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UCLA vs. LSU: Three things you need to know

The UCLA defense stops Hawaii running back Dedrick Parson.
The UCLA defense stops Hawaii running back Dedrick Parson in the season opener. The Bruins’ defensive efficiency will be put to the test Saturday against LSU.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

UCLA (1-0) vs. No. 16 LSU (0-0)

Location: Rose Bowl.

Time: 5:30 p.m.

TV: FOX.

Weather forecast: 97 degrees, sunny.

Latest line: LSU by 2 ½ points.

About UCLA: Coming off their first nonconference victory since beating Hawaii in 2017, the Bruins hope to notch their first triumph over a Southeastern Conference team since their epic comeback against Texas A&M on Sept. 3, 2017, when they trailed by 34 points in the third quarter.

Chip Kelly and UCLA look for their biggest win since the Obama presidency while Ed Orgeron and LSU seek an opening victory after rare .500 season.

About LSU: The Tigers will probably make stopping the run a priority, but are they equipped to do so? They ranked No. 67 nationally in run defense last season, giving up 169 yards per game. That’s not a winning formula against a UCLA running game that has topped 200 yards in five of its last seven games, including 244 against Hawaii.

Three things you need to know

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1. Watch the turnover tally closely. UCLA did not commit one against Hawaii, continuing a trend under coach Chip Kelly in which it has gone plus-17 in the turnover department in victories and minus-27 in losses. The Bruins committed 12 of their 13 turnovers in their four losses last season.

2. UCLA’s defense will have a hard time matching its efficiency in the opener, when it held Hawaii to 1.2 yards per rush and 3.6 yards per play while forcing two turnovers.

3. If recent history is any indication, the Bruins are already on their way to their first bowl game under Kelly. They have gone to a bowl game in each of the last six seasons in which they won their first game.

Running back Zach Charbonnet, who played two seasons at Michigan before transferring, left a slew of Hawaii defenders in his wake in his UCLA debut.


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