Despite Rosen’s return, Texas A&M leaves UCLA trailing 38-10 at half
(Kristie-Valerie Hoang/Assistant Photo Editor)
By TuAnh Dam
September 3, 2017 6:35 pm
The Josh Rosen comeback UCLA football fans had been waiting 11 months for kicked off against Texas A&M.
It wasn’t pretty.
The Aggies outplayed the Bruins in every facet of the first half – 342 to 151 in net total yards, 13 to 8 in first downs and 18:21 to 11:39 in minutes of possession.
UCLA went into the locker room down 38-10 in front of a stunned home crowd.
Junior quarterback Rosen, who finished his first half completing just nine of his 23 attempts, marched the offense into the red zone on the opening drive on just eight plays.
But UCLA stalled at the A&M 12-yard line and had to settle for a 29-yard field goal from sophomore JJ Molson to take the 3-0 lead.
Things only got worse from there.
The Aggies responded with a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to take a 7-3 lead before turnovers put them firmly in control midway through the first quarter.
Back-to-back fumbles – one from Rosen after a Jarrett Johnson sack and another forced by safety Armani Watts – put A&M back in the red zone twice and then up 17-3 less than two minutes later.
Key flags limited big Aggie runs, and Stefan Flintoft’s punts pinned A&M deep in the back field and prevented them from stretching the lead even further.
The Bruin defense tried to limit freshman quarterback Nick Starkel and junior wide receiver Christian Kirk, but didn’t have an answer for the Aggie running backs.
Sophomore Trayveon Williams and senior Keith Ford combined for five touchdowns and 265 rushing yards, out-gaining the entire UCLA run game by themselves.
The Bruins trailed 31-3 at one point – the largest deficit since playing Stanford in 2015 – before they had their first first down since the opening drive and eventually their first touchdown of the season.
What momentum they thought they had was promptly snuffed out.
Six seconds later, the defense gave up another touchdown run to Williams, his second of the afternoon, to cement the halftime score.