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UCLA vs. Arizona: Three keys to a Wildcats victory over the Bruins

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Is this the year?

UCLA v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It’s been a long time since the Arizona Wildcats beat the UCLA Bruins in a football game.

Six years next week if we’re being exact.

You know, that game where a kid dressed up as a ref, then streaked, and then a fight broke out between the players while Arizona was leading 42-7 (!) in the first half (!!) with an interim head coach (!!!).

Well, here we are six years later, and Arizona actually opened as a favorite (the money has completely shifted the line over the week though), and all of us “experts” actually picked UA to win this game.

So how do the Wildcats win it? Glad you asked! Here’s three things that need to go down at Arizona Stadium on Saturday evening:

1. Tucson Hot Tub

Here’s the obvious thing about playing UCLA this year (and every other year the last three years)...you gotta be able to stop the passing game sometimes.

Noted hot tub connoisseur Josh Rosen is going to have to have the temperature turned up on him a little bit if Arizona is going to stop him enough. The Wildcat pass rush has been arguably the best aspect of the team this year (four sacks on 32 pass attempts last week), and Rosen does tend to make mistakes when under pressure.

And we know the Arizona secondary is still shaky at best, so relentless pressure from the defensive front will be the ultimate key to getting stops.

2. Everyone Runs

UCLA gives up an average of 284.2 rushing yards per game. That is 129th in the FBS. There are 130 teams at the FBS level.

Only Tulsa is worse at stopping the run. Tulsa.

Arizona averages 319.4 rushing yards per game, which ranks fourth in the country. The three teams in front of them? The trio of triple-option teams of Navy, Georgia Tech, and Army.

I know I’ve been preaching it since spring, but there is absolutely no reason to throw the ball against UCLA. None. Play to your strength, use the plethora of options at quarterback, running back, and wide receiver to run the ball, and the Wildcats should be able to score at will against this Bruin defense.

3. A-Team Security

Last but not least, limiting turnovers is always crucial, but especially when you’re about to embark on what seems like an offensive shootout. Don’t waste any crucial possessions with a costly fumble like in the Houston game, or a costly interception like in the Utah game.

Allow yourself to finish drives, get points whenever possible, and Arizona should be able to walk away with a win over Jim Mora and possibly ending his tenure at UCLA like the Wildcats have already done to two other head coaches this year.