UCLA vs. Washington State Prediction, Game Preview

    UCLA vs. Washington State prediction and game preview. The Bruins look to improve to 8-2 as they host the Cougars.

    November 10, 2015

    The UCLA Bruins (7-2) and the Washington State Cougars (6-3) meet for the first time since 2012 in a key interdivisional showdown. Check out the Washington State vs. UCLA prediction and game preview.

    Washington State vs. UCLA Prediction & Preview


    Date: Saturday, November 14
    Game Time: 10:45 ET
    Network: ESPN

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    Why You Need To Care

    UCLA is three wins away from the South Division crown and a likely rematch with Stanford. Each of the remaining three games, however, will be extremely thorny.

    The Bruins have rallied from their 2015 low point, winning three straight over Cal, Colorado and Oregon State. But the next three hurdles, stylistically different Wazzu, Utah and USC, are significantly taller. And more profound. UCLA controls its own destiny going forward. If it stumbles at any point, though, the odds of catching the first place Utes drop precipitously.

    Washington State continues to be one of the best stories of the year in the Pac-12. An afterthought when the year kicked off, the Cougars have improbably stormed into second place in the North Division. They won’t pass Stanford in the pecking order, losing a Halloween heartbreaker to the Cardinal, but they’re already bowl eligible. Plus, the team’s three losses were by only 15 combined points.

    Why Washington State Will Win

    The Cougars travel well.

    Washington State has shown a knack all year for playing well on the road. They’ve already won on the East Coast, at Autzen Stadium and in Tucson, and they hung with Cal when Cal was still a player. Furthermore, QB Luke Falk and the nation’s second-ranked passing attack will enjoy working in the sunshine and mild weather of Pasadena. Falk has been a second-year revelation, throwing five touchdown passes in four of his last five games. UCLA must also contend with the pressure and speed of a Cougar defense that ranks No. 11 nationally in tackles for minus yards.

    Why UCLA Will Win

    The Bruins will pound the ball on offense, setting up QB Josh Rosen on play-action.

    UCLA averages more than five yards a carry. Wazzu allows over five yards per touch on the ground. That’s a bad combination for the visitors. While the Cougars are quick and oppressive, they’ll bend when run directly at. And that’s exactly what Jim Mora plans to do, with help from workhorse Paul Perkins and backups Soso Jamabo and Nate Starks. The Bruins will wear down Washington State, which will simultaneously keep the ball away from Falk and afford Rosen clean looks to find Jordan Payton and Thomas Duarte streaking downfield.

    Player Who Matters

    True, UCLA leads the Pac-12 in pass defense. But prepping for the Washington State passing game is like getting ready for Navy’s triple-option. It’s just different than any other passing game, which puts a ton of pressure on Bruins DBs Ishmael Adams, Randall Goforth, Marcus Rios and Jaleel Wadood to adjust to a field flooded with receivers. UCLA won’t shut down Falk and his receivers. Few have. What the Bruins need to do is limit yards after the catch, and disrupt Falk’s rhythm with heat from DE Takkarist McKinley and linebackers Deon Hollins and Aaron Wallace.

    What’s Going To Happen?

    The UCLA ground game vs. the Washington State aerial assault. Edge to the Bruins.

    The Cougars will be in this clash of philosophies for the long haul. But the Bruins’ ability to pound it between the tackles will both frustrate and exhaust Wazzu. Falk won’t get his usual number of attempts or his typical production, a problem for a team that relies so heavily on its passing output. UCLA stays in the South Division chase, while Washington State once again acquits itself very well in a tough loss.

    Washington State vs. UCLA Prediction

    Prediction: UCLA 37, Washington State 31, Line: UCLA -9.5, o/u: 65.5
    Must See Rating: 5: Spectre … 1: The 33 … 3.5


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