Quarterback Josh Rosen left the game in the third quarter of the 44-23 loss to Washington, and UCLA is unsure when he’ll be able to play again.
They didn’t quit.
“I thought their effort was great and their energy was great up until the very end of the game,” Mora said. “You can sense when a team feels defeated or dejected, and I did not ever feel that from our defense at all.
“So that’s a positive. I think they’re starting to believe in what they’re doing and you’ll see them continue to get better.”
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The big picture looks dim for UCLA, which fell to 4-4 and 2-3 in Pac-12 because Mora was unsure if Rosen, who was sacked four times in the first half and left the game early in the third quarter due to unspecified injuries, would return next week.
“He took some hits,” Mora said. “He’s beat up. He’s got some multiple things going on.
“We felt it was best to keep him out, and I respect that. I trust them and I think it was the right decision. We’ll re-evaluate. They’ll examine him after the game. They’ll examine him tomorrow and they’ll see where he’s at, and then we’ll make a decision in how we move on.”
Even with Rosen, who entered the game second in the nation among FBS quarterbacks in passing yards, the Bruins trailed 20-9 and managed just 117 yards in the first half against a UW defense missing its top two cornerbacks. (Jordan Miller is out for the season with a broken ankle, and Byron Murphy, who suffered a broken foot, is expected back this season.)
Rosen finished with a career-low 93 yards on 12-for-21 passing.
His day began with a sack by 322-pound defensive tackle Greg Gaines. And essentially, Rosen’s afternoon ended after cornerback Austin Joyner took him down in the pocket late in the second quarter.
After the sack, Rosen completed 3 of 8 passes for 15 yards. He limped to the locker room early in the third quarter and returned wearing gray sweats while redshirt freshman Devon Modster took over.
“It was very disappointing, the sacks,” UCLA offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said. “And it was disappointing on many levels. As we’ve said, 11 people are responsible for sacks because some plays it’s on a back, some plays it’s on the line, some plays it’s on the quarterback.
“Today, we have to throw the ball away when we’re out of the pocket. We cannot get tackled for no reason. The rules allow that for quarterbacks that when you’re outside the pocket, the ball can get thrown away. When you’re inside the pocket you have to know where your problems are.”
Identifying the problems on UCLA’s defense was relatively easy. The Bruins entered the game allowing 303.4 yards per game, which ranked last nationally among 129 FBS teams, and they surrendered 333 to the Huskies.
“The numbers are high, I guess, but I’m not a big stat guy,” UCLA defensive coordinator Tom Bradley said. “I know what happened out there. The things that concern me the most are the big plays (and) the missed tackles. Those are the things that have me concerned, and we got to do a better job.”
Still, Bradley knows the UCLA defense has been ravaged by injuries. After the game, he announced junior linebacker Josh Woods, who was injured during last week, is out for the season and will undergo surgery Tuesday to repair a shoulder injury.
Late in the game, UCLA defensive end Greg Rogers stripped running back Kamari Pleasant and forced a fumble that defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa returned 51 yards for a touchdown.
“They fought to the end,” Bradley said. “Towards the end of the game we got the turnover. They fight, and they’ll fight ya. Obviously there’s some things that need corrected, and they know what they have to do to get better.”