Sunday, September 23

Bruin football buckles under Sun Devil defense for 23-20 loss


Quarterback Josh Rosen threw for a career-high 400 yards but couldn't complete the comeback in a 23-20 loss to ASU. The sophomore left after he was sacked in the fourth quarter with an apparent shoulder injury. (Jintak Han/Assistant Photo editor)

Quarterback Josh Rosen threw for a career-high 400 yards but couldn't complete the comeback in a 23-20 loss to ASU. The sophomore left after he was sacked in the fourth quarter with an apparent shoulder injury. (Jintak Han/Assistant Photo editor)


This post was updated Oct. 9 at 12:07 a.m.

TEMPE, Ariz. — Somehow Josh Rosen was healthy enough to make it back on the field.

Somehow UCLA managed to keep pace in the second half despite rushing for -1 yards.

And somehow, the Bruins were moving down the field for what would have been the potential game-winning drive.

Then it happened again. The sophomore quarterback was brought down one more time, and this time he stayed on the ground. After redshirt senior quarterback Mike Fafaul finished warming up once again, Rosen walked to the sideline where he could only watch the seconds tick down from 3:15 in the 23-20 loss to Arizona State.

The first half was dominated by the two defenses that didn’t allow a single touchdown to either offense. The problem for UCLA was that the running game just wasn’t working and Rosen was taking hits.

“Josh is beat up, just beat up,” said coach Jim Mora. “He took some horrible hits because we can’t protect for him.”

Rosen was knocked out of the game for the first time of the night in the second quarter before re-emerging with 8:30 to go in the third quarter. With Fafaul in the game, and even when a clearly hobbled Rosen returned, the Bruins didn’t try running the ball.

“You win as a team, you lose as a team,” Fafaul said. “Guys are very disappointed, disappointed as an offense that we didn’t play to our standard.”

UCLA’s second-half running total stood at just two yards before a flurry of sacks turned it into negative numbers. Including the sacks, the Bruins ended the game with -1 yards on the ground.

Senior defensive linemen Takkarist McKinley and Deon Hollins were both in and out with injuries. Eventually, the Bruins defense couldn’t hold on and allowed a couple of Arizona State scores.

“Gave up some plays that I thought we were in pretty good shape to make, and then we made some other plays,” said defensive coordinator Tom Bradley. “But we got to do better, got to do better.”

Rosen finished with 400 yards and two touchdowns, but he couldn’t carry the offense by himself.

With everything that happened, somehow he had a chance to win the game for UCLA. But he was knocked down one too many times on a night the Bruins needed him for the entire game.

They needed him but weren’t able to protect him, and the game ended with Fafaul throwing his second interception of the night.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Reddit

Derrek Li is a senior staff writer covering UCLA basketball. In the past, he has covered UCLA football, women’s basketball and men’s soccer. He also served as an assistant sports editor two years ago. Follow him on Twitter @DerrekLi.


Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.