LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (HawaiiNewsNow) - UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen entered Saturday's game against the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors coming off a career-defining performance against Texas A&M, and continued his fine form with a five touchdown performance against the 'Bows in a 56-23 win at the Rose Bowl.
The Warriors began their first drive of the game with intent as they drove past the halfway line, stringing together consecutive first down conversions behind running back Diocemy Saint Juste and short, quick passes from quarterback Dru Brown.
Unfortunately for the 'Bows, they weren't able to convert on third down on multiple occasions throughout the first half, and the Bruins took advantage.
UCLA jumped out to an early 14-0 lead thanks to Rosen's quick release from the pocket, disrupting UH's game plan to create pressure with the blitz like the Aggies did in the first half of their game against the Bruins last weekend. Rosen was able to stay upright, take his time in the pocket and deliver picture-perfect passes to his receivers for the majority of the game.
Rosen was almost perfect on every pass, finishing 22-of-25 passing for 329 yards with his five scores, but the most impressive quality was his ability to dissect the Warriors' defense with relative ease.
Warriors head coach Nick Rolovich and his defensive coordinator, Legi Suiaunoa, have preached this past week in practice that the Warriors needed to limit mistakes, including penalties and turnovers. Hawaii gave up 40 yards on penalties on four flags, including a crucial offensive pass interference penalty on third down, which set UH back a further 15 yards.
The 'Bows were able to remain within striking distance thanks to a Diocemy Saint Juste touchdown reception from quarterback Dru Brown to bring the score to 14-7, but that would be the only time the game stayed within one score. After falling behind 28-7 late in the second quarter, the Warriors all but sealed their fate when Brown threw a pick-six on UH's following possession, as UCLA extended its lead to 35-7.
UCLA weren't perfect in the first half, but they didn't need to be. The Bruins surrendered 48 yards on six penalties, but were able to makeup any errors they may have committed on the defensive side of the ball with exceptional play from quarterback Josh Rosen, who put on a show in the first 30 minutes of the game.
At the half, Rosen threw for 170 yards on 12-of-14 passing with three touchdowns.
The Warriors came into Saturday's game needing to create a pass rush, but were unsuccessful in collapsing Rosen's pocket. UH managed to get one sack on Rosen in the first at the tail-end of the first half, but Rosen was barely touched otherwise until the beginning of the third quarter.
UH defensive end David Manoa found a lane to Rosen on the opening drive of the second half and was able to strip the ball out of his hands, but UCLA recovered the fumble.
The fumble seemed to wake up UCLA a little as they began to pick up from their dominant second quarter with Rosen finding Andrews for his fourth touchdown pass of the game, his third to Andrews. Andrews finished with four receptions for 92 yards in addition to his touchdown receptions.
While the Warriors were getting blown out on the scoreboard, the disparity between the two teams wasn't as big as one might think. With 7:01 remaining in the third quarter, UCLA had 344 total yards while UH had 310, despite the Bruins leading 42-14 after a John Ursua touchdown reception for the Warriors in the third. UCLA would go on to add on two more touchdowns, one from running back Bo Olorunfunmi and Caleb Wilson.
There weren't many bright spots for UH today, except for the performance of Saint Juste who pulled off an impressive 66-yard run to set the 'Bows up in the red zone. But once again, Hawaii's offense failed to take advantage of good field position and turned the ball over on downs.
Their defense, however, was able to make the most out of having UCLA up against their end zone, and was able to push Bruins' backup quarterback Devon Modster back into the end zone for a safety.
Trailing 56-16, second string quarterback for the Warriors, Cole McDonald, entered the game in the fourth quarter and immediately made an impact with a 58-yard run, followed by an eight yard scamper for a touchdown to reduce the deficit to 56-23.
While McDonald was impressive running the ball for the Warriors, the real bright spot for UH was from the usual suspect, Saint Juste. Saint Juste became the ninth player in program history to eclipse 2,000 yards rushing in a career on Saturday with a 154-yard performance on 27 carries.
But running the ball did UH no good once they fell behind early. The loss to UCLA marked the first time that the Warriors lost this season, bringing their record to 2-1. The Warriors will continue their road trip in two weeks against Wyoming on Saturday, September 23.