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UCLA vs. Arizona: First look at the Bruins

UA looks to end a five-game losing streak to UCLA and notch RichRod’s first win over the Bruins

NCAA Football: Colorado at UCLA Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats return home in pursuit of their first conference winning streak since 2015 when they host the UCLA Bruins this weekend.

Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m. MST

UCLA is coming off a bye week and is also looking to start a conference winning streak of their own. Here’s a quick look at the Bruins, who have beaten Arizona five straight times.

A look at UCLA

2017 Record – 3-2 (1-1)

Key Games – Week one win versus Texas A&M (45-44), week three loss at Memphis (48-45), week four loss at Stanford (58-34), week five win versus Colorado (27-23)

Key Offensive PlayersJosh Rosen (QB), Soso Jamabo (RB), Darren Andrews (WR), Caleb Wilson (TE), Scott Quessenberry (OL)

Key Defensive Players Matt Dickerson (DT), Jaelan Phillips (DE), Kenny Young (LB), Jaleel Wadood (Safety), Darnay Holmes (CB)

The Bruins have had an interesting start to their season. Everyone remembers their epic comeback on opening weekend against Texas A&M where they erased a 44-17 deficit and scored 35 unanswered points to beat the Aggies 45-44.

Two weeks later they traveled to Memphis for another shootout but came up just short. Then, two weeks after that, they pulled out a close win at home against Colorado.

UCLA’s theme to the season thus far has been high scoring nail-biters. Through five games, Josh Rosen has already thrown for 2,135 yards and 17 touchdowns while completing 64.9 percent of his passes.

Receiver Darren Andrews and tight end Caleb Wilson have made Rosen’s job easier, combining for 1,043 yards and eight touchdowns on 78 receptions. However, Wilson has been ruled out for the rest of the season due to a foot injury.

Running back Soso Jamabo has only played in three games thus far in the season but has already accounted for 216 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 40 carries. He has also shown flashes as a pass catcher with six receptions and 62 yards.

It certainly helps having a quarterback of Rosen’s caliber for these high scoring situations but it must be frustrating to see their defense allow opponents to do whatever they want. Statistically speaking, UCLA ranks near the bottom of all FBS teams (and second to last in the Pac-12) by allowing an average of 39.2 points and 506.6 yards per contest.

This is a defense that lost five players whom earned some form of All-Conference Honors last season. It makes sense to expect some regression but to this extent is stunning. The Bruins still have plenty of talented experience on all three levels of the defense.

Linebacker Kenny Young and safety Jaleel Wadood are two returning defensive starters from last season’s squad. They earned All-Conference Second Team and Honorable Mention honors, respectively. They have been battling injuries throughout the first part of the season but are expected to play on Saturday.

Two freshmen to keep an eye are cornerback Darnay Holmes and defensive end Jaelan Phillips. These two were the highest rated recruits from the Bruins’ most recent incoming class. The good news for UA is Phillips has been battling an ankle injury and Holmes was ejected for targeting in the fourth quarter of the Colorado game. As a result, Holmes will be forced to sit out the first half of this matchup.

Arizona looks to bounce back defensively from allowing 42 points to Colorado. It won’t an easy task against Rosen and company but you have to like their chances better at home than on the road.