Posted on September 17, 2017, by Travis Pulver
Josh Rosen is going to be at the top of the list for quarterback-needy NFL teams come Draft Day. When the team with the No. 1 pick is on the clock, the commentators will probably talk about that incredible comeback he had against Texas A&M. But either before the pick or after it they will tell another story.
The will talk about his performance in the loss to the Memphis Tigers that came a couple of weeks after that Texas A&M game.
The Rosen-supporters will be quick to point out he went 34-56 for 463 yards and two touchdowns. He also added another 32 yards and a touchdown on the ground. They will talk about how he did more than anyone could expect. It’s not his fault the team couldn’t run the ball or that the defense couldn’t stop Memphis.
But Rosen also threw two interceptions (one was returned for a touchdown) and had two costly intentional grounding penalties.
“I just got caught up trying to throw the ball away when I should have just been smarter,” Rosen said after the game (ESPN). “We were in field goal range. It’s a four-point play. Then the pick-six was seven. That’s 10 points on the board, and we lost by less than that. I just can’t make silly mistakes like that.
“It’s trying to play hero ball. It’s not needed. You have to play within the system.”
The two teams lit up the scoreboard in the first half. They traded the lead back and forth a few times. But a 33-yard touchdown pass from Riley Ferguson to Anthony Miller with 42 seconds left in the half gave Memphis a 27-24 lead at the break.
Memphis extended the lead with another touchdown pass from Ferguson to Miller on the opening drive of the second half. UCLA didn’t retake the lead until early in the fourth quarter when Rosen connected with Austin Roberts for a 22-yard touchdown.
But Ferguson would retake the lead for Memphis on the next drive with a three-yard touchdown pass to Phil Mayhue to make the score 48-45. After trading interceptions on the next two drives, Rosen got the Bruins as close as the Memphis 46 before turning the ball over on downs.
With how UCLA’s defense is playing this season it appears Rosen will get plenty of opportunities to display his skill set to NFL scouts. After giving up 471 yards to Texas A&M, they gave up over 500 to Hawaii. Memphis ended the night with 560 (398 passing, 162 rushing).
A few more performances like the one he had against the Bruins and Memphis quarterback Riley Ferguson could sneak his way onto a few draft boards. The senior completed 23 of 38 passes for 398 yards and six touchdowns along with one interception.
The win made it three years in a row that Memphis has beaten a ranked team. It is also the fourth year in a row that the Bruins were ranked and lost to an unranked team. It’s also the first time under Jim Mora the Bruins lost to a Group of Five team.
UCLA will certainly need to figure out something on defense if they want to be bowl eligible at the end of the season. It will not get any easier next week against Stanford. Rosen will have his work cut out for him. The Cardinal are allowing just 200 yards passing a game. Stanford is also averaging 499 yards and 43 points a game on offense.
Memphis will try to keep the good times rolling against Southern Illinois next week (with kickoff at 8 PM ET).