clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Josh Rosen Shines as the UCLA Bruins handle Virginia Cavaliers, 34-16 in 2015 Football Opener

Josh Rosen had a spectacular debut, going 28-35 for 351 yards, 3 TDs and no INTs.

UCLA Quarterback, Josh Rosen
UCLA Quarterback, Josh Rosen
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The UCLA Bruins faced the Virginia Cavaliers today at the Rose Bowl.In a game that was never really in doubt, the Bruins took care of business, 34-16. Here is your game recap.

First Quarter

The Cavaliers started the game with a drive that consumed 5:46, resulting in a 42 yard Ian Frye field-goal. Virginia converted a big third-down on a 19 yard catch to Canaan Severin, and Smoke Mizell had a 19 yard catch of his own out of the backfield to get UVa into field-goal position. The Bruins were able to stop the Cavaliers on third and long, leading to the field-goal. 3-0 Virginia.

On the Bruins’ first possession, they went three and out, after UCLA true freshman QB, Josh Rosen, was unable to connect on a long pass on first down.

The Cavaliers followed with a three and out of their own, assisted by a personal foul penalty on center Jackson Matteo.

Rosen and the Bruins responded with a seven play, 56 yard drive, culminating in a 4 yard touchdown pass to Devin Fuller on a beautifully designed play and an absolute laser by Josh Rosen. 7-3 Bruins. The Bruins had two big plays on the drive, a 22 yard catch and run by Paul Perkins, and a 16 yard connection from Rosen to Thomas Duarte, down to the Virginia 4 yard line.

On the Cavaliers third drive, the Bruins forced another three and out, helped in part by a false start penalty on Virginia and a sack by Deon Hollins on third and long.

UCLA got the ball back, and ran two plays before the end of the first quarter. After one quarter, the Bruins led, 7-3, and Rosen was a scintillating 7-8, with a touchdown.

Second Quarter

The first play in the second quarter was another long bomb from Josh Rosen, which fell incomplete. The Bruins drive stalled, forcing a punt by UCLA’s Matt Mengel.

Virginia took over on their own 14, and engineered an eight play, 72 yard drive, resulting in another field-goal, cutting the Bruins lead to 7-6. Tight end, Evan Butts, had a 28 yard reception, and the Cavaliers were the beneficiaries of the pass interference call on Fabian Moreau (on the same play, Deon Hollins was blatantly held, but it was not called) and a horse collar tackle by Myles Jack, the first of two in the game from Myles. The Bruins defense stiffened on 3rd and 3 inside the UCLA 20 yard line. Coach Bradley called a run blitz, and the D held Virginia for no gain and forced a field goal. 7-6 UCLA.

UCLA got the ball back and promptly answered, taking a little over two minutes, and scoring their second touchdown of the game, to extend the lead to 14-6. Once the Bruins crossed midfield, Paul Perkins had a nice downfield run for 18 yards, down to the Virginia 30 yard line. On the next play, Rosen tossed a beautiful touchdown pass to UCLA tight end, Thomas Duarte, who made a fingertip catch while falling forward into the end zone. Rosen’s throw was simply puuuuuurfect.

Virginia got the ball back, and drove down the field, aided in part by Myles Jack’s second horse collar personal foul on 3rd and 9, giving the Cavaliers first down. UCLA bowed up near the goal line, resulting in a fourth and two from the two, and Virginia elected to kick field-goal, cutting the lead to 14-9.

With 1:37 left in the half, Virginia’s kicker booted the kickoff out of bounds, giving the Bruins excellent field position at their own 35 yard line. Perkins had a pretty reception for 22 yards on a wheel route, in which it appeared Josh Rosen executed a "jump pass." Two more Rosen throws to Eldridge Massington brought the Bruins into field-goal range. Unfortunately UCLA couldn’t punch it in for 7 at the end of the half and had to settle for a Ka’imi Fairbairn 26 yard field-goal.

The Bruins led at the half, 17-9.

Third Quarter

The Bruins received the ball to start the second half, but were not able to do much with it, punting after one first down.

Virginia went three and out on their next possession, punting down to UCLA’s 15 yard line.

UCLA took over, and went on an 85 yard, 11 play drive, culminating in two Myles Jack rushes inside the 10 yard line, the second of which was for a touchdown .Jack’s carries were out of the "jumbo package," with DLs Eddie Vanderdoes and Kenny Clark (remember that name) as lead blockers. UCLA led 24-9. The key play was a 37 yard catch and run from Rosen to Nate Iese, which got the Bruins into Virginia territory.

On Virginia’s next possession, the Cavaliers drove the ball to midfield, before UCLA DB, Adarius Pickett, picked off Virginia Cavalier quarterback, Matt Johns, giving the Bruins the ball that their own 33 yard line.

Bolu Olorunfunmi converted his first two touches as a Bruin into first downs, on runs of 14 and 11 yards. Rosen then hit Kenny Walker III on a 35 yard pass that got the Bruins down to the UVa 6 yard line. UCLA brought out the "jumbo package" again, this time opting to throw to big man, Kenny Clark, for a touchdown, extending the lead to 31-9. Great play call.

On UVa’s next possession, the Cavaliers executed a fourth down fake punt for a first down, but Matt Johns followed that up with three straight incompletions on the next three plays, resulting in a UVa punt.

UCLA took over on its own 9 yard line. After converting a first down (barely) on a Soso Jamabo run, Rosen connected with Jordan Payton down the eastern sideline for a 41 yard gain, down to the Virginia 21. After a 5 yard run by Jamabo, the 3rd quarter drew to a close, with UCLA scoring all 14 points in the 3rd, to take a commanding 31-9 lead.

Fourth Quarter

The 4th quarter got off to a bad start. On 3rd and 2, on the UVa 13 yard line, UCLA center, Jake Brendel, snapped the ball when Rosen was not ready for it. The pigskin sailed by Rosen, who ran back and smartly covered it on the 32, for a 19 yard loss. Fairbairn lined up for a 49 yard field goal and he did what he has always done in field goal situations of that distance, missed it.

UVa took over with over 13 minutes remaining, and drove the ball into UCLA territory, but were faced with a 4th and 2. Virginia had no choice but to go for it. Matt Dickerson came in unblocked, forcing an errant throw, and the Bruins took over on downs with 9:40 left in the game. The UVa line looked confused on the play. I would like to think that Coach Bradley had something to do with that play call.

When the Bruins took over with about 7:30 left in the game, Josh Rosen's day was done. Jerry Neuheisel took over and led UCLA down the field for a field goal, to extend the lead to 34-9. Soso Jamabo was a force on this drive, with one carry for 26 yards and another for 39 yards. Jamabo would end the day with 9 carries for 79 yards, and would be UCLA’s leading rusher.

UCLA’s second string defense came into the game with slightly more than 7 minutes to play, and conceded Virginia’s lone touchdown drive of the day, an 8 play 75 yard drive.

UCLA got the ball back with a bit more than 3 minutes left, and with all second and third string players, except for Brendel, the Bruins made a first down, and were able to take the victory formation for the last few plays.

Final Score: UCLA 34, Virginia 16.

This game was really never in doubt, and Rosen was spectacular in his first outing, 28-35 (UCLA true freshman record), for 351 passing yards (UCLA true freshman record) with 3 touchdown (UCLA true freshman record) and no picks.

The first string defense did not allow a touchdown, and bowed up in the game-changing 3rd quarter. It wasn’t perfect, but UCLA will take it to start the season right.

Let us know your thoughts about the game in the comment section below.

Also, be sure to check out gbruin's extended thoughts here on Bruins Nation tomorrow morning in his classic Sunday morning must-read, "The Morning After."

Have a great evening and . . . Go Bruins!