Week 11 Preview: UCLA at Washington

    UCLA (7-2) at Washington (6-3) Nov. 8, 7:00, Fox Sports 1 Here’s The Deal: Will the real UCLA please stand up? The Bruins have been hard to figure all

    November 7, 2014

    UCLA (7-2) at Washington (6-3) Nov. 8, 7:00, Fox Sports 1 

    Here’s The Deal: Will the real UCLA please stand up? The Bruins have been hard to figure all season, largely underachieving and playing to the level of the opponent. But they’re coming off a pivotal defeat of Arizona in which the defense played its best game of 2014. To stay in the Pac-12 South hunt, UCLA must keep the momentum going at U-Dub, Jim Mora’s alma mater and the university he once labeled a dream job. The Huskies’ first season under Chris Petersen has followed the script. They’ve handled inferior opponents, while bowing to the quality ones, a trend they’d like to shake up this Saturday night. 

    Why UCLA Might Win: If last week was the start of something, the Husky offense will be in trouble … again. Washington has labored to score on good defenses, and the Bruins have never had a shortage of talent. Now, they have a little head of steam after holding Arizona scoreless over the final 57 minutes. UCLA controlled the line of scrimmage, with DT Eddie Vanderdoes collecting a team-high eight tackles. The Huskies are 102nd nationally in yards per play, lacking the pop to stretch out the Bruin defenders. 

    Why Washington Might Win: The Husky pass rush versus the Bruin O-line is a troubling matchup for the visitors. Washington, which has produced seven defensive touchdowns in 2014, is littered with playmakers and pressure-makers. The team is second nationally in sacks and twelfth in takeaways, winning the line of scrimmage with NT Danny Shelton, DE Andrew Hudson and ‘Buck’ Hau’oli Kikaha. UCLA is last in Pac-12 sacks and tackles for loss allowed, which will reduce the effectiveness of QB Brett Hundley and 1,000-yard RB Paul Perkins. 

    Who To Watch Out For: In one of the more interesting matchups of Week 11, Seattle will be the site of the battle of the two-way stars, Washington RB/LB Shaq Thompson and UCLA LB/RB Myles Jack. Both players should see time on each side of the field, which means they could actually go head-to-head on the field. Thompson has been the biggest star this season, with a borderline Heisman resume. He’s not only scored four defensive touchdowns, but he rushed for 174 yards last week, and will start at running back this weekend. 

    What’s Going To Happen: UCLA has a long way to go before becoming a complete and consistent team. But last week’s win over Arizona could serve as a mini-turning point, especially on D. The Bruins finally began to approach their individual defensive talent, and Hundley is a more reliable option under center than Husky Cyler Miles. It’ll be close. When is a UCLA game not close?. The Bruins, though, will survive a key road test to keep those divisional hopes alive. 

    Prediction: UCLA 31 … Washington 24 
    Line: UCLA -4.5 o/u: 55 
    Must Watch Factor: 5: Sonic Highways – 1: Anything involving Nik Wallenda … 3 

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