Carey carries the 'Cats
No. 16 UCLA has allowed only two running backs to top 100 yards this season. The Bruins lost both games.
It's no great revelation that when a team is successful on the ground, it often wins. That underscores UCLA's need to contain Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey.
Carey averaged 148.4 yards per game to lead the nation in 2012. He is leading it again this season, averaging 153.1 yards.
"We have to be balanced, stay square and get this guy to the ground," said UCLA Coach Jim Mora. "That is not easy to do."
Last year, UCLA held Carey to 54 yards in a 66-10 victory. Mora attributed that in part to the Bruins getting an early lead. They were up, 21-0, after the first quarter.
A good offense could again be the best run defense. But the Bruins will have to deal with more than Carey. Quarterback B.J. Denker also has been an effective runner.
"He's elusive," said UCLA nose tackle Seali'I Epenesa. "We have to pressure him, but also try to keep him in the pocket."
Hits and misses
During the last four weeks, UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley has rolled up big numbers against lowly California and Colorado and been stifled by national powers Stanford and Oregon.
Arizona's is not the staunchest defense, but the Wildcats rank 15th nationally in passing efficiency defense and 27th in scoring defense.
The Bruins' young offensive line has developed some continuity. The return of Damien Thigpen should give the running game more life. Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone loosened the reins a little last week, having the passing game go downfield more.
If Hundley is contemplating declaring for the NFL draft after this season, this would be a good game to show his wares.
History Lesson, Part I
Tucson has been to the Bruins what Tombstone was to the Clantons.
UCLA has lost the last four times at Arizona. The Wildcats' 48-12 rout two years ago was the most embarrassing. The teams brawled during the game, with 10 players being suspended by the conference.
Four of those players are expected to play Saturday: UCLA's Shaquelle Evans and Cassius Marsh and Arizona's Shaquille Richardson and Jourdon Grandon.
Mora addressed the issue with his team this week, though not specifically.