3 Key Players
1. LT Connor McDermott is going to make or break this game for the Bruins. I know we might focus heavily on Josh Rosen or any one of the skill players but McDermott is key for UCLA in this matchup.
The Aggies have two QB killers at defensive end in Daeshon Hall and future top-15 NFL draft selection Myles Garrett. McDermott has improved throughout his four seasons at UCLA and as a former tight end has some impressive athleticism. He’s long, he’s lean, he’s strong and he’s going to have his hands full.
2. The obvious choice that many analysts want to focus on for the Aggies will be Garrett but since he’s going to be squarely in Connor McDermott’s sights, we can look at another player. WR Christian Kirk has to pick up the slack that fellow receiver Noil will leave due to his suspension. Kirk isn’t a slouch of a receiver though and was stellar as a freshman catching the ball and in the return game.
His speed, hands and route running ability gave defenses fits last year and he should only be better this year. The depth of the UCLA secondary isn’t an issue at all but Kirk will be Knight’s primary target and his success will be a big part of the outcome.
3. Let’s return to UCLA again and focus on DE Takkarist McKinley. He’s now had two full seasons in the UCLA program and should continue to refine his skillset as their most complete traditional defensive end.
The Aggie offense pass game is going to be predicated on the quick pass and play-action pass, something he saw every day at practice the last two years, and quick disruption will be key. He has the length, size and quick twitch to be a force but needs to continue to get stronger. If he’s on, it could be a very long day for A&M.
- The UCLA Bruins are 4-0 against the SEC since 2000 but also haven’t faced the conference since 2009 when they beat Tennessee
- Overall they are 11-11-2 but have been limited to under 20 points per game on average while allowing almost 24 points per game on average which is almost on par with their 25 points per game allowed in 2015
- In their first season under defensive coordinator John Chavis, the Aggies improved their defense as a whole but shaved about a full touchdown off their points allowed per game from 2014
Next: Offenses Vs. Defenses