Jim Mora and UCLA have owned Rich Rodriguez, going 5-0 against against him.
The ‘Cats are energized by sophomore quarterback Khalil Tate and his record-setting performance last week against Colorado, and are hoping to finally snap that losing streak.
Arizona is coming in with one of the best rushing offenses in the nation and UCLA with one of the worst rushing defenses.
These five Bruin players, however, are looking to make sure that Arizona doesn’t ride that momentum to a win.
Josh Rosen, QB
We’ll start with UCLA’s most dangerous weapon on offense. Rosen has been the talk of draft experts and sports analysts alike. He is impressive, no doubt, and will most likely be a top pick in next year’s NFL draft.
So far this year Rosen has completed almost 65 percent of his passes, and has thrown 17 touchdowns to five interceptions. And all of this coming with 2,135 yards through the air. In other words, this is the nation’s best passing attack.
There is no doubt that Arizona’s secondary will be tested, but a lot will determine on how much pressure the ‘Cats can get on Rosen.
Theo Howard, WR
Moving on to one of Rosen’s targets on the outside and we find Howard. With the season-ending injury and surgery for stud tight end Caleb Wilson, a lot of attention should go Howard’s way.
UA’s secondary hasn’t been the most consistent so far this year, and they’ll need to be on point on Saturday. Howard will have to be locked down because he can be dynamic and explosive with the ball in his hands.
Whether it’s Rosen or Howard, UA’s secondary will be tested.
Jaelan Phillips, DE
Moving to the other side of the ball and we find Phillips. Rich Rodriguez described Phillips the best earlier this week when he called him a freak athlete. Phillips is one of the best pass rushers in the conference (4.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks) and he is a true freshman.
Phillips has been battling an injury recently and it is unknown if he’ll plays Saturday. If he does, he will be tasked with making sure his edge is shut down, getting pressure on UA’s quarterback, and helping the Bruins’ awful run defense.
Lokeni Toailoa, LB
Toailoa is another Bruin defender who was battling an injury. However, he is expected to play Saturday.
The linebacker play for UCLA is going to be important if they are going to stop Arizona’s potent run offense. Toailoa is going to be an important part and leader of that — if he plays, of course.
Jaleel Wadood, DB
Wadood is UCLA’s most experienced DB. He may not have too much say in the run defense, but his experience will be much needed for a young and not very good defense.
So far Wadood is having a solid season. He has 30 tackles with a TFL and three deflected passes. He has been very active in each of UCLA’s games this season and Jim Mora will look to him to continue, and even up, his activity to rally the Bruin defense.