UCLA Football: The Unnoticed Paul Perkins


UCLA Football has heavily relied on running back Paul Perkins to get them to the #7 ranking in the country, yet Perkins still goes largely unnoticed.

Through 4 games this season, Bruin fans have witnessed Paul Perkins pick up over 500 yards, all while making it look so effortless. Partially due to his not-so-flashy style of running and partially because Josh Rosen (deservedly so) has been the media darling of the West Coast.

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Paul Perkins is used to being unnoticed. Over the past two and a half years, he has racked up yards through the ground and air attack, often being used as a safety valve for Hundley and Rosen. Expect big things from Perkins in the future, but also look for Perkins to continue to be one of most under appreciated backs in the conference.

The UCLA offense will face an Arizona State defense whose bread and butter is the blitz. Coach Todd Graham lives and dies by this philosophy, and being honest, so far has died by it this season. Over the past 4 games, ASU has allowed 180.5 yards per game, which is good for 90th in the country in rush defense. FCS school, the Cal Poly Mustangs ran for 284 yards and New Mexico ran for 184, proving that this defense is susceptible to being gashed on the ground.

Sep 26, 2015; Tucson, AZ, USA; UCLA Bruins running back Paul Perkins (24) runs the ball during the first quarter against the UCLA Bruins at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Perkins has an innate ability to find holes and exploit them while maintaining above average speed. All of these skills were on display with his amazing 16 yard touchdown run in the first quarter of the Arizona game.

It will be imperative that Perkins shoulders a relatively large workload while facing the blitz heavy ASU defense. Freshman quarterback Josh Rosen has not faced such an attacking unit so far in his young career, meaning the experienced tailback will be the go-to guy.

Given that Cal Poly and New Mexico both put up large chunks of yards against this ASU, sending the house defense, Perkins and the experienced offensive line should have a productive afternoon.

If Perkins continues the trend of 129 yards per game and 1.5 touchdowns per game, he will eclipse the 1,500 yard mark on the season, to go with 18 touchdowns in the regular season.

Mazzone will lean on Perkins’ decisive running style and unique pass-catching ability. The Bruin’s running back is going to be able to cut through the blitzing linebackers of ASU. Look for Paul Perkins to rack up 130 yards and 2 touchdowns on around 25 carries.

If Perkins continues the trend of 129 yards per game and 1.5 touchdowns per game, he will eclipse the 1,500 yard mark on the season, to go with 18 touchdowns in the regular season.

Maybe, just maybe, Paul Perkins will receive the recognition he deserves. Or maybe not, and it maybe for the better, as it seems like #24 thrives on being the underdog.

Let me know your thoughts on Paul Perkin’s season thus far, and your predictions for his stats in the upcoming 8 conference games. And as always, Go Bruins!

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