UCLA-Washington State: How the teams match up

Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon throws a pass
Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon throws a pass against the Houston Cougars on Sept. 13 in Houston.
(Michael Wyke / Associated Press)

UCLA (0-3, 0-0) at No. 19 Washington State (3-0, 0-0)

Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Martin Stadium, Pullman, Wash. TV: ESPN. Radio: 1150, 570.

Marquee matchup


Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon vs. the UCLA secondary. The Bruins are going from one prolific quarterback to another after getting gouged by Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts for 439 yards and four touchdowns last week. At least they don’t have to worry about Gordon hurting them nearly as much with his legs as Hurts did while running for 150 yards. But Gordon, a redshirt senior who had played sparingly before this season, may be a better pure passer than his Oklahoma counterpart. He leads the nation with 12 touchdown passes, 1,324 passing yards and 441.3 passing yards per game.

Getting offensive

UCLA (263.3 ypg, 14 ppg): The Bruins made some gains in their running game last week, collecting a season-high 110 yards, but they’re going to have to generate a lot more mileage to score more than 14 points for the first time in 2019. A big part of the offense’s problem has been its eight turnovers, which have led to 31 points for the opponents.

Washington State (567 ypg, 49.3 ppg): The Cougars have given new meaning to the spread as part of their Air Raid offense, with eight players catching touchdown passes in only three games. Receiver Brandon Arconado is tied for the Pac-12 Conference lead with 23 receptions and ranks third with 308 receiving yards. Easop Winston Jr. isn’t far behind with 16 catches for 234 yards.

National college football writer J. Brady McCollough predicts who’s going to win selected games in Week 4. He doesn’t like the chances for USC and UCLA.

Getting defensive

UCLA (467 ypg, 31.7 ppg): The next points the Bruins score off turnovers this season will be their first. The team has forced just two turnovers and none since its opener against Cincinnati. UCLA is also seeking any sort of pass rush after logging just four sacks, the third-fewest in the Pac-12. Linebacker Keisean Lucier-South could help in that department if he makes his season debut after completing an academic suspension.

Washington State (346.3 ypg, 16 ppg): The Cougars’ “Speed D” defense doesn’t get nearly the attention of the Air Raid but can be just as influential in the team’s success. Washington State has forced nine turnovers, ranking fifth nationally, including seven fumble recoveries. The Cougars also lead the Pac-12 in passing defense, allowing just 162.7 yards per game.

Something special

Australian punter Wade Lees, who at 31 is the second-oldest player in the Pac-12, has been a joy for the Bruins beyond the old-man jokes and kangaroo quips; his average of 44 yards per punt ranks No. 32 nationally.

Of note

Washington State is 15-1 at Martin Stadium over the last three seasons, with its only loss coming against rival Washington in the 2018 Apple Cup.

Injury report

The status of UCLA receiver Theo Howard, safety Quentin Lake and guard Michael Alves remained uncertain after they were not observed on the field Wednesday during the portion of practice open to reporters. … Washington State linebacker Dillon Sherman is questionable and could miss his second consecutive game with a lower-body injury. Cougars running back Clay Markoff is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury and receiver Jamire Calvin will miss his fourth straight game with a lower-body injury. Linebacker Dominick Silvels could miss his fourth straight game because of personal issues.