UCLA defeats Virginia, 34-16, with Josh Rosen in starring role
When is hype not really hype?
When it’s the truth.
It looks like Josh Rosen wasn’t hyped.
UCLA’s freshman quarterback, who came to Westwood so highly regarded, lived up to the billing Saturday at the Rose Bowl.
Rosen completed 28 of 35 passes for 351 yards and three touchdowns as the Bruins routed Virginia, 34-16.
Rosen, the first true freshman to start a season opener at quarterback for UCLA in school history, established Bruins’ single-game records for a first-year freshman in completions, attempts and yards and tied the mark for touchdowns.
He might have had the longest pass play, too, had his perfectly thrown bomb on UCLA’s first play from scrimmage been safely secured.
UCLA Coach Jim Mora and offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone had indicated that Rosen would not be a focal point of the offense, noting that the Bruins had Paul Perkins, the Pac-12 Conference’s leading rusher last season, in the same backfield.
Well, so much for that.
Rosen, with good protection from UCLA’s experienced offensive line, looked poised and confident as he delivered one strike after another. He completed passes to 11 different receivers.
About his only mistake came early in the fourth quarter with the Bruins’ lead already safe. On a third-and-two play at the Virginia 32, he let the snap from center sail past his ear for a 19-yard loss.
The assumption here is that it was Rosen’s fault, based on center Jake Brendel giving the rookie an earful on the UCLA sideline after the play.
Rosen left the game with 9 minutes 35 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Jerry Neuheisel, a popular fourth-year junior who was classy in handling UCLA’s decision to start Rosen, got a nice round of applause from the partisan Bruins crowd when he entered the game.
Then UCLA turned over the show to another first-year freshman, running back Soso Jamabo, who looked explosive on runs of 26 and 39 yards as the Bruins drove for a field goal.
Jamabo, from Plano, Texas, finished as the game’s leading rusher with 70 yards in seven carries.
Virginia, which played UCLA tough in Charlottesville, Va., in last season’s opener, hung with the Bruins for a half. UCLA led at the break, 17-9, but Virginia had moved the ball well without being able to push it into the end zone.
Ian Frye had field goals from 42, 31 and 20 yards for the Cavaliers.
But in the third quarter, UCLA’s defense started to shine -- on offense.
Linebacker Myles Jack scored on a one-yard run and tackle Kenny Clark on a three-yard pass from Rosen, and suddenly the score was 31-9.
Here’s a running recap of the game:
UCLA 34, Virginia 16 -- 3:29 left in the fourth quarter
Virginia finally found the end zone, on a nifty run by Taquan Mizzelli after he hauled in a pass from Matt Johns along the sideline.
The scoring drive covered 75 yards in eight plays.
Mizzelli leads the Cavaliers with 45 yards in 16 carries and eight catches for 100 yards.
UCLA 34, Virginia 9 -- 7:09 left in the fourth quarter
Ka’imi Fairbairn has connected on his second field goal of the game, this one from 21 yards out.
UCLA drove 60 yards in eight plays, showing off another freshman now that quarterback Josh Rosen has left the game.
Running back Soso Jamabo, from Plano, Texas, looked explosive on runs of 26 and 39 yards.
With 9:35 to left to play, Jerry Neuheisel is in at quarterback for UCLA.
Josh Rosen’s day is complete, and what a day it was.
He completed 28 of 35 passes for 351 yards and three touchdowns.
Well, not everything has gone right for UCLA and Josh Rosen today.
The Bruins had the ball at the Virginia 32 and were lined up for a third-and-two play, when the snap from center Jake Brendel went sailing right by Rosen’s head for what ended up being a 19-yard loss.
The left Ka’imi Fairbairn with a 50-yard field-goal attempt, which he missed.
On the UCLA sideline, Brendel, a veteran, looked like he was giving Rosen, a freshman, an earful.
It was only a matter of time.
At the end of the third quarter, UCLA, leading 31-9, is driving again as more school true-freshman records are falling by the roadside.
Josh Rosen has completed a record 26 passes for a record 307 yards and a record-tying three touchdowns.
He has attempted 33 passes -- one shy of the record.
Virginia can’t sustain a drive even after getting a first down on a fake punt.
So UCLA has the ball back at its own 9 as Josh Rosen is closing in on more UCLA records for a true freshman.
He already has the completions mark, and has tied for touchdown passes. Passes attempted will be next, and yardage is well within reach.
UCLA 31, Virgina 9 -- 3:40 left in the third quarter
Last season, UCLA defeated Virginia when the defense scored three touchdowns in the second quarter.
Today, the UCLA defense -- playing offense -- has two touchdowns in the third quarter as the Bruins are pulling away at the Rose Bowl.
An interception by Adarius Pickett gave UCLA the ball at the UCLA 33, and five plays later the Bruins found the end zone on a three-yard pass from Josh Rosen to defensive tackle Kenny Clark.
UCLA scored earlier in the quarter on a run by linebacker Myles Jack.
UCLA 24, Virginia 9 -- 7:37 left in the third quarter
UCLA has taken control in its opener at the Rose Bowl.
And Myles Jack is a happy man.
Jack, who has been penalized twice for personal fouls as a linebacker, found the end zone as a running back, following a six-yard gain on his first run of the season with a one-yard touchdown.
UCLA’s drive was 85 yards in 11 plays as Josh Rosen completed all three of his passes for 55 yards.
Rosen has completed 22 of 29 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns.
Josh Rosen already has had a record-setting day.
With plenty of game left, he has completed 21 of 28 passes, establishing a single-game record for completions by a UCLA true freshman.
Cade McNown completed 18 passes against Fresno State in 1995.
He has UCLA on the move again with 9:33 left in the third quarter. The Bruns are at the Virginia 29.
UCLA started the second half in a familiar way: a completed pass by freshman quarterback Josh Rosen.
However, the Bruins couldn’t sustain anything and Virginia now takes over at its own 29.
UCLA leads Virginia, 17-9, at halftime in what has become the Josh Rosen Show.
Rosen, a freshman out of Bellflower St. John Bosco High, has completed 17 of 22 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns.
Rosen’s first college play was a bomb thrown 55 yards downfield that fell incomplete.
But he’s just kept chucking.
Matt Johns has been good for Virginia, completing 12 of 15 passes for 137 yards, but he hasn’t been able to push the Cavaliers into the end zone.
Ian Frye has field goals 42, 31 and 25 yards for Virginia.
Neither teams’ running game has been able to get untracked. Virginia has 41 yards rushing in 20 carries, with a long gain of seven. UCLA has gained 28 yards in eight carries, with a long gain of 18.
Paul Perkins is UCLA’s top receiver with five catches for 58 yards.
Rosen has connected with eight Bruins receivers.
Nice choice by Fox Sports at the half.
They interviewed a head coach about his quarterback.
The Virginia coach.
UCLA 17, Virginia 9 -- halftime
Josh Rosen finally misfired on a key pass.
Thomas Duarte was open in the end zone for what would have been an eight-yard scoring pass just before halftime, but Rosen threw high and UCLA had to settle for a 25-yard field goal by Ka’imi Fairbairn with two seconds left.
Rosen completed five of eight passes for 58 yards in driving UCLA from its own 35 to the Virginia eight in less than two minutes.
UCLA 14, Virginia 9 -- 1:37 left in the second quarter
Virginia is wearing out its kicker, Ian Frye.
Frye has connected on his 24th consecutive field goal from 45 yards and in -- his third today, this time for 20 yards.
Virginia drove from its own 25 to the UCLA, but chose to kick the field goal on fourth and goal.
Matt Johns completed seven of nine passes for 53 yards on the drive, and the Cavaliers were helped by Myles Jacks’ second personal-foul penalty of the game.
With all the talk about UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, Johns has quietly completed 12 of 15 passes for 137 yards.
UCLA 14, Virginia 6 -- 7:37 left in the second quarter
Josh Rosen had already shown a strong arm.
Now he’s shown a great touch.
Rosen lofted a perfect pass to Thomas Duarte for a 30-yard touchdown after a pass interference call kept a Bruins drive alive.
The penalty, on Virginia’s Tim Harris, came on a third-and-three play.
After that, Paul Perkins and Rosen took over.
Perkins, who had not seen much running room, gained three, nine and 18 yards on runs to move the ball to the Virginia 30.
Rosen and Duarte did the rest.
UCLA 7, Virginia 6 -- 9:43 left in the second quarter
UCLA’s defense helped Virginia close its deficit with a couple of costly penalties that helped the Cavaliers drive from their own 14 to the UCLA 14.
Ian Frye converted on a 31-yard field goal -- his 23rd consecutive make from 45 yards and in.
On the first play of the drive, linebacker Myles Jack was hit with a personal foul, allowing Virginia out of its field-position hole.
Later, on a third-and-eight pass, UCLA’s Fabian Moreau was called for pass interference, moving the ball to the Bruins’ 22.
Virginia’s biggest gain on the drive was a 28-yard pass from Matt Johns to Evan Butts.
A holding penalty nullifies a third-and-14 pass from Josh Rosen to Tyler Scott that would have gone for a first down.
Instead, the Bruins punt.
Virginia takes over at its own 14 with 13:20 remaining in the second quarter.
UCLA leads Virginia, 7-3, at the end of the first quarter.
Josh Rosen has completed seven of eight passes -- to five different receivers -- for 74 yards and a touchdown.
Bruins running game is nonexistent, though: four carries for -1 yard.
Matt Johns has completed five of six passes for 55 yards for Virginia.
Virginia’s third possession starts at the Cavaliers’ 25 and ends at its 17 after a sack by UCLA’s Deon Hollins.
UCLA takes over at its 41 with less than a minute to play in the first quarter.
UCLA 7, Virginia 3 -- 2:43 left in first quarter
Josh Rosen has his first college touchdown pass, a four-yard dart to Devin Fuller.
Rosen was super sharp on UCLA’s second possession. The touchdown came after he connected with Thomas Duarte for 16-yards on a third-and-five.
Rosen has completed six of seven passes for 65 yards. His only incomplete pass: the bomb he threw right after taking his first snap.
Third-and-eight for UCLA, and Virginia sends a heavy blitz.
And Rosen dumps the ball off to Paul Perkins on a screen that goes for 30 yards and a first down.
Virginia goes nowhere on its second possession.
Punt is a high, 56-yard bomb, but Randall Goforth makes a nice 21-yard return and UCLA will start out at its own 44.
Virginia leads the Bruins, 3-0, with 5:15 left in the first quarter.
Three and out for UCLA on its first possession, although Rosen does complete a short, third-down pass to Nate Iese on third-and-eight.
It gained six yards.
Virginia takes over at its 22 for its second possession of the game, already leading, 3-0.
We are right now it with offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone.
Rosen did throw a bomb ... incomplete.
Gotta like that.
UCLA takes over at its own 25 and it’s Josh Rosen time.
Oh, throw a bomb...
Virginia 3, UCLA 0 -- 9:14 in first quarter
Virginia’s offense was thought to be its weaker unit, but the Cavaliers look pretty good on their opening possession.
Quarterback Matt Johns completed all four of his passes for 60 yards and Ian Frye split the uprights for 42 yards out -- his 22nd consecutive make from 45 yards and in.
Just took a look on video at that embrace between Coach Jim Mora and quarterback Josh Rosen before kickoff.
Reading his lips best I could, I think Mora said, “Screw this up and I’ll hurt you.”
Kidding ... kidding...
The Rose Bowl game clock lasted the kickoff. Time now being kept on the field.
UCLA wins the coin toss and elects to defer.
Virginia gets the ball first, sarting from its own 15.
Coach Jim Mora and freshman quarterback Josh Rosen with a looong embrace on the sideline just before kickoff.
Expect redshirt junior Paul Perkins to receive the ball often today.
Perkins last season ran for 1,595 yards to become the first UCLA back since 2001 to lead the Pac-12 Conference in rushing.
The player who did it in 2001?
DeShaun Foster, who was the Bruins’ honorary team captain for today’s game against Virginia.
If, as expected, Josh Rosen takes the first snap for UCLA’s offense today, he will become the first first-year freshman to start the season opener at quarterback for the Bruins. Freshman became eligible to play varsity football at the major-college level in 1972.
The last true freshman to start at quarterback for the Bruins was Drew Olson, in the ninth game at the 2002 season at Washington.
Rosen will become the seven first-year freshman to start a game at quarterback for the Bruins, joining Olson, Matt Moore (2002), Cade McNown (1995), Ryan Fien (1992), Tom Ramsey (1979) and Steve Bukich (1974).
Olson, Moore and Ramsey won in their debuts, McNown, Fien and Bukich lost.
Here are some school records for a freshman quarterback you might want to keep in mind today, courtesy of UCLA’s sports information office:
Most Passing Yards in a Game - 306 by Cade McNown, 1995 vs. Fresno State.
Most TD Passes in a Game - 3 by Cade McNown, 1995 vs. Kansas.
Most Passing Attempts in a Game - 34 by Cade McNown, 1995 vs. Kansas.
Most Completions in a Game - 18 by Cade McNown, 1995 vs. Fresno State.
Longest Pass Play in a Game - 63 yards Tom Ramsey to Jojo Townsell vs. Arizona St., 1979.
It’s now about a half-hour before kickoff at the Rose Bowl, where UCLA will be playing Virginia in a college football opener.
UCLA is opening the season at home for just the second time in six seasons.
The last time the Bruins were at home for the opener they defeated Nevada in 2013.
Before that, UCLA had opened on the road in 2012, a win at Rice at Jim Mora’s debut as head coach; a loss at Houston in 2011; and a loss at Kansas State in 2010.
Last season, UCLA defeated Virginia at Charlottesville, Va., 28-20.
They did it thanks to three touchdowns in the second quarter by the Bruins defense, including an interception return by Ismael Adams.
Adams, a senior this season, will have his streak of 26 consecutive starts snapped today. He has been suspended from the team indefinitely after his arrest for allegedly robbing an Uber driver of a cellphone.
Adams was a first-team All-Pac-12 Conference choice last season.
Marcos Rios is expected to start at cornerback in Adams’ old spot.
It’s about an hour before UCLA kicks off its 2015 football season against Virginia at the Rose Bowl, and UCLA fans are eagerly awaiting the debut of freshman quarterback Josh Rosen.
Jim Mora, who has won in all three of his seasons openers as UCLA’s coach, has said that there will be no limitations placed on the 18-year-old out of Bellflower St. John Bosco High.
UCLA has a veteran offensive coordinator in Noel Mazzone, and he has a plan for the young quarterback.
“He just needs to keep us on schedule,” Mazzone said this week. “He can do that and let some experience around him do their work.”
UCLA has nine starters back on offense, including four linemen and the Pac-12 Conference’s leading rusher last season, Paul Perkins.
Jon Tenuta, Virginia’s defensive coordinator, will try to disrupt UCLA with pressure, as the Cavaliers were able to do last season.
UCLA has been giving Rosen a dose of that during practices.
“Our philosophy of defense is quite similar [to Virginia],” Mora said. “Starting in spring, and all through fall camp, we presented a lot of pressure to our offense.
“Hopefully we’ve down a good job of preparing [Rosen]. I’m sure Jon will have something cooked up. Hopefully, we can adjust to it.”
The conditions at the Rose Bowl should be about perfect this afternoon.
The high temperature is expected to reach 82 degrees -- UCLA already has big fans blowing mist -- and there is a slight breeze currently coming from the north.
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