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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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Rosen’s Redemption

Junior+quarterback+Josh+Rosen+will+appear+in+his+first+game+since+receiving+a+shoulder+injury%2C+which+ended+his+season%2C+against+Arizona+State+last+season.
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Junior quarterback Josh Rosen will appear in his first game since receiving a shoulder injury, which ended his season, against Arizona State last season.

The scene spoke for itself as UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen squatted in shock after Texas A&M safety Justin Evans swatted away the Bruins fourth-and-goal pass in overtime to seal the Aggies 31-24 win last season.

Just minutes before the game-ending pass-breakup, Evans made a leaping interception on what could have been a game-winning drive for UCLA in regulation.

That play came moments after Rosen threw his arms up to enhance the crowd noise prior to the snap – a cherry on top to his “50,000” comments earlier that week.

Since then, Rosen said he has watched a lot of A&M film.

Rosen may have studied the Aggies endlessly this offseason, but gave a rather smart answer as to what he has learned about the squad he will face on Sunday.

“We haven’t really seen many of their games this year because they haven’t played any. You can watch some of their players from last year,” Rosen told reporters following Wednesday’s practice. “They’ve got a lot of really good guys coming back.”

Rosen said earlier in August that he has spent separate film sessions studying NFL quarterbacks Tom Brady and Matt Ryan. While A&M and UCLA open this season playing an unconventional Sunday game, Aggie players acknowledged that Rosen may fill the shoes of Brady and Ryan as a Sunday starter himself one day.

“He’s a guy that’s going to be a really good quarterback in the NFL one day,” A&M defensive tackle Kingsley Keke said at Tuesday’s press conference. “He has an amazing arm, but we’re going to do our best to make him feel us.”

Rosen felt the A&M defense last year, as the Aggies sacked him five times and forced him to throw three interceptions. While Rosen boasts a rocket arm, the key to A&M having similar results as last season may be to force him to throw on the run.

“We’ve got a couple things we’re going to do to make him move around in the pocket, make him get out the pocket and feel uncomfortable a little bit,” Keke said.

The Bruins though know they must shake up their game plan to provide a different outcome.

“Schematically, we definitely want to attack a few different things,” Rosen said. “We’re going into this game with a little bit different of a mindset.”

Even if the Aggies can apply the same pressure they did at Kyle Field, the A&M play-callers know they cannot back down, emphasizing Rosen’s toughness and ability to never quit while making key adjustments throughout the game.

“We knew he was smart, we knew he is bigger than you think he is, you knew he had the ability at the line of scrimmage, he made some checks, some changes, threw some great balls,” A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said. “We hit him and we hit him a lot and he got better. It’s not supposed to work that way, it’s supposed to go the other way and the more we hit him the better he got, particularly in the fourth quarter.”

UCLA, however, may have depth issues on the offensive line with senior Kenny Lacy suffering a season-ending hip injury. The Bruins setback is one the Aggies hope they can capitalize on.

“It always does when you lose one of your starters, obviously it’s going to affect your game a little bit,” senior defensive end Jarrett Johnson said. “Hopefully for them their second-string guy is not that far off than their first-string guy, but that can definitely be a disadvantage. We always take advantage of any opportunity we have and that will be one of them.”

With kickoff approaching, the time has come for Rosen to put his learning to practice. Rosen nearly completed a 15-point comeback victory against the Aggies last season, and maybe after studying Tom Brady’s Super Bowl LI film, he has discovered the secret to finish the job at his place.

Through the off-field events of last season and months of waiting, Johnson feels that Rosen may indeed be seeking revenge against A&M. It may even be in his signal-calling DNA.

“Any good quarterback is competitive by nature, so obviously that edge is with him at all times,” Johnson added. “Maybe he feels like he has something to prove against us.”

After suffering a season-ending shoulder injury half-way through the season last year, Rosen is even more eager to strap on his shoulder pads.

“You just want to beat them as much as you do anyways,” Rosen said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve competed against anyone that’s not in a UCLA jersey, so I’m just excited to get on the field and play football again.”

Keke though summed it up simply – let the talking do itself on the field.

“Football is football, everybody likes to talk or say stuff, but who cares, let’s just play,” Keke said.

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