UCLA-Arizona: A look at how the teams match up
UCLA (1-5, 1-2) vs. Arizona (3-4, 2-2)
Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Rose Bowl. TV: ESPN2. Radio: 570, 1150, 97.3.
UCLA tailback Joshua Kelley versus Arizona’s run defense. Kelley is looking to become the first Bruins ballcarrier to run for at least 100 yards in four consecutive games since Tyler Ebell did it six straight times in 2002. There could be plenty of room to roam against a run defense allowing 202 yards per game, second-worst in the Pac-12 Conference. The Wildcats permitted three Utah players to top 50 yards rushing last week during the Utes’ 42-10 romp.
UCLA (336.3 ypg/21.5 ppg): The Bruins’ recent success in the run game has taken considerable pressure off quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who completed 13 of 15 passes last weekend against California. His 92.9% adjusted completion percentage, which accounts for dropped passes, spiked balls, batted passes and passes where the quarterback was hit as he threw, led all Football Bowl Subdivision quarterbacks.
Arizona (427.1 ypg/27.4 ppg): Quarterback Khalil Tate being shut down this week because of an ankle injury will leave sophomore Rhett Rodriguez in control of the offense. Rodriguez was solid against the Utes, completing 20 of 38 passes for 226 yards and a touchdown. Tailback J.J. Taylor has averaged only 62 rushing yards per game since amassing 284 yards against Oregon State.
UCLA (409.7 ypg/31.5 ppg): There were some pleasing developments last week for the Bruins beyond forcing five turnovers. They didn’t extend scoring drives with untimely penalties and held Cal to three of 14 on third-down conversions after allowing opponents to make good on 53.8% of those situations earlier this season.
Arizona (437.9 ypg/28.7 ppg): The Wildcats give up lots of yards but also make lots of plays. In the last three games, Arizona has forced eight turnovers, the most of any Pac-12 team. Linebacker Colin Schooler leads the conference with 11.5 tackles for loss and the Wildcats have registered nine sacks in four Pac-12 games.
The Bruins appear to have fixed the coverage problems that plagued them earlier this season, allowing no return of more than 19 yards against Cal. … The Wildcats have made only two of their last seven field-goal attempts.
UCLA has not lost to Arizona at the Rose Bowl since 2010. … Arizona is coming off an extra day of rest after last having played Oct. 12.
UCLA recently learned it would be without linebacker Jaelan Phillips and tailbacks Bolu Olorunfunmi and Soso Jamabo for the rest of the season because of concussions. Bruins coach Chip Kelly said he was hopeful that cornerback Nate Meadors could play this week after suffering an unspecified injury against Cal. The status of right tackle Justin Murphy and tight end Jordan Wilson, also recovering from injuries, remained uncertain. … Arizona cornerback Jace Whittaker is doubtful, but defensive end-linebacker Kylan Wilborn, defensive tackle Derek Boles and offensive tackle Layth Friekh are probable.
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