PASADENA, Calif. – The University of Hawai’i football team (2-1) dropped its first game of the season with a 56-23 road loss to UCLA, Saturday afternoon at the Rose Bowl. The Rainbow Warriors came in upset-minded and seeking their first 3-0 start in 10 years. However, they were denied by a Bruin squad (2-0) that continued its season-opening offensive tear.
UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen threw for 329 yards and five touchdowns on 22-of-25 passing with most of the damage done in the first half. Rosen went for 170 yards and three touchdowns in the first half alone as the UCLA built a 35-7 lead at intermission.
With 515 total yards, including another monster performance by senior running back Diocemy Saint Juste, UH actually out-gained the Bruins for the game. Saint Juste finished with 154 yards on a career-high 27 carries – reaching the century mark for the fourth time in the last five games. Meanwhile, sophomore receiver John Ursuareturned to the lineup with a team-high 10 catches for 79 yards and a touchdown.
UH, however, had difficulty finishing drives and couldn’t stop a red-hot Rosen. UCLA started the game by picking up right where they left off from last week’s comeback win over Texas A&M. The Bruins ended their first two drives – including a 99-yard drive—with a pair of Rosen touchdown tosses. UH cut the lead to 14-7 early in the second quarter on a Saint Juste four-yard catch.
But after that it was all UCLA as the Bruins scored 28 unanswered points to take a commanding lead. Three of those touchdowns came in the decisive second quarter, when the Bruins scored via the ground, air, and on 30-yard interception return. UH was able to score just once in the first half despite driving into Bruin territory on four occasions.
UH quarterback Dru Brown finished the game 23-of-38 for 227 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, the UH defense racked up three sacks on the day, including one by sophomore Kaimana Padello that led to a safety.
The loss snaps Hawaii’s 5 game winning streak dating back to last season.
The Rainbow Warriors will have a bye next week, before opening Mountain West play on the road at Wyoming on Sept. 23.