UCLA Football vs Washington 2017: 3 keys to victory

PASADENA, CA - OCTOBER 21: Bolu Olorunfunmi
PASADENA, CA - OCTOBER 21: Bolu Olorunfunmi /

UCLA Football is heading into the toughest stretch of their season. It all begins on Saturday with a very difficult game against Washington. Here’s how UCLA can pull off the upset in Seattle.

UCLA Football has a consistency problem. All the highs (Texas A&M, Colorado, Hawaii and Oregon) have been followed by lows (Memphis, Stanford and Arizona). Sprinkle in injuries to key players, a young and struggling defense, and you end up with a 4-3 record.

It’s not getting any easier. This week, the Bruins travel to Seattle to face a very tough Washington team. Six days later, it’s Utah at Rice-Eccles Stadium. 0-2 is very much a possibility. UCLA Football would love 1-1. 2-0? Well, you play to win the game.

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Let’s start with the game against Washington. This is a game that most experts expected UCLA to lose before the season started. Nine weeks into the season, nothing has happened thus far to change those predictions. But this is a “keys to victory” article so let’s dive into three things UCLA can do to pull off the upset and shock the world.

1. Pressure the quarterback

UCLA Football often adopts the “bend but don’t break” approach to defense. This season, there has been way more breaking than bending. The game against Oregon was a step in a positive direction. Encouraged by the Ducks’ lack of a passing game, the Bruins were aggressive and it paid dividends. A similar game plan against the Huskies and Jake Browning wouldn’t work, but the lessons learned last week should be applied here. Get some pressure on the quarterback and good things will happen.

2. Win the turnover battle

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To upset a favored team, an underdog must play a disciplined game and win the turnover battle. The bad news is that UCLA’s defense ranks near the bottom of the Pac-12 in turnovers forced and Washington rarely turns the ball over.

The Bruin defense has to buck this trend and give the offense more opportunities. On the other hand, UCLA’s offense is averaging two turnovers a game. Josh Rosen and the offense must stay on schedule and avoid mistakes.

3. Rosen must be golden

Running the ball on Washington is a difficult proposition. The Huskies have a large defensive line led by star lineman Vita Vea. Additionally, UCLA has struggled to run the ball even against inferior defenses. All of this adds up to Rosen having to play an outsized role for UCLA to be successful. Despite all of this, UCLA’s offense has to run the ball enough to set up the passing game. Otherwise, the Pac-12’s number one defense will have a field day against the Bruins.

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UCLA Football takes on the Huskies on Saturday, October 28th at 12:30p.m. PT at Husky Stadium.