UCLA Football vs Arizona 2017: 3 keys to victory

TUCSON, AZ - SEPTEMBER 26: Quarterback Josh Rosen
TUCSON, AZ - SEPTEMBER 26: Quarterback Josh Rosen /

Coming off a bye week, UCLA Football travels to Tucson to face against the Arizona Wildcats. Here’s how UCLA can tame the Cats and get a win on the road.

UCLA Football had last Saturday off and the timing couldn’t have been better. It gave the defense time to get healthier and it gave all of us time to weep for Caleb Wilson. Why can’t we have nice things? What did we ever do to deserve this? Breathe.

With apologies to Wilson, the season rolls on and as they say in sports circles, next man up. The Bruins are in Tucson to face the Arizona Wildcats. Here are three things they need to focus on:

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1. Pursue Balance

If the game against Colorado is any indication, Jedd Fisch got the memo. Josh Rosen throwing the ball 60 times a game is not the recipe for sustained success. Rosen is a superstar in his own right but a commitment to the run game makes his life easier. Although UCLA only tallied 95 rushing yards in the game, the key stat was the carries.

The team had 35 and Soso Jamabo had 21. That’s the sweet spot. Enough carries to get the defense to respect the run and open up play action. It also gives UCLA’s defense time to catch their breath between drives.

2. Limit Khalil Tate‘s explosive runs

Two Saturdays ago, UCLA Football let Steven Montez collect 108 yards on 15 carries from the quarterback position. Arizona’s Khalil Tate is even better. He rushed for 327 yards on just 14 attempts last week as the Wildcats narrowly beat the Buffaloes.

It’s not realistic to expect UCLA to stop him; the defense has been porous against the run all year. But keeping him largely contained would give Rosen and the offense a leg up. I expect the defense to sell out to limit his effectiveness with his legs and force him to throw. He’s capable with his arm but he is lethal as a runner.

3. Austin Roberts has to impersonate Caleb Wilson

UCLA Football’s passing game has been effective because all of the components function well together. Jordan Lasley is putting up big numbers because Darren Andrews is having a solid year. Both players are doing well because Caleb Wilson had been unstoppable. So far, it has forced defenses to pick their poison. With Wilson being out for the year, Austin Roberts needs to step in and keep the ball rolling. He doesn’t need to be the force that Wilson was but he needs to compete and be effective. If he does that, Rosen will find him and the machine will keep rolling.

Next: Go Joe Bruin predicts the Arizona game

UCLA Football takes on the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. PT at Arizona Stadium.