The Hoos dropped a tough one Saturday, falling to the UCLA Bruins by a score of 34-16. Last week, we outlined the keys to victory for the Hoos. In a game where the Hoos were completely outmatched, let's look at the keys to the game, and how they played out.
Welcome Josh Rosen to college - Well that didn't work out too well. From the first time Rosen touched the ball (a 50 yard bomb that would have gone for a TD had the WR not dropped it) you could tell this kid was the real deal. Unfortunately, despite showing the freshman multiple looks and varying blitzes, Rosen carved up the Hoos vaunted secondary going 28-35 for 352 yards and three TDs. Let's hope this kid is the second coming of Peyton Manning, otherwise it could be a long season for Virginia on defense.
Make UCLA earn it - For the most part, the Hoos didn't hurt themselves. Especially if you compare it to last season's loss. Outside of one bad interception by Matt Johns in the third quarter and a couple untimely penalties early in the game, UCLA just flat outplayed Virginia. They outgained Virginia 503-336 and held advantages in both the run and pass games. The outcome shouldn't come as a shock however, as UCLA was returning 18 players from a Top-20 team a year ago.
Be a playmaker Matt Johns - The jury is still out on this one. For all intents and purposes, Johns played well. He was 21-35 for 238 years with one TD and one INT. And most importantly, there were flashes of him trying to make things happen. Whether it was him rushing for a first down late in the third quarter to keep a drive alive and preserve any glimmer of hope for a comeback, or him eluding the pass rush to step up in the pocket look to run only to find a wide open receiver. Unfortunately, he was undone by unimaginative play calling. What worries me most is that Johns looks like a player who requires rhythm and as long as he is running plays called like they were today (and have been for...?) he is going to struggle to find that groove.
Overall, it was not a surprising result. The day began and ended with Rosen. Facing as talented a team as the Bruins are, the only hope the Hoos had was to get to Rosen and make him miserable. That didn't happen. To his credit, Rosen looked like a seasoned vet, not a first year player, and in the end that was too much for the Hoos to handle.