UCLA Football opened up their 2015 season on September 5 against Virginia and what followed was a memorable beginning.
Behind the arm of true freshman quarterback Josh Rosen, a swarming defense, and contributions from a running back trio of Paul Perkins, Soso Jamabo, and Bolu Olorunfunmi, UCLA cruised to a 34-16 win over the Cavaliers at the Rose Bowl.
RELATED: UCLA Wrecks UNLV, 37-7
The Bruins looked to bring some of that momentum into a road matchup against the UNLV Rebels on Saturday, and while it was not smooth sailing throughout for UCLA’s offense, there were certainly some bright spots.
For starters, Perkins and Jordan Payton were their usual reliable selves in Vegas.
Payton was certainly a key safety net for Rosen throughout, as he led all players in receiving on the night, compiling five catches for 70 yards and a touchdown.
Perkins, meanwhile, was undoubtably the player of the game on offense for the Bruins, as he racked up 151 yards and two touchdowns on just 18 carries.
Additionally, Nate Iese made quite an impact and once again showed why he is everyone’s favorite hybrid FB/TE, almost singlehandly breaking the Rebels’ spirit with every bruising run and broken tackle he had. His modest statistics of three catches for 30 yards do not do justice for the impact he had early in the contest.
Sep 12, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UCLA Bruins running back Bolu Olorunfunmi (20) is tackled by UNLV Rebels line backer Ryan McAleenan (56) and defensive back Kenny Keys (44) during the fourth quarter at Sam Boyd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports
Rosen had what can be described as a inconsistent game in his follow-up performance to his incredible college debut. He struggled with his deep ball placement, but he did make the usual positive impact on short to intermediate routes.
Some struggles like Rosen had are definitely expected from a true freshman, and more often than not he did have a solid game on Saturday. There is no reason whatsoever to worry about him, Bruin fans.
Lastly, Olorunfunmi had another great appearance on Saturday, getting 65 yards on nine carries and I can say with complete confidence that it looks like the Bruins’ running game will be just fine for the next few years.
Despite the fact that most of the Bruins’ were shaky at times, you can’t go wrong with a 37-3 win and UCLA should be ready to go come next week when they have a showdown at home versus #19 BYU.