USATodaySports/Hanisch

5 keys for the Cougs vs. No. 18 Bruins

IF THE COUGS want to remain amongst the conference elite this weekend, they will have to again prove their mettle on the road. UCLA is solid - but have also less than formidable at home. Washington State, on the other hand, has taken on the mantle of road warriors under Mike Leach, they're 3-1 this season away from Pullman. Here’s how they get to 4-1 on Saturday in Pasadena (7:45 p.m., ESPN).

WHEN WSU HAS THE BALL
1. Utilize the running backs on the ground.
UCLA has overemphasized pass defense this season, frequently leaving themselves exposed to the run.  Expect even more of that against WSU. Mike Leach should take full advantage at the right times, and Luke Falk also needs to check to the run and make them pay for it at key junctures.


2. Avoid the careless interception. 
Falk has been mostly brilliant under pressure, but he has been reckless at times on first and second down.  He needs to be a little more discriminating before third down.


WHEN WSU IS ON DEFENSE
3. Make UCLA QB Josh Rosen beat you. 
The true freshman has been as good as advertised but he has had the luxury of a solid ground game backing him up.  WSU needs to do all it can to make sure Rosen shoulders the offensive load this week.


4. Pressure Rosen.
Teams have that have given UCLA fits have harassed Rosen consistently.  Stanford and ASU wreaked havoc in the backfield and WSU would be well advised to do the same with a variety of pressures and blitzes.


5. Don't leave points on the field. 
UCLA has one of the best kickers in the country -- if this game comes down to special teams, UCLA holds the edge on paper.  The Cougs need to be the better team in the red zone in Pasadena.


Kickoff: 7:45 p.m./ESPN
Matt Moore’s Prediction: 31-30 Cougs

Check back with CF.C after the game for  our wall-to-wall coverage and during the game for lively message board conversation.


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