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Jim Mora ‘not worried’ about Josh Rosen

Jim Mora ‘not worried’ about Josh Rosen
UCLA quarterback Mike Fafaul throws downfield against Utah in the fourth quarter. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Josh Rosen didn't look like someone preparing to play in warmups.

The right-handed quarterback threw some short left-handed passes, patted receivers on the back and pantomimed a throwing motion for his backup, Mike Fafaul.

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Looks weren’t deceiving. Rosen did not play during UCLA’s 52-45 loss to No. 19 Utah on Saturday at the Rose Bowl, the second consecutive game he sat out because of injuries to his lower body and the area around his throwing shoulder.

Fafaul set school records for completions (40) and passing attempts (70) on the way to a career-high 464 yards and five touchdowns with four interceptions. Fafaul also lost a fumble.

Unlike last week, when Rosen completed a morning walk-through before UCLA's game against Washington State, there was no drama about whether he would play.

"We knew in the beginning of the week," Fafaul said. "Josh, he's still struggling with his shoulder but he's getting better. He's working to get better every day. I don't know about Colorado [the Bruins' next opponent on Nov. 3], but I'm just going to keep working like I'm the starter every day, try to prepare and put my team in position to help us win."

UCLA Coach Jim Mora declined to provide an update on Rosen after the game.

"I'm not worried about Josh," Mora said. "I'm proud of Mike Fafaul."

Getting the boot

Mora made changes in UCLA's kicking game, using freshman kicker Andrew Strauch and punters Adam Searl and Stefan Flintoft.

Freshman J.J. Molson continued to handle kickoffs, but that didn't always go well. Utah's Cory Butler-Byrd returned the game-opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown and Mora didn't try to deflect the blame.

"The kick needs to go deep left and the kick didn't go deep left," Mora said. "They ran a bounce, we were closing down the right side and they found a crease. I don't know if we missed any tackles or not but it starts with placement of the kick. Simple."

Things went better elsewhere. Strauch made a 39-yard field goal and all six extra points. Flintoft averaged 46.5 yards on his two punts and Searl 40.3 yards on his three punts. Some of the punts were the unorthodox rugby-style variety.

"We'll continue to look for ways to try to increase performance at all positions," Mora said. "Doing that is not an indicator of a lack of trust in [punter] Austin [Kent], it's sometimes with these young guys, he's a freshman, as I told you guys last week, he's incredibly hard on himself and I think sometimes you've got to take a little off of him to let him grow and that's what we tried to do."

Quick hits

UCLA receiver Kenneth Walker III suffered what appeared to be a possible concussion when he was hurt in the third quarter and had his helmet taken away as he left the field. …

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UCLA defensive end Takkarist McKinley had five tackles for loss, including three sacks, and forced two fumbles. …

UCLA's John Johnson started at cornerback with Nate Meadors sidelined for a third consecutive game because of a groin injury and the Utes targeted him on their first play from scrimmage, a 42-yard completion from Troy Williams to Siaosi Wilson. ...

Kickoff was delayed by several minutes because there were no  pylons planted in the end zone.

ben.bolch@latimes.com

Twitter: @latbbolch

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