has caught five passes for 84 yards.
UCLA leads UNLV, 28-14, at halftime
Johnny Stanton completed a 14-yard pass for a touchdown to Mekhi Stevenson.
UCLA leads UNLV, 28-14, in the second quarter.
The scoring drive covered 76 yards in 10 plays and took 3:07.
UCLA defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes was on the bench for the series.
Linebacker Jayon Brown watched a Stanton pass fly right through his hands before he laid on the turf, knowing he should have intercepted it.
Stanton has completed seven of 15 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown, with an interception.
UCLA leads UNLV, 28-7, in the second quarter
Soso Jamabo rushed for seven yards and his second touchdown of the game. UCLA leads UNLV, 28-7, in the second quarter.
The scoring drive covered 21 yards in six plays and ran 2:52 off the clock.
It was setup by a Randall Goforth interception. The Bruins put pressure on UNLV quarterback Johnny Stanton and Goforth made the pick and returned it 52 yards.
Jamabo rushed for nine yards in three consecutive carries before Bolu Olorunfunmi converted on fourth and one to setup the touchdown run.
This game has gotten out of hand quickly.
UCLA leads UNLV, 21-7, in the third quarter
Josh Rosen completed a 29-yard pass through the middle to Mossi Johsnon for a UCLA touchdown.
What a pass by Rosen.
UCLA covered 75 yards in seven plays and took 3:12 off the clock.
Rosen stared the drive with a 15-yard complete to Theo Howard.
Brandon Stephens, a freshman from Texas, is having a breakout game. He rushed for 22 yards in one carry on the drive. He has rushed for 42 yards in four carries.
UNLV goes three and out for second time
UCLA’s defense forced a three-and-out by UNLV for the second time.
Johnny Stanton threw an incomplete pass before he was taken down on the next play after gaining two yards.
On third and eight, Stanton completed a short pass far short of a first down.
UCLA leads UNLV, 14-7, in the second quarter
Josh Rosen blocked a defensive lineman and Soso Jamabo rushed for -- yards and a touchdown.
The scoring drive covered xx plays in xx yards and took xx off the clock.
UCLA leads UNLV, 14-0, in the second quarter.
Rosen has completed 10 of 15 passes for 96 yards. Several of his incompletions have been dropped passes.
The offensive line has been called for four penalties, three on this drive. One penalty by Scott Quessenberry brought back a deep completion from Rosen to Kenny Walker.
UCLA and UNLV tied, 7-7, in the first quarter
UCLA’s defense couldn’t stop the run.
Where have you heard that before?
Lexington Thomas rushed for 12 yards and a UNLV touchdown to tie the game, 7-7, in the first quarter.
Quarterback Johnny Stanton, on third and 13, saw a wide open lane and took off running for a 14-yard gain to setup the touchdown carry.
Thomas has rushed for 43 yards in seven carries.
Stanton has completed one of five passes for 16 yards.
UCLA leads UNLV, 7-0, in first quarter
Soso Jamabo rushed for three yards and a UCLA touchdown. The Bruins lead UNLV, 7-0.
The scoring drive covered 71 yards in 14 plays and took 5:40 off the clock.
Josh Rosen completed passes to Kenny Walker, Darren Andrews, Ishmael Adams and Alex Van Dyke in the series.
He threw six consecutive passes to start the game.
Walker also dropped a deep pass from Rosen that could have resulted in a touchdown.
On second and 25, Jamabo rushed for 22 yards before a Rosen pass fell incoplete. The Bruins went for it on fourth and three and Rosen completed a pass to Adams for a first down to setup the touchdown run.
UCLA defers to second half, defends holds on first series
UNLV quarterback Johnny Stanton took aim deep on his first play of the game, but his receiver - who beat cornerback Nate Meadors into the open field - dropped the pass.
The next to plays stalled and UNLV punted.
UCLA won the toss and deferred to the second half.
UCLA’s Nate Starks is not suited to play
UCLA running back Nate Starks is not on the field for warm ups.
Starks did not travel to College Station, Texas last week to play Texas A&M.
Coach Jim Mora did not disclose why Starks did not play against the Aggies.
Mora told reporters this week that Starks would be a game-time decision. “I’d have to decide to play him,” Mora said.
Starks was dismissed from Bishop Gorman High in 2013 for violating school rules. UNLV is now coached former Gorman coach Tony Sanchez.
UCLA and UNLV kick off in an hour
It is 86 degrees in Pasadena and all is quiet around and in the Rose Bowl with an hour until kickoff for the game between UCLA and UNLV.
Keep in mind, in case the crowd seems sparse, that UCLA does not begin school until Sept. 22, so many students will not attend the game.
Josh Rosen and the Bruins are looking for their first win of the season after an overtime loss in Week 1 against Texas A&M in College Station, Texas.
UNLV quarterback Johnny Stanton played at Santa Margarita High. He committed to Nebraska and spent two seasons there before playing last season at Saddleback College.
A look at how the Bruins and Rebels match up
UCLA (0-1) vs. Nevada Las Vegas (1-0) at the Rose Bowl.
TV: Pac-12 Network, 5 p.m.
Most intriguing story line: It’s supposed to be get-well week in Westwood after a season opener that left the Bruins feeling more than a bit queasy. UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen was out of sorts for much of a loss to Texas A&M that purged his Heisman hype and caused more self-reflection than someone peering into a fun-house mirror.
If all goes well for the Bruins in their home opener against a more lightweight opponent, Rosen and a team with Pac-12 Conference championship hopes could get back on track.
The Bruins are looking for a better outcome against the Rebels
Far removed from the cover of Sports Illustrated and the glimmer of national television, Josh Rosen will try once more to show why he’s been widely peddled as one of the nation’s top quarterbacks.
Redemption could start during UCLA’s home opener against Nevada Las Vegas on Saturday evening at the Rose Bowl in a match-up far less alluring than the Bruins’ season opener a week ago.
The game will be televised regionally. The crowd won’t reach six figures. The opponent belongs to the Mountain West Conference.
Rosen also hopes the results are different. Vastly different.
He had been nearly as hard on himself as the Texas A&M pass rush after three of his passes were intercepted and he was sacked five times during UCLA’s 31-24 overtime loss last weekend. He described his performance as “abysmal” and “unacceptable.”