UCLA Preview

The Washington football team (3-5 overall, 2-3 in the Pac-10) returns to action this Saturday at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena when the Huskies take on UCLA (3-5 overall, 0-5 in the Pac-10) in a 12:30 p.m. game boroadcast on FSN. The Dawgs, who have faced the nation’s second-toughest schedule to this point, come into the game after a weekend off while the Bruins’ comeback fell short in a 26-19 loss at Oregon State last weekend. UCLA went 3-0 in non-conference play to open the season, but have lost five straight, all against Pac-10 opposition, since then.

Washington was in desperate need of a bye week after the Oregon game and that rest after facing the nation's toughest schedule over the last eight weeks may be just what the doctor ordered to get this team ready for the last quarter of the season.

Postion Matchups

Quarterback....Washington....Jake Locker was declared ready to go on Thursday night and was seen zipping around practice with no visible lingering effects of his quad bruise. With Jake healthy Washington has a serious advanatage at the throttle. Kevin Prince will start for the Bruins and he is coming off a good fourth quarter against Oregon State.

Running Back....Washington....The Bruins and the Huskies are near the bottom of the Pac 10 in overall rushing totals this season. UW is led by Chris Polk who is averaging over 80 yards per game. Polk is a physical runner who breaks tackles and gets a lot of yards on his own. UCLA's Jonathan Franklin is a good looking back who doesn't get as many carries on average as Polk does.

Wide Receivers....Washington...The trio of Devin Aguilar, Jermaine Kearse, and Jermaine Johnson have performed well all season. UCLA has sports the dangerous 6'5 Nelosn Rosario and 6'3 Tylor Embree. That height just may be the reason UW started experimenting with Anthony Boyles at CB during the bye week. From a productivity standpoint this season the Washington receivers have better numbers. The UCLA receivers while talented have not benefitted fromt he stability at QB the UW receivers have.

Tight End...UCLA...Ryan Moya and Logan Paulsen are a couple of TE's who have the tane tto play on Sunday's. UW's Kavario Middleton also has that type of talent but you give the nod in this one to the experience and blocking ability of the Bruin duo.

Offensive Line...Washington...What we have here are two bottom division Pac 10 lines. The Washington offense has been more productive this season when it comes to protecting the QB and opening up holes for the rushing game so they get a slight nod going in.

Defensive Line...UCLA....Brian Price would get my vote as the top defensive lineman in the conference this season. He is a difference maker inside that is impossible to block which free's up his team mates to wreak a little havoc. Korey Bosworth and Datone do a nice job out on the ends.

Linebacker...UCLA....I really like UCLA's Reggie Carter , Akeem Meyers, and Kyle Bosworth. Washington counters with Mason, Butler, and Dennison. Dennison will be starting in place of EJ Savannah who is taking the week off with a thumb injury.

Secondary....UCLA...I would put UCLA's Rahim Moore, Alterraun Verner and Aaron Hester up against anyone in the conference. Moore leads the conference in interceptions this season. Hester is a little banged up and expected to play.

Special Teams...UCLA....UW has had a lot of problems with special teams over the past month. UCLA even though less than perfect has had less problems so I give them the nod going in. This is really a part of the game that will be up for grabs.

Washington running game versus the UCLA defense
This is where the game is going to be won on Saturday. UCLA is giving up over 157 yards per game this season and the Huskies goal going into this game is to pick up around 200 yards. That might be easier said than done because UW averages a shade under 120 yards per game on the ground and Sarkisan probably doesn't want to put too much of a load on Jake Locker who is recovering from a quad bruise. The staff is however treating this as the the must win that it truly is. If Locker can run they are going to unleash him if that what it takes to win this game. We all know what tye of running back Chris polk is. He gets the tough yards inside but is very capable of breaking some big one's. He needs to do that this week and have a career day.

Success rushing the football and winning go hand-in-hand for the Huskies. Since 1990, UW has rushed for 200 yards in a game 72 times. The Huskies’ record stands at 59-12-1 (.826) in those contests. Since the1995 season, Washington is 34-9-1 (.784) when rushing for 200 yards.

Washington Passing Game versus the UCLA defense
Jake has looked good so far in practice this week. What he needs to do this week is improve his decision making. He is going up against a ballhawking secondary and will face some pressure from the UCLA line. If he makes mistakes against the UCLA corners they are going to pick him off. He needs to get outside more on the rollout to buy a little more time. Washington has a very good group of receivers and the hope is a strong running game will open up opportunities down field.
UCLA passing game versus the Washington Defense
UCLA has had trouble all season putting this part of the game together. Washington is a great team to work out those problems against. The Bruins have a big advantage in size when it comes to their WR's. Washington is countering by bringing in two guys that haven't played this season in Jason Wells and Anthony Boyles. Wells may start at safety but I am not sure how much Boyles will play even though his height matches up well with these huge WRs. UCLA is not going to go deep much against Washington. They are going to be throwin a lot of quick outs and high percentage passses to get some rythm going early and give Price some confidence. Chow has a reputation of taking what a defense will give him and Washington will do wht they ahve done all season and that is keep theball in front of them.
Game Notes

UCLA will be the Huskies’ first opponent this season with a sub-.500 record.

Rick Neuheisel was the Husky head coach from 1999 through 2002. Also on the Bruins staff are three former UW assistant coaches: Tim Hundley, Wayne Moses and Reggie Moore (who was a GA at Washington).

Defensive tackle Cameron Elisara (neck stinger) will not travel with the Huskies, marking his second consecutive missed game and prompting the question whether the team has seen the last of his services this season. Also, linebackers E.J. Savannah (broken left wrist) and Jordan Wallace (left knee), who tweaked his knee during a tackle in practice Wednesday, will stay in Seattle.

WR Jordan Polk (knee surgery) has been cleared to play.

Five safeties – Nate Williams, Nathan Fellner, Jason Wells, Victor Aiweya and Greg Walker – will likely see action Saturday, the first-year UW coach said. Williams and Fellner are expected to start.

The Huskies could have as many as three new starters on defense this week. Cort Dennison will start in place of Savannah, and freshman Andru Pulu looks ready to start at defensive end while Daniel T’eo-Nesheim moves inside. Senior Jason Wells could get his first start of the season at safety, although Sarkisian said he had yet to decide whether Wells or true freshman Nate Fellner would start.

An X-ray on UCLA cornerback Aaron Hester's right leg was negative for a fracture, but he has calcium deposits and loose cartilage. Hester, who suffered a broken fibula in the same leg in the season opener, was not in uniform for practice and is questionable for Saturday. Receiver Morrell Presley will be out at least one week because of a sprained left shoulder. . . . Randall Carroll, who has a groin injury, is doubtful for Saturday's game.

UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince threw for 198 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter while rallying the Bruins back from a 16-point deficit this past Saturday against Oregon State. Prince finished with a season-high 323 yards and 22 completions against the Beavers and nearly drove UCLA down the field for another game-tying drive in the closing seconds.

Washington has not beaten UCLA in Pasadena since 1995.

 

UW is 29-37-2 in the overall series with UCLA.

This Saturday, the Huskies will face a former UW head coach for the 14th time in history, and for the second time since 1975 (the other in that span was a loss last year vs. UCLA, coached by Rick Neuheisel). In ‘75, the Dawgs played the second of two games vs. Texas, coached by Darrell Royal, who was the Husky head man for one season (1956). The Huskies lost to Texas in both 1974 and 1975. In 1946 and 1947, the Huskies face a St. Mary’s team coached by James Phelan, who was the UW head man from 1930 to 1941. UW lost the first of those two, 24-20, but won the ‘47 meeting, 26-6. Lastly,the Huskies faced Cal teams coached by Leonard Allison (UW coach in 1920) nine times between 1935 and 1944, going 5-3-1. The UW is therefore 6-7-1 in games against teams led by former Washington head coaches.

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