PASADENA—College football kicks off across the nation over the Labor Day weekend. Diehard Bruins fans will celebrate the beginning of UCLA Football against the backdrop of the beautiful San Gabriel Mountains, as they face Coastal Carolina on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl.
Kickoff is slated for 7:30 pm, Mother Nature will be accommodating as the Bruins take the field in 2023. UCLA Athletics is providing complimentary tickets to Pasadena residents for the annual Pasadena Resident Appreciation football game.
“UCLA Athletics is proud to call the Rose Bowl Stadium and Pasadena home! We’d like to invite all current Pasadena residents to join us this Labor Day Weekend for the 2023 UCLA Football home opener on Saturday,” UCLA said in a statement.
It will be a brand new Bruins with the departures of Running Back Zach Charbonnet, and five-year starting Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson.
Who will replace the UCLA QB who broke all of the school’s passing records? As of last week, not even UCLA head coach Chip Kelly had made up his mind.
Ethan Garbers won the starting quarterback job in training camp, but UCLA will still give talented freshman Dante Moore a chance to showcase his talents. There is such a great deal of enthusiasm and hype surrounding the true freshmen, it feels inevitable we will see him on the field at some point in the game.
Once again, UCLA hit the transfer portal to find a replacement for Zach Charbonnet, with former Ball State standout Carson Steele expected to take over the role as lead back. UCLA is benefitting from the transfer portal, as it has in previous years.
The Bruins have plenty of stars returning on the defensive end of the ball. Linebacker Darius Muasau is a tackling machine, who should compete for All-Conference honors as a senior this fall.
He will be joined by fellow linebacker Laiatu Latu and defensive tackle Jay Toia in the Bruins’ stout front seven. The Bruins finished 2022 at a mark of 9-4, and look to take that next step and win the Pac-12 Conference.
Time is running out; this will be the UCLA Bruins final season as a member of the PAC-12 Conference ending the century long partnership. Next season, both the UCLA Bruins and the USC Trojans will join the Big Ten Conference.
Coastal Carolina boasts senior Grayson McCall. The three-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year enters his final college season with 8,086 passing yards, 78 touchdown passes, 8 interceptions. He’s also rushed for 1,065 yards and 17 touchdowns.
The Chanticleers, (that’s their nickname, it means a Rooster by the way,) also had an identical record of 9-4 last season. It will be interesting to see how the Bruins secondary performs.
The Bruins return experience and will have Redshirt freshman Kamari Ramsey making his first career start at safety. The Bruins’ top cornerback, Devin Kirkwood, is healthy after missing the final four games last season due to a wrist injury.
Kickoff for UCLA Football is Saturday, September 2 at 7:30 p.m. from the iconic Rose Bowl.