Saturday, 17 September 2016 15:04

Bruins Travel To Provo To Take On BYU

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Olorunfunmi B AMMost Bruin fans understood that the first month of the season was going to challenging for UCLA (1-1). With that accepted, how the Bruins would play during September, will set the table for the rest of the season. 

The Bruins could easily be sitting at 2-0, but left too many plays and opportunities on the field in their opener against Texas A&M. UCLA handled a scrappy and improved UNLV team to even their record setting up a tough contest against an always veteran and physical BYU (1-1) team.

Like the Bruins, the Cougars could easily be undefeated at this juncture of the season but dropped a tough one to arch rival Utah 20-19 while previously defeating Arizona 18-16 in their opener. Both games were on the road and UCLA marks BYU’s first home game of the season.

UCLA has their work cut out for them as the Cougars have won four straight home openers and are 8-3 in home openers since 2005. BYU has won eight straight home games dating back to 2014. The Cougars always tough at home winning 77 percent of their games at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

BYU is coached by Kalani Sitake, who is in his first season on the job. It is a homecoming for Sitake who played his college football at BYU under Hall of Fame coach, Lavell Edwards.

Sitake cut his teeth in the coaching profession at Utah where he was a long time assistant who became one of the country’s best defensive coordinators. He coordinated Oregon State’s defense in 2015 before getting the BYU job.

The Cougars have an experienced and talented quarterback in senior Tayson Hill (6-2, 235), who is threat running, as well as passing. On the season Hill has completed 42-68 passes for 378 yards, while completing 61.8 percent of his passes. He has thrown three interceptions and only one touchdown pass. Hopefully the Bruin defense will be able to take advantage of that stat.

Hill is second on the team in rushing accounting for 124 yards, averaging 5.2 yards per carry and has scored two touchdowns on the ground with a long run of 39 yards.

Hill likes to spread the wealth around in the passing game, but of the Cougar aerial attack is mostly short and underneath. Junior Jonah Trinnaman (6-0, 190) and Mitchell Juergens (5-10, 184) are tied for the team lead in receptions with eight. Triggerman has 76 receiving yards and Juergens has 52.

Sophomore Moroni Laulu-Putatau (6-4, 220) gives Hill that large target that all passing games desire. Laulu-Putatau has recorded seven receptions and 80 yards. Senior Colby Pearson (6-0, 203) adds six catches for 47 yards.

The Cougar running came is led by Jamaal Williams (6-2, 220) who played his high school football in the Inland Empire at Fontana (Calif.) Summit. He gives the Cougars a big back, the kind that have given the Bruins troubles in the past. Williams has rushed for 220 yards while averaging 5.4 yards per carry.

The last time the Bruins traveled to Provo for a game they were hammered 59-0 in UCLA’s worse loss since 1929. Thankfully for Bruin fans that was under coach during another time.

UCLA and BYU have played 11 times before with the Bruins leading the series with eight wins against three losses.

The game will be televised by the ESPN2 and announcing the game will be Allen Bestwick, Mike Bellotti and Kris Budden. The Bruin IMG Radio Network (Josh Lewin, Matt Stevens, Wayne Cook) will radio broadcast the contest on am570 or 1150am. The contest will also be aired over Sirius 93/XM 204 (internet 964), uclabruins.com and tunein.com and the TuneIn App.

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