UCLA Defensive Preview

UCLA's defense has had mixed results so far this season. Read on for a complete look at what Arizona's offense will face, including the keys to the game for Arizona.

After picking apart a tough USC defense over the weekend, Arizona is currently preparing for UCLA's defense.

The Wildcats scored 39 points against the Trojans defense, the most all season against Southern California, and had 588 total yards against a defense that wasn't bad by any means.

Arizona will be traveling to Los Angeles to play the Bruins, who have the eighth best defense in the conference, giving up an average of 416.1 yards per game. In addition, the Bruins have given up 30+ points three times this season.

UCLA's weakness on defense is against opponents with strong passing attacks. UCLA is in the middle of the conference defending the pass, allowing teams to pass for 258.9 yards per game. Arizona quarterback Matt Scott is averaging 340.5 yards through the air per game.

Should Arizona decide to throw the football, it will have to throw around a few talented players. The Bruins have 12 interceptions this season spread out somewhat evenly among the secondary, but they also have 27 pass breakups, which can be just as effective.

The Wildcats also have a potent running game, rushing for just under 200 yards per contest while the Bruins are giving up 157.2 yards per game on the ground, a number that has steadily been increasing over the past few games.

Anthony Barr is a one-man wrecking crew,leading the team with eight sacks on the year and earning him a tie for second best in the conference.

Barr is also a player that seems to step up in clutch situations. He doesn't have many tackles overall (41), but has some big hits when they are needed.

Arizona shouldn't have any problems putting up numbers against the UCLA defense. The Wildcats should even have fewer hiccups than they have had in previous weeks.

With that being said, the game will come down to Arizona outscoring the Bruin offense. The last time two offensive powerhouses were up against each other, at Oregon, the Wildcats struggled to score in the red zone.

UCLA's defense is nowhere near as powerful as Oregon's, but Arizona's offense needs to come through in a game that should be high scoring.

Players to watch:

#11 LB, Anthony Barr – The junior is by far the most dangerous player on the Bruins' defense. He can get into the backfield quickly and make plays. If Matt Scott can use his wheels, it may make Barr's impact on the game interesting.

#6 CB, Eric Kendricks – As the team's leading tackler, it is hard to look away from Kendricks. So far this season, it just seems that he is always in the right place at the right time. He's wherever the ball is and has even recovered two fumbles.

#26 S, Andrew Abbott – As a redshirt senior, Abbott is a leader on the defense. He has made a few key plays throughout the season, giving some much needed help to the Bruins defense.

#7 FS, Tevin McDonald – McDonald can pack a punch in the secondary and has decent coverage ability. He could be a problem if Arizona is forced to throw more than run in the game.

Keys to the game:

1. Attack early: I'm going to continue to say that the Wildcats need to score early in games and get on top of the opposing team. The offense is built to put up points in a hurry and it makes it that much more lethal if Arizona can grab an early lead.

2. Clean up the game: The Wildcats had way too many penalties against USC and need to cut back on them leading up to the UCLA game. While the Trojans helped Arizona out by evening the penalty numbers up, the Bruins won't give away as many free yards.

3. Pass the ball: UCLA is giving up over 250 yards through the air per game. With Matt Scott's ability to throw the football, Arizona can open up the running lanes if it can beat the secondary early.

4. Protect Scott: The Bruins have 29 sacks on the season up to this point and will be looking to add more against Arizona. The Wildcats didn't allow a single sack to USC last weekend, despite Scott taking some nasty hits while running the football. Arizona needs to keep its quarterback healthy.

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