Wildcats seek revenge against Bruins

Arizona will be looking for revenge against UCLA on Saturday. Read on for a complete preview of the game, including thoughts from both coaches, key matchups, and more.

When Arizona headed to the Rose Bowl to face UCLA, it was a revenge game for the Bruins. Arizona had defeated UCLA 48-12 the previous season and in the week leading up to the game, that final score was the dominant topic.

The Bruins used that motivation as they defeated Arizona 66-10 at home. Now, the Wildcats are on the other end of the revenge factor and Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez is not about to tell his players that Saturday night's contest between Arizona and UCLA at Arizona Stadium is not a big one.

"I can give you standard coach speak that they are all important, they are all big, they all count as one," Rodriguez said. "That's the case, particularly in your league. When it is a ranked team and you are at home and there is more at stake the next four games, it adds more to it, it's a big game.

"We're not doing anything differently in our approach. We practice the same way, have the same meeting schedule and I will tell you the same thing I told the team, I have never been one to talk about ramifications and talk about winning the game. We talk about winning the play, whether that is the process or a mindset."

Both Arizona and UCLA have a dynamic player that the opposing defense is going to look to stop. For the Wildcats, Ka'Deem Carey fits the bill, as he leads the nation in rushing. In fact, the last time that Carey failed to hit 100 yards was in the previous meeting between these two teams.

"We got the lead early, so they probably had to throw it more than they wanted to," UCLA coach Jim Mora said. "You don't necessarily bottle up Ka'Deem Carey, you try to limit his explosive plays against you. You don't just lead the nation in rushing, you don't just stop those guys. It's going to be a great test for us."

Nearly every opponent Arizona has faced has chosen to load the box in order to contain Carey and Mora believes it is easy to see why.

"Oh he's a great one," he said. "He's an excellent football player. What is he, second in the country in rushing? First, last year? So that tells you what you need to know right there, he's a great football player.

"I think he's a guy who gets better each time you watch him play. He was great last year and he is better this year and next year he'll be great at the next level."

The Bruins will try to counter with quarterback Brett Hundley, who torched Arizona last year to the tune of 288 yards and three touchdowns with only five incompletions.

Although he has battled some inconsistency, Rodriguez believes Hundley may actually be a better signal caller this year.

"You're talking about a guy that is 240 something pounds, has great size, and I think he is an intelligent runner too," Rich Rodriguez said. "What I mean by that is whether they call a quarterback draw or he scrambles on his own, he does a good job of taking it when it's there and getting first downs and getting down before he takes a whole lot of shots.

"There's no question the unscheduled play, the play that breaks down or something that is not right there, he is very dangerous when he moves around because he can still throw it down the field as well."

Hundley's most explosive weapon at wide receiver is sophomore Devin Fuller, who has 34 catches for 417 yards and four touchdowns.

Arizona actually recruited Fuller to play quarterback, but he went to UCLA knowing it would be difficult to play the same position as a Bruin.

"We recruited him," Rodriguez said. "Remember making a visit to him, great young man, great talent. We thought he could play quarterback in this system and we knew he could play somewhere else. "I don't know whether they told him quarterback or not, but it doesn't surprise me that he's doing well at wide out and returning kicks because he is just a phenomenal athlete. Besides the obvious speed and agility and all that, it seems like he has a great football sense about him as well."

On the defensive side of the ball, Arizona may be facing the most balanced team it has seen this season. USC has a strong front four, but the Bruins are athletic and dangerous throughout the entire defense.

"You're talking about Myles Jack, who is a tremendous freshman and will be a first rounder," Rodriguez said. "Jordan Zumwalt has been there forever and is a great player. We didn't block those guys at all last year and (Anthony) Barr, that was his first year.

"They are really talented. Their athleticism, you can see it. Fundamentally we have to be really, really good. We have worked on that a little extra this week, but we'll see what happens Saturday night."

UCLA's defense is strong, but there is still plenty of challenges in being able to contain Arizona's offense.

"It's effective," Mora said of Arizona's offense. "They make you think. You look at them casually and you see the four wide sets and you think they're just going to sling it all over the yard, but they have a great rushing offense. They're averaging 280 yards a game running the football, that's pretty impressive."

Key matchups:

Ka'Deem Carey vs. UCLA linebackers: Carey won't see a better set of linebackers all season and he is going to have to make them miss tackles, which they really have not done all year. If the linebackers can read their gaps, Carey's night won't be easy. However, if Carey can beat them, Arizona's chances of winning increase dramatically.

Arizona's linebackers vs. UCLA's offensive line: Arizona is going to show a lot of looks at Hundley and try to confuse him. These looks will likely come from the linebacker spot or the spur/bandit. UCLA's offensive line has three freshmen on it and Jeff Casteel is going to make sure it has its work cut out for it.

B.J. Denker vs UCLA secondary: Our guess is that UCLA does not blitz much at all and makes Denker beat it. If Denker can make the correct reads and make smart throws, that strategy will backfire. It is going to go one of two ways and Arizona hopes that it is in the Wildcats' favor.

Keys to the Game: Get up early: Arizona can't play from behind and expect to win this game. Last year is a good example of this and if Arizona is not able to get an early lead, it at least has to go into the half in a close game.

Don't extend UCLA's drives: The worst thing Arizona can do is help UCLA out. The Bruins are going to get their drives and try to control the clock a bit, so the Wildcats can't bail them out like they did to Cal a week ago.

Stop the run: UCLA's run game has struggled a bit and making the Bruins one-dimensional would obviously help Arizona a ton. If UCLA becomes a throwing team, it works into Arizona's favor.


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