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UCLA Sports

UCLA’s Josh Rosen hopes to erase painful memory of Arizona game

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UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen threw three interceptions and no touchdowns against Arizona.
(Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)

Josh Rosen can feel the need for a few deep breaths in the film room, even after victories.

The UCLA quarterback will see plays that could have been made or mistakes that he might not have noticed in the midst of a long touchdown drive. The footage keeps him from getting conceited about his performance.

What he saw in recent days only reinforced a sinking feeling.

“We didn’t need any humbling this week,” Rosen said Wednesday. “We kind of did that to ourselves.”

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Rosen had three passes intercepted Saturday against Arizona and did not throw for a touchdown for the first time since 2015 in what might have been the worst game of his college career. It made for some predictably unpleasant viewing when he sat down to watch a replay with offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch.

“I saw mistakes,” Rosen said. “I threw to the wrong team.”

Rosen chuckled when he completed the thought, but his frustration was evident after the game when he gave unusually short answers to reporters’ questions. He acknowledged Wednesday that there were other factors that influenced his postgame mood.

“I didn’t appreciate the targeting too much,” he said, referring to a play late in the third quarter when Arizona defensive tackle Parker Zellers was ejected for lowering the crown of his helmet into Rosen. “That wasn’t great. They kind of played angry. They’re not a cheap team at all, they just did a few things here and there.

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“I just didn’t play well. I just wasn’t on my game. I just have to go back and find out what I did in my routine that was off, try to fix whatever went wrong and win.”

Rosen said he’s grateful for another chance Saturday when the Bruins (3-3 overall, 1-2 Pac-12 Conference) face Oregon (4-3, 1-3) at the Rose Bowl, something he did not get after six games in 2016 when a shoulder injury ended his season in early October. He seemed to be savoring every moment of what could be his final college season, mentioning an afternoon meeting as the most important event on his agenda.

“We’ve got a meeting at 4:30 and we’ve got to do our best at 4:30,” Rosen said, “and then tomorrow will come and we’ll address that when it comes.”

Rosen will try to rebound from a game in which he completed 20 of 43 passes for a season-low 219 yards, appearing out of rhythm from the Bruins’ opening possession. He badly underthrew receiver Darren Andrews on one play and wildly overthrew receiver Jordan Lasley on another. Rosen’s arm appeared to be hit on another pass that he floated toward Andrews that was intercepted in the end zone, but Rosen didn’t mention the contact or try to use it as an excuse afterward.

UCLA still owns the nation’s No. 2 passing offense even after the dud, averaging 399.7 yards a game. One Arizona fan was shown in the final moments holding up a sign reading “Josh Rosen is fake news,” though the threat he poses to opposing defenses remains genuine.

“It’s funny but it’s not true,” Rosen said of the sign. “I mean, I don’t even know what that means, but I’m a real person.”

He’s back

The wait is finally over for DeChaun Holiday.

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After becoming one of the standouts of spring practice following a successful switch from defensive back to linebacker, Holiday suffered a shoulder injury that would sideline him for nearly six months.

He made his return against Arizona, collecting three tackles while playing on special teams and being worked back into the defensive rotation.

“It was a little difficult,” Holiday said of the lengthy layoff. “It kind of did put me down a little bit doing as well as I was in the springtime and not being able to do anything for those months, but I’m just glad to be back out here and be able to contribute any way I can.”

ben.bolch@latimes.com

Follow Ben Bolch on Twitter @latbbolch


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