No Josh Rosen, no problem.
With the junior quarterback sidelined in the aftermath of a concussion suffered in November, UCLA football opened up a 17-7 halftime lead over Kansas State at Tuesday’s Cactus Bowl in Phoenix thanks to an impressive showing from backup quarterback Devon Modster.
Modster, a redshirt freshman, finished the period 10-of-15 for 215 yards with a pair of long second-quarter touchdowns – one on a screen pass that redshirt junior wide receiver Jordan Lasley took 52 yards, and the other on a 70-yard bomb to sophomore wideout Theo Howard.
The Wildcats largely controlled the first quarter, jumping out to a 7-3 lead, but the Bruins dominated the second quarter, out-gaining the Wildcats by 158 yards in the period while scoring 14 unanswered points to open up the 10-point advantage.
Howard and Lasley caught four passes each, with Howard racking up 96 yards and Lasley 90 yards.
UCLA’s run game struggled to generate consistent yardage, gaining just 49 yards on their 17 carries – an average of under three yards per carry.
The Bruins’ first points came on a field goal from sophomore kicker JJ Molson at the end of a 44-yard drive that started after a diving interception by freshman cornerback Darnay Holmes.
Kansas State’s offense almost exclusively kept the ball on the ground, throwing the ball just 10 times while churning out 164 rushing yards on 21 carries.
Rosen was reportedly out because team doctors did not want to risk him suffering his third concussion of the season. He participated in pregame warmups and reportedly tried to argue his way into the game but did not succeed.