Moore’s first pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown, and things didn’t get much better for a long time.
Struggling to find a rhythm, Moore completed only four of his first 15 passes. His receivers contributed to the inefficiency with several drops, including a bungled touchdown by Josiah Norwood.
Facing constant pressure, Moore rushed several throws and fired the ball out of bounds a few other times to avoid sacks.
“I’m sure there’s some plays he’ll want back,” UCLA coach Chip Kelly said, adding there was plenty of blame to go around. “But there’s calls I want back.”
After finally guiding his team 91 yards for a touchdown late in the game, Moore had a chance to help tie the score. But the offensive line’s protection issues persisted and Moore was sacked on three of his final four plays.
Kelly said he never considered replacing Moore with Collin Schlee or Ethan Garbers.
The most encouraging sign might have been the leadership displayed by UCLA’s youngest player after he completed only 15 of 35 passes for 234 yards with one touchdown and one interception, falling below the 50% completion threshold for the first time.
“I can put this loss on me, for sure,” said the 18-year-old, who celebrated his milestone birthday in May.