It’s time for UCLA to start climbing the mountain. The Bruins will travel to Tempe, Arizona to face off with the 4-1 Arizona State Sun Devils. This is a big game for the race in the South division as UCLA and ASU are both 1-1 inside the conference and the winner will likely jump into second place. Coming of their best game of the season, UCLA will still look improve and tweak to leave Tempe with a win and second place in the South.
In the game against Arizona, Josh Rosen finally showed how good he is as he threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns. This was by far Rosen’s most impressive game of the season as the 350 yards was his most of the season and the three touchdowns almost doubled his season total. Also, on the offensive side on the ball the running back by committee has seemingly ended and Nate Starks has taken over the backfield. He took 17 of the 32 total carries and gained 80 yards and one score. Coach Jim Mora finally settled with one running back as combined Soso Jamabo and Bolu Olorunfunmi for nine carries and -3 yards. Along with the running backs, Rosen has finally found two reliable wide receivers that will actually catch the ball for him. Darren Andrews and Kenneth Walker both pass the 100 yard mark receiving and Walker got into the endzone twice. This by far was the best all-around offense performance we have seen from the Bruins this season. And with Arizona State just giving up 41 points to a seemingly bad USC team, UCLA’s offense will continue to run wild all over the Sun Devil Defense.
As for the defense, they continued to roll on and perform as well as anyone in the Pac-12. They only gave up 10 points entering the fourth quarter and held the Arizona passing offense to only 145 yards. The only point of concern was the run defense for the Bruins. The Wildcats ran for 242 which is a cause for concern going forward as ASU bolsters Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage as their two headed monster in the backfield. UCLA should look to make quarterback Manny Wilkins throw the ball as he has four picks this year to his five touchdown passes. That is, if Wilkins play. As of now, he is doubtful for the game and Brady White will look to take over the ASU offense.
The keys to the game for the Bruins will be the continued performance of the running game and the defense’s ability to force turnovers. They need to take advantage of Brady’s inexperience and show him exotic looks to confuse the young QB. I am coming into this game fairly confident as this ASU team is showing the world how good they really are, and with a backup QB the UCLA defense should have a field day. The Bruins will come away with another victory away from home and start the climb to the top of the South Division.