UCLA Football vs Hawaii: 3 keys to victory


UCLA Football attempts to improve on a 1-0 start by handling Hawaii at the Rose Bowl. Here is what they need to focus on.

In 1859, Charles Dickens wrote: “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. I thought of that as I looked back on UCLA Football’s game against Texas A&M. The first half was a comedy of errors. There were ineffective play calls on offense and defense, A&M’s defense was teeing off on Josh Rosen, and Trayveon Williams was profiling on the sideline with a baton.

The score at half was 38-10 and it wasn’t that close. Williams rushed for 188 yards in the first half alone and the Aggies dominated every facet of the game. Then the second half started and things began to shift. The UCLA Football coaching staff made adjustments, Rosen flipped a switch and Caleb Wilson went legend. Put all of this together, sprinkle in some luck and what you have is the second greatest comeback in college football history.

But that was last week. This week, the opponent is Hawaii and much like UCLA Football, we have to move on. Here are the keys to the game:

Related Story: 3 burning questions before the Bruins take on Hawaii

1. Establish an identity

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It was apparent from the first game that UCLA Football is looking for an identity. Are they the explosive team from the second half or the unproductive one from the first? Josh Rosen simply cannot be expected to throw for 491 yards every night for UCLA to win.

The running game must produce more than an anemic 2.5 yards per carry and the defense has to do better than allowing 382 yards on the ground. With the matchup against Hawaii, UCLA can take a step in that direction.

The Rainbow Warriors come to Pasadena with a 2-0 record but are not as talented as Texas A&M or some of the other teams on the schedule. This game presents an opportunity for the UCLA football team to figure themselves out.

2. Stop the run

UCLA Football allowed 198.5 rushing yards per game in 2016. Then the team lost four starters from the front seven to the NFL. Naturally, the coaching staff chose to start the Texas A&M game in nickel formation. Imagine how poorly it went. It was actually worse. Williams rushed for 203 yards, Keith Ford ran for 114 yards and freshman QB Kellen Mond chipped in 54 yards. It all added up to a ghastly 382 yards. UCLA has to do better and until they do, “stop the run” will remain a key to victory.

3. Protect Josh Rosen at all costs

Josh Rosen took a lot of punishment in game one.

His offensive line has to play better. Scott Quessenberry believes that he and his partners on the line have found a fix from watching game film. That’s good news because without “the chosen one”, UCLA Football is in for a long season.

Next: Josh Rosen is Pac-12 player of the week

The Bruins take on the Rainbow Warriors Saturday at 2:00 p.m. PT at the Rose Bowl.