Three days later, the issue of penalties continued to smolder at UCLA.
Still stinging from a last-second loss to Washington State on Saturday, linebacker Deon Hollins spoke about his frustration with game officials.
“Beating the referees and beating the other team is rough sometimes,” Hollins said Tuesday.
Hollins was particularly peeved about Washington State’s last play. Quarterback Luke Falk moved around the pocket before throwing 21-yard touchdown pass to Gabe Marks for a 31-27 lead with three seconds left.
Asked whether he was held on that play, Hollins said, “Absolutely, absolutely.”
Hollins said he approached Washington State tackle Cole Madison after the game.
“He was, ‘Oh yeah it was a rough night for me. I just couldn’t help but hold you all night,’ ” Hollins said.
A Washington State official said that neither Madison nor the school would comment on Hollins’ account of that conversation.
The Bruins complained to a game official during the game, Hollins said, but were rebuffed.
“He was saying, ‘That’s not holding, that’s just a good play,’ like snarky,” Hollins said. “It’s crazy.”
UCLA Coach Jim Mora was more tactful in his post-game comments, though he noted Sunday that UCLA opponents had been called for holding on only two pass plays this season. “Are we not doing something right?” he asked. “Are we unlucky?”
Josh Rosen, UCLA’s quarterback, complained after the Oregon State game two weeks ago that the Beavers were mimicking his cadence, which led to seven false-start penalties. The Bruins had six false-start penalties against Washington State and made the same allegations about the Cougars.
“You look at film, when two teams that we previously played had equal an amount of penalties on both sides,” Hollins said. “When they play us, there is a substantial amount on us.”
UCLA had 13 penalties for 75 yards Saturday. Washington State had nine for 45 yards.
Said Hollins: “I’m never one to start blaming it on penalties, but there are so many times when they call ticky-tack things on us and not them. It is really hard to overcome that when you need a big play at the end of the game.”
Rosen has not had a pass intercepted in his last 188 throws, dating back to the third quarter of the Stanford game on Oct. 15.
That streak nearly ended Saturday when Rosen threw off his back foot, with the ball floating deep downfield against Washington State.
Fortunately for the Bruins, receiver Eldridge Massington came back to bat the ball away, preventing the interception.
“You got to have some good fortune, but you also have to make some good decisions,” Mora said.
Typically, the coach added, Rosen is making solid choices.
“The progression he has made has been phenomenal in terms of decision making, accuracy and his understanding what we’re trying to do,” Mora said.
Rosen has passed for 2,902 yards and 18 touchdowns with seven interceptions this season.
The UCLA defense may get two breaks this week.
Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham said Utes running back Devontae Booker was questionable for Saturday’s game against the Bruins because of a leg injury. Booker has 1,261 yards rushing this season.
UCLA could also have linebacker Isaako Savaiinaea back. He was the Bruins’ leading tackler before sustaining an injured ankle against Colorado.
UCLA receivers Devin Fuller (ankle) and Stephen Johnson III (head) practiced Tuesday, though Johnson was wearing a red no-contact jersey. Cornerback John Johnson (neck) participated in parts of practice.