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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Historic Meltdown

Photo by Photo by C. Morgan Engel

Freshman linebacker Buddy Johnson walks to the locker room in dismay after the Aggies’ 45-44 loss to UCLA.

PASADENA, Calif. – It was the comeback that did not seem possible.
But with 43 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen turned the unthinkable into a reality, throwing his fourth touchdown pass of the quarter to Jordan Lasley in the corner of the endzone after faking a spike to give the Bruins a 45-44 lead.
“It was a sleeper play. We were going to go up and spike it,” Rosen said of the winning touchdown. “So we faked it, threw it up, DB kind of realized at the last second that the play was a play and I thought that’s what helped us. [Jordan] made an incredible catch.
“The chips just fell in our favor today.”
Four plays later, Texas A&M was stumped on fourth down as backup quarterback Kellen Mond was stopped less than a yard short of a first down, sealing the win for the Bruins Sunday night at the Rose Bowl.
A loss that A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said was unexplainable.
“We’re not making excuses for anything,” Sumlin said. “We didn’t get it done… They kept fighting and they made more plays than we did in the fourth quarter.”
Rosen’s fourth quarter was unbelievable, going 19-for-26 and 292 yards. Overall, Rosen was 35-for-59 and 491 yards, with all four touchdowns coming in the fourth quarter.
In the end, Rosen avenged himself against A&M.
“No one ever lost hope, but at a certain point, you’re not really looking at the scoreboard anymore,” Rosen said. “We just had to put our head down and play football.”
The A&M secondary was not at full strength during Rosen’s roar, as safety Donovan Wilson left the game in the third quarter which forced the Aggies to switch things in the secondary.
“When Donovan was ruled out the rest of the night, then you have a couple guys in there, because he’s the dime in certain packages, he’s a safety in other packages,” Sumlin said. “We’ve got [Keldrick] Carper and a couple other guys back there to try and fill that void with the nickel and dime packages.”
With 4:08 left in the third quarter, however, a Bruin comeback seemed like a fantasy as A&M kicker Daniel LaCamera knocked home a 48-yard field goal to give the Aggies a 44-10 lead.
“It was a great feeling,” running back Trayveon Williams, who rushed for 203 yards said. “We had a lot of energy, a lot hype on the sideline.”
The Aggies’ outrageous offensive production, however, then came to a screeching halt.
After exploding for 342 yards and 38 points in the first half, the Aggie offense became abysmal in the final thirty minutes, gaining just 129 yards while tacking on just six points. Following the final field goal, A&M recorded just 84 yards.
A&M was unstoppable on the ground in the first half, racking up 286 yards, but produced a mere 96 in the second half.
“We weren’t able to run it as effectively as we did in the first half because of a change on their part,” Sumlin said. “We were down a quarterback and at that point, running and throwing become a little different.
The Aggies struggled in the passing game all night, however, going a combined 9-for-30 and 89 yards.
Starting quarterback Nick Starkel was not flashy in his debut for A&M, going 6-for-13 and 62 yards, but consistently led the offense down the field. After suffering an apparent leg injury in the third quarter, Starkel left the game for good. His replacement Mond, had a rough time, going 3-for-17 and 27 yards.
“I talked to him after and it was a learning experience for him, for any young guy,” Sumlin said of Mond. “It was going to be a learning experience for any of the three quarterbacks that were coming in here… The guys who played tonight, I know that they learned from their mistakes… but we have to help them as an offense.”
Armani Watts said the Aggies must have amnesia to move past this record loss.
“The main focus now is we’ve got to finish games,” Watts said.

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