Through the first six weeks of the college football season, no player had been responsible for more points than Josh Rosen. No quarterback had thrown for more yards, nor had any thrown for more touchdowns than UCLA’s quarterback. Rosen’s interception total was a tad higher than a few of his peers, but such is the balancing act that comes with the responsibility of running an entire offense with little added help.
The running game, in fact, had been so non-existent that, in a 27-23 Week 5 win over Colorado, Rosen lauded his backs for picking up a crucial first down. One first down. Of less than 10 yards. That was a legitimate subject of conversation.
But that has since changed for the Bruins, and in a big, impactful way. While UCLA did not beat Arizona in Week 7, it did run for 190 yards and 4 touchdowns, atoning for an unusually off day from Rosen and the passing game. And in Saturday’s 31-14 win over Oregon, the Bruin offense finally found an equal balance, scoring twice through the air and twice more on the ground.
An added benefit, aside from the points on the scoreboard: No turnovers.
“I didn’t really have to push or do too much,” Rosen said. “That’s why you see no turnovers.”
Saturday was Rosen’s first interception-free game since a Week 2 win over Hawaii. In three of the four games between Hawaii and Oregon, he threw multiple picks, including three in the loss to Arizona. In the same manner UCLA halted Oregon’s running game by stacking the box, opposing teams could focus nearly exclusively on Rosen, and it showed.
Until Saturday, when Bolu Olorunfunmi and Soso Jamabo combined for 142 yards and two touchdowns on just 28 carries.
“We have a team we believe in,” Rosen told reporters afterwards. “We’ve done some incredible things and not-so-incredible things this year. You just try to pull more from the positive side than the negative moving forward.”
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