UCLA vs. Arizona matchups: Demetric Felton Jr. set to carry Bruins’ offense
UCLA running back Demetric Felton Jr. vs. the Arizona defense: Felton has rushed for more than 100 yards in back-to-back games for the first time in his career and figures to be a big part of the Bruins’ game plan, regardless of whether quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is cleared to play after having spent time in quarantine because of contact tracing related to COVID-19. He’ll face an Arizona defense that’s giving up 5.3 yards per carry after getting stomped by Washington last weekend. Wildcats defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads was UCLA’s defensive backs coach in 2018 and 2019.
UCLA (460.0 ypg/37.0 ppg): If Thompson-Robinson is unable to play, quarterback Chase Griffin will make his second consecutive start. Griffin threw for 195 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions and also lost a fumble last weekend against Oregon. Whoever is the quarterback will lean heavily on a rushing offense that’s generating 228.7 yards per game, ranking No. 17 nationally.
Arizona (387.5 ypg/28.5 ppg): Quarterback Grant Gunnell has fond memories of playing the Bruins, having shredded their defense for 352 passing yards and a touchdown last season in his first career start. Running back Gary Brightwell is averaging 83.5 yards rushing per game, seventh in the Pac-12.
UCLA (374.3 ypg/32 ppg): The Bruins have generated an average of nine tackles for loss per game, ranking fifth in the country. UCLA has also collected at least four sacks in consecutive games for the first time since 2016.
Arizona (485 ypg/39 ppg): The Wildcats rank toward the bottom of the Pac-12 in every major statistical defensive category and are dead last in scoring defense. Part of the problem has been the lack of a sustained pass rush; Arizona has recorded just one sack in two games, by defensive end Paris Shand.
The Bruins turned the ball over for the second time this season on special teams last weekend when Qwuantrezz Knight fumbled a kickoff return. Kyle Philips had fumbled a punt return during UCLA’s season opener. The Bruins ended up losing both games.
UCLA will need to beat a winless Arizona team on Saturday if the Bruins are going to start to impress anyone under Chip Kelly.
UCLA has given up at least one turnover that led to points for the opponents in the first quarter of every game this season, including two turnovers against Colorado that led to 14 points and two more against Oregon that led to 14 points.
It remained unclear whether any of the nine UCLA players who missed the Oregon game because of COVID-19 issues would be allowed to return this week. Two tested positive for the coronavirus and seven others were sidelined because of contact tracing. … Arizona running back Frank Brown and safety Jarrius Wallace are questionable because of injuries.
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