UCLA football 2017 season preview: Texas A&M

Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin has led the Aggies to three underwhelming 8-5 seasons. (Photo by Sam Craft/AP)

With 12 days until UCLA takes the stage at Pac-12 Media Days at Hollywood and Highland, it’s about time we start looking ahead to football season. Each day, we’ll examine a UCLA opponent and outline possible storylines for the matchup. Let’s start from the top:

Texas A&M at UCLA
Sunday, Sept. 3 | Rose Bowl
4 p.m. PT, FOX

The heat rises under Kevin Sumlin’s seat as Texas A&M’s record remains the same. The Aggies have had three straight 8-5 seasons and have yet to win a division title entering their sixth year in the SEC.

Strong starts followed by consistent November collapses have doomed the Aggies (8-5, 4-4 SEC in 2016) to mediocrity. Texas A&M’s upset victory over then-No. 16 UCLA in the season opener last year propelled the Aggies to a No. 4 ranking in the first College Football Playoff rankings before they went 1-3 in November and lost the Texas Bowl to Kansas State.

Flooded with questions at SEC Media Days about his job security, Sumlin said he already feels the most pressure to win from himself.

“Nobody wants to win more than me,” the head coach said this past week.

Game Storylines Continue reading “UCLA football 2017 season preview: Texas A&M” »

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Breaking down the UCLA offense’s performance against Texas A&M

UCLA's total yardage against Texas A&M. Graphic by Thuc Nhi Nguyen // SCNG

UCLA’s total yardage against Texas A&M. Graphic by Thuc Nhi Nguyen // SCNG

Above is a look at UCLA’s yardage accumulated over the course of the game against Texas A&M, broken down by quarter. The team had its most success in the fourth quarter during that 15-point comeback, but also started to gain some traction in the second quarter too. UCLA had seven plays of 10 yards or longer in the second quarter.

The third quarter was UCLA’s worst offensive quarter. The Bruins only gained 24 total yards. Eleven plays went for zero or negative yardage. Kennedy Polamalu‘s inability to adjust to Texas A&M’s halftime adjustments in time ultimately cost the Bruins.

Links for the day

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UCLA practice links: Bruins undeterred by loss to Texas A&M

UCLA defensive back Fabian Moreau (10) tackles Texas A&M running back James White (20) for a loss during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)

UCLA defensive back Fabian Moreau (10) tackles Texas A&M running back James White (20) for a loss during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)

UCLA had lofty goals during the offseason and the Bruins are confident they can still chase them despite Saturday’s loss to Texas A&M.

“Often times you see it’s better to lose in September than it is in December,” center Scott Quessenberry said. “We’re going to shake it off and we’re going to claw out the rest of this tough schedule we have.”

More from the Monday’s main story as UCLA restarts practice in advance for its home opener Saturday.

Other links

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Wrapping up UCLA’s 31-24 loss to Texas A&M

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen (3) tries to throw the ball out of bounds as he is sacked by Texas A&M defensive lineman Kingsley Keke (88) during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, in College Station, Texas. Sam Craft AP Photo

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen (3) tries to throw the ball out of bounds as he is sacked by Texas A&M defensive lineman Kingsley Keke (88) during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016, in College Station, Texas. Sam Craft AP Photo

That was surely not the kind of start UCLA was hoping for. After a summer full of optimism, hope and great/phenomenal/fantastic practices, the Bruins fell flat in their season opener against Texas A&M. Except for the frantic comeback in the fourth quarter that erased a 15-point deficit in four minutes to force overtime, UCLA was choppy at best on offense, Josh Rosen looked like the freshman he was supposed to look like last year and the receivers showed why they were a big question mark going into the season.

It’s safe to say the summer of hope is over. It’s now onto the fall of reality.

Links from the game:

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Game gifs: Reaction to UCLA’s overtime loss to Texas A&M

I asked people on Twitter to tweet me a photo/gif of their feelings about UCLA’s 31-24 loss to Texas A&M on Saturday. Here were the responses:

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