Are Bruins that good or are Aggies that bad?

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen (3) threw for 491 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Bruins to a 45-44 win against Texas A&M at the Rose Bowl on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. Photo by William Johnson

What is there to make of the Texas A&M late-game meltdown against the UCLA Bruins? Was this a proponent of Kevin Sumlin’s team not finding the backbone to step on the Bruins’ throats and close out a game? Could it be that the Bruins, back under the scoring guise of quarterback Josh Rosen, are just that explosive and that good?

It could be a combination of both situations playing themselves out in the season-opener for both teams at the Rose Bowl on Sunday, Sept. 3.

Let’s see, blowing a 44-10 lead that turned into an eventual 45-44 road defeat looks very bad for Sumlin. Very bad. That must have been some plane ride going back to the Lone Star state. There is no reasonable answer to give when your team blow a 34-point lead.

Then again, what has Sumlin really done since he took over the Aggies football program after having brief success at the University of Houston?

UCLA was able to come away with its stunning 45-44 win against Texas A&M by outscoring the Aggies 28-0 in the fourth quarter. Photo by William Johnson

Not much, if you consider coaching pedestrian records over the last couple of seasons. In the last three seasons, Sumlin’s teams have posted identical 8-5 marks. Good, but not great.

Sumlin’s team’s can always bring excitement on the field with their lighting-rod, quick-pace offensive game plan.Watching the Aggies play on offense is a lot like playing ping-pong, with Texas A&M players bouncing all over the field.

The Aggies played like that in the first half against the Bruins when they put up 38 points and making this contest look like a runaway joke. But Rosen and the Bruins are the ones laughing now.

UCLA got the final punch line. Texas A&M missed it. UCLA put on a 28-point to zero blitz in the fourth quarter to comeback from that deficit. Rosen went ballistic with a 491-yard, four touchdown performance.

There was a lot of hitting going on between UCLA and Texas A&M during both team’s 2017 season-opener at the Rose Bowl. Photo by William Johnson

That’s not too shabby of a season debut for a guy who went down with a shoulder injury and missed part of last year’s Bruins’ run. UCLA coach Jim Mora has to be thanking his lucky stars that the Aggies are so poor on defense, otherwise the catcalls in Westwood would have been ugly.

I mean, really, how often does a team come back from a 34-point hole from basically near the end of the third quarter? Either UCLA is that good where the Bruins can turn it off and on whenever they want or Sumlin put on the almost the worst kind of coaching display of his career.

At this point, it really doesn’t matter. This one is going to be hard to swallow for Sumlin and Texas A&M. For the Aggies’ sake, their schedule gets a bit easier with powerful Nicholls next up, followed by dates with Louisiana and Arkansas.

Then Sumlin will have to coach his tail off if he is to stay at Texas A&M. South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi State and Auburn, all will be waiting on the Aggies. That’s a pretty tough stretch to go through. But if someone is capable of seeing their way through the woods safely, it’s Sumlin.

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1119 Articles
Dennis covers the NFL (San Diego Chargers), NBA (Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers), Major League Baseball (Los Angeles Dodgers) and NCAA sports (USC, UCLA, Long Beach State). As a professional journalist, Dennis has also covered and written on topics such as civil rights, politics and social justice. Dennis is a graduate of Howard University.

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