Saturday, 14 October 2017 14:20

Bruins Head To Desert For Key Conference Showdown

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Olorunfunmi B AMUCLA (3-2, 1-1) has had a bye week to heal up and work on improving its run defense. Now all eyes are set on Arizona (3-2, 1-1) as the Bruins take their act to Tucson where the Wildcats wait.

Wildcats are coming off a road victory over the Colorado Buffaloes 45-42. Arizona had to hold back a hard charging Buffs for the victory. The Cats were energized by an outstanding performance off the bench by sophomore quarterback, Khalil Tate (6-2, 215), who rushed for 327 yards, number that is second best in school history. Included in his rampage were touchdown runs of 58, 28, 47 and 75 yards.

To make matters worse for a struggling UCLA defense, Tate passed for 142 yards and threw for a touchdown. All this production from a backup quarterback?

The Bruin defense will be severely tested by the explosive Wildcat offense. It is going to be vital that the UCLA defense plays their best game of the season if they are going to be able to slow down Arizona’s high octane offense.

Counted on to stop the Cats will be senior defensive back Jaleel Wadood, who leads the Bruins in tackles with 30. Senior linebacker Kenny Young and junior safety Adarius Pickett are tied for second in tackles with 27. Junior defensive back Nate Meadors leads the team with five deflected passes.

True freshman defensive lineman Jaelan Phillips leads the Bruins in tackles for loss with 4.5; followed by sophomore defensive linemen Rick Wade and Chigozie Nnoruka with 4.0 and senior defensive lineman Jacob Tuioti-Mariner has a team-leading 2.5 sacks.

If the Bruin defense doesn’t slow down the Wildcat offense than this game as all the earmarks of a good old-fashioned shootout.

UCLA’s offense has been spectacular led by field general field general Josh Rosen. The talented junior quarterback was named to the Manning Watch List and it is well deserved.

In five games, Rosen has hit on 159-245 passes, completing 64.9 percent of his passes, for 2,135 yards, and 17 touchdowns, against five interceptions. Rosen is on pace to throw for over 5,000 yards and if he does, it will be a new Pac 12 Conference record. The current record holder is Los Angeles Rams, quarterback Jared Goff, at 4,719 yards with the Cal Bears.

Rosen likes to share the wealth. There are 14 receivers on this UCLA team that have caught at least two passes, nine average 10-yards or better per grab and seven different receivers have been on the scoring end of a throw.

The Arizona Wildcat defense will also be put to the test and victor in this game will probably benefit from a decisive defensive play.

The Bruins will be looking for their first road victory of the season when the game kicks off at 6:00 PM PST in Arizona Stadium, a venue that holds 56,000 fans.

The game will be televised by Pac-12 Networks with Roxy Bernstein doing the play-by-play, Anthony Herron will be in the analyst chair, and Lewis Johnson will be covering the sideline.

The radio broadcast will be handled by UCLA Sports Network from IMG College and will be on AM 1150 with Josh Lewin and the quarterbacks, Matt Stevens and Wayne Cook in their usual roles.

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