UCLA QB Josh Rosen doesn't regret comments
LOS ANGELES (AP) UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen has no regrets over his interactions with Texas A&M fans, including remarks about crowd noise at Kyle Field or encouraging them to get louder in the fourth quarter as the 16th-ranked Bruins staged a late rally. His performance in the 31-24 overtime loss to the Aggies, however, left the sophomore with second thoughts.
''Like I said right after the game, my play is unacceptable,'' Rosen said Monday. ''It was a pretty bad first half and I can't let it happen again.''
Rosen was 26 of 46 for 343 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. The offense had too many ''if only'' plays, as coach Jim Mora described them, where Rosen failed to find open receivers or couldn't deliver the ball accurately while under pressure from the talented Texas A&M pass rush.
When Rosen could get the pass off, the inexperienced UCLA wide receivers dropped some sure touchdowns.
''Sometimes you can trump anything good or bad on a play by making a good decision and I didn't. Three very specific plays in particular that I very easily could have thrown to the end zone and scored and hopefully turned the tide of the game,'' Rosen said. ''Everyone had their issues.''
They were especially evident in the red zone, where UCLA only scored one touchdown in six trips including overtime. Rosen failed to complete any of his six pass attempts inside the 20-yard line and was intercepted early in the fourth quarter when UCLA trailed 24-9. Center Scott Quessenberry said the execution in the red zone was ''not even close to our standard.
''We come away with two touchdowns instead of two field goals we win that game,'' Quessenberry said.
In spite of those breakdowns, UCLA had a chance to win the game in regulation if not an interception that Rosen threw after Quessenberry snapped the ball early. Left guard Kenny Lacy had been tapping Quessenberry to let him know Rosen was ready for the snap as part of UCLA's silent count, but a Pac-12 official touched Quessenberry and the redshirt junior mistook it for the signal. Mora has requested an explanation from the conference, describing the sequence as a ''weird deal.''
UCLA's focus now turns to its home opener against UNLV on Saturday, hoping to build on what the offense did well. Kenneth Walker had six receptions for 115 yards and one touchdown, hinting the redshirt senior has shed his label as an explosive but inconsistent receiver. Tight end Austin Roberts added five receptions for 61 yards and frequently found space down the seams. Running backs Soso Jamabo and Bolu Olorunfunmi combined to rush for 139 yards and one touchdown.
''As the game progressed I think we showed what we can be as an offense,'' Quessenberry said. ''We were running the ball effectively and we can pass protect with one of the best D-lines in the country. We just got to take those grains of salt going forward and build on them.''
What won't change is Rosen's willingness to engage opposing fans. Rosen praised Texas A&M fans and seemed to enjoy the back-and-forth, which included chants of ''50,000,'' a reference to his remarks that any crowd larger than 50,000 has the same effect on the offense.
''At the same time, if we came out on top at the end I probably would have given them something at the end, maybe a salute or something,'' Rosen said.
NOTES: DE Takkarist McKinley (groin) is ''day-to-day,'' Mora said, adding that he would exercise caution with the injury so it does not linger all season. . Mora was hopeful rush end Deon Hollins (concussion) would be available after not playing against Texas A&M. . RB Nate Starks will practice this week and his playing status will be a game-time decision. Starks did not travel with the team to Texas A&M, and his absence was described as a coach's decision.