BYU, UCLA hope for big weeks from quarterbacks Hill, Rosen
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Both BYU and UCLA entered the season with high expectations from returning quarterbacks with glitzy resumes. Now both programs hope their star signal-callers find their groove in Week 3 when the Cougars host the Bruins on Saturday night.
Josh Rosen was named 2015 Pac-12 newcomer of the year by the Associated Press and offensive freshman of the year by the conference coaches after throwing for 3,668 yards, 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He already ranks No. 10 in school history with 4,278 passing yards in 15 games, but Rosen is on pace for 18 interceptions in 2016. UCLA began the season ranked No. 16, but fell out after a 31-24 season-opening loss to Texas A&M in which the Bruins were held to three field goals through three quarters.
Rosen was 11 for 23 against BYU in 2015 with 106 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.
''Score more points,'' Rosen said about the offense. ''Every time we touch the ball you want to score, and if we don't do that I don't think you're allowed to be happy and shouldn't be happy.''
BYU quarterback Taysom Hill won the starting job over Tanner Mangum despite Mangum setting freshman school records while Hill recovered from a season-ending foot injury in 2015. Hill was a Heisman candidate after combining for more than 4,200 yards of offense and 29 touchdowns as a sophomore. His return has been a bit slow with 378 passing yards, one passing touchdown and three interceptions. Hill's running ability is what makes him special, and he's posted 124 yards and two touchdowns in two games.
BYU's 18.5 points per game ranks No. 113 in the country while UCLA's 33.0 points is tied for No. 59.
''We just need to be cleaner,'' Hill said. ''As we went back and watched the film, it was like, on every play there was one guy who wouldn't do his assignment and wasn't assignment-sound. It's hard to execute at a high level when you're playing a good defense when those things are going on.
''We've just got to make sure all 11 guys know what their responsibility is and they're taking care of it.''
Things to watch when BYU hosts UCLA
DOWN ON D: The Bruins rank No. 80 in the nation in total defense, allowing 385.0 yards per game. The run defense is tied for No. 98 with opponents posting 189.0 yards per game. Defensive end Takkarist McKinley (groin) and tackles Eddie Vanderdoes (knee) and Boss Tagaloa (ankle) have been banged up.
EYE ON THE PRIZE: BYU running back Jamaal Williams is 709 yards away from breaking Harvey Unga's school career rushing record. Williams has averaged 110 yards on the ground, No. 24 in the nation, in two games and has been the Cougars' top offensive weapon.
PLEASANT SURPRISE: BYU hired longtime defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake to take over the program, but the defense has still been a surprise. The scoring defense is tied for No. 39 in the country after giving up 18.0 points per game against two Pac-12 teams. Eight turnovers forced are tied with Nebraska for No. 3 in the country.
''Watching the film, it's interesting because we have to watch some Oregon State film and watch BYU film and try to figure out what they are doing,'' UCLA coach Jim Mora said. ''Anytime you get in a game like this where you're not sure what they are going to do, it's early in the season, you have to trust your rules. Every offensive play has a set of rules, every protection has a set of rules. You got to be able to sort things out and trust your rules to get through a down.''
20/20 HINDSIGHT: BYU offensive coordinator Ty Detmer said he double-guessed himself all weekend after calling a quarterback draw for Hill with the Cougars going for the win on a 2-point conversion in the final seconds against Utah. Hill was stuffed and BYU lost 20-19. ''I didn't do a good job of giving us an option other than the run,'' Detmer said. ''Having a pass option available if we do get a full blitz. That's on me as a play-caller not having that option available. Obviously, we will have that going forward.''
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