Pasadena Ca, – The stage was set for a battle at high noon at the grassy field of the Rose Bowl. When the smoke cleared the UCLA Bruins cruised to 34-16 victory against Virginia. The true freshman starting quarterback, Josh Rosen, looked ready for the bright lights with great team support to handle the visiting Cavilers.
Rosen had a lot of time in the pocket to pass with great blocking by the line. He tied a freshman record with three (3) touchdown in his first game. He also completed 28 of 35 passes for 351 total yards. So now it will be up to Coach Jim Mora to keep his quarterback grounded. Mora said, “It’s my job to quiet the noise.”
Virginia came in ready to slow down the run and forced the Bruins to throw earlier. UCLA running back Paul Perkins, who was the Pac-12 Conference leading rusher last year, gained only 61 yards on 14 carries. True freshman Soso Jamabo got a taste of college action, leading the Bruins with 81 yards on 9 carries, with one spinning move, breaking tackles for a run of 39 yards.
In the second half in red zone guess who Mora inserted into the backfield for a jolt-linebacker Myles Jack. A few plays later, Jack surged over left side for a one-yard touchdown, for the only rushing score of the game. Then on next possession in red zone, Jack came in this time to be a decoy for a bootleg to defensive lineman Kenny Clark, who was an extra blocker at tight end for a 3-yard catch that made the score 31-9.
Matt Johns looked to keep his team in game earlier but the offense kept having to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns. We can credit the Bruins defense to keeping them to only 9 points in the half and only one touchdown in second half. New defenses coordinator Tom Bradley’s game plan worked well as the Bruins held Virginia to only 238 yards passing and only 336 total offensive yards. Mora was asked about what he thought about his team defense, which he responded by saying, “Defense look crisp..solid in run..we tackled well today.”
The Bruins defense was led by Eddie Vanderdoes, who came up with eight tackles. Clark and Jack both had seven tackles besides scoring touchdowns on the offensive side of the ball. It’s pretty nice to have to defenders to score offensive touchdowns. The Bruins have talent all over the field. Not to be left out was the hard-hitting secondary that was looking for big hits all game. Tahaan Goodman, Jaleel Wadood were flying with a power punch for the Cavaliers receivers.
Now the Bruins will go through next week practice in preparation for UNLV on the road in desert Saturday Sept. 12th at 7:30 p.m. The Cavaliers will host Norte Dame Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in Virginia.