UCLA Offensive Preview

Arizona will face off against UCLA on Saturday. Read on to find out about the UCLA offense, including Brett Hundley's performance, the different wrinkles that the Bruins use, and more.

Arizona (6-1, 3-1) will take to the road again this week to face UCLA (6-2, 3-2) in the Rose Bowl. It will be the second straight road game for the Wildcats and the Bruins return home after beating Colorado on the road in overtime last week.

Despite losing the last two games at home, the UCLA offense has maintained solid numbers across the board, putting up an average of 35 points a game this season and gaining just under 500 yards a contest.

Part of this has been due to the play of junior quarterback Brett Hundley. The Arizona native entered the year with his name in the Heisman race and eight games into the season, he is doing all he can to keep UCLA in the Pac-12 South race. Earlier in the season, Hundley was plagued by a struggling offensive line, but he has adapted and now has a healthy offensive line to work with.

Despite being sacked an astounding 26 times this season, Hundley has been able to complete seventy-percent of his passes for just over 2,000 yards with 14 trips to the end zone and only four interceptions.

Part of what makes Hundley so good is his ability to run the ball when faced with a zone read or pressure bearing down on him. Just last week, he ended the game against Colorado by keeping a read option to score the final touchdown in double overtime. Hundley has kept the ball 104 times this year, totaling 415 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.

Jordan Payton has been Hundley's main target for the Bruins, catching 47 balls for 664 yards and a team-high six touchdowns. Payton is followed closely by Devin Fuller who has caught 38 balls for 297 yards and a 93-yard touchdown.

Hundley has also been able to find Devin Lucien and Eldridge Massington plenty this season. Lucien has 22 catches for 161 yards and Massington has caught 19 balls for 311 yards and two touchdowns. Massington could pose matchup threats with Arizona on deep balls with his speed as well.

Thomas Duarte is second on UCLA with 329 yards, but is questionable for Saturday with a hamstring injury.

When he isn't doing it all for the offense, Hundley is likely handing the ball off to Paul Perkins. The leading rusher for the Bruins, Perkins is a shifty back who can make teams pay. He currently sits at 996 yards on the season with five scores. The running back has also been a major player in the passing game, with 179 yards receiving and two more touchdowns.

In addition to the normal offense, UCLA Head Coach Jim Mora, Jr. has been known to mix things up and throw in new wrinkles. Last season, Mora used linebacker Myles Jack at running back for half of the season due to injuries. He has only been given 16 carries this season, but with his effectiveness against Arizona last season, it would not be a surprise to see Jack again.

Additionally, Mora has been using defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes as a fullback this season, giving him five carries, all when the Bruins only need a yard or so for a first down or to score.

UCLA has a potent offense, but it has been plagued by inconsistency this season. If the Bruins hope to fend off Arizona, they will likely have to play a solid, mistake-free game.

Players to watch:

#17, QB Brett Hundley: He has been a force to reckon with in the past, but has taken his lumps this season. He has a tendency to put his head down under pressure and that will likely be a major factor in this game.

#30, RB/LB Myles Jack: The all-purpose player was the reason that UCLA won in Tucson last year and there is no reason to think that the Bruins won't use him in some capacity this year.

#14, WR Mossi Johnson: Should Duarte not play, Johnson is the player most likely to hurt Arizona down the middle. Mora has spoken highly of him this week and he is probably better than his numbers indicate.

Keys to the game:

  • Pressure Hundley: As mentioned above, he has the tendency to lose the play under pressure. If the defense can get some sacks or hurries early, it will go a long way towards Hundley's state of mind at the end of the game.

  • Bring the intensity: Arizona wins games by playing hard for a full 60 minutes. The defense needs to bring the same intensity that it brought last week against Washington State. Slowing down the Bruins early will put Arizona in a position to win.

  • Take away Perkins' long runs: The running back has longs of 92, 81, and 58 yards this season. If Arizona is not careful, Perkins has the ability to break a major run and give the Bruins momentum.

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