1. Stop the UCLA running game-Yes I know this sounds like the typical pregame “coach speak”, but if Utah can’t slow down Paul Perkins and Jordon James they’ll have no shot at slowing down Hundley and the rest of the Bruin Offense. Neither Perkins or James are game breaking running backs but both run effectively, with Perkins coming off a career best 137 yds a week ago against ASU. Utah’s front 7 must be good on 1st and 2nd down against the run. That bring us to….
2. Handle Hundley-Easier said than done. Brett Hundley is such a big and strong (6-4 and 225lbs) yet still smart and elusive Quarterback. I don’t think any QB in the Pac 12 does a better job of keeping plays alive with his legs and then going down the field. This puts a ton of pressure on the safeties and corners to stay with their assignments down the field and equal pressure on the front seven to get to him and bring him down. Again easier said than done. It all starts and ends with Brett Hundley, if Utah can limit him they’ll have a great shot tonight.
3. Jump Start the Passing Game-If not now, when? Conditions should be ideal and the UCLA defense while opportunistic with turnovers, gives up a TON of yards. Last week in Tempe they gave up over 600 yards in total offense and 488 yards and 3TD’s to ASU backup QB Mike Bercovici. It’s time to unleash the passing game for Utah. In addition, this version of UCLA football doesn’t pressure the QB like last year, no more Marsh or Barr up front. Offensive Line must protect, Wide Receivers must Catch the Ball and Travis Wilson must find a rhythm and make the plays from the pocket.
If they are able to check these three boxes, I like a Utah win today. Utes 24-20.
We are on the air with PreGame at 4:00 today with Sean O’Connell and John Pease. Then kickoff from the Rose Bowl here in Pasadena at 8:30 on ESPN 700, espn700sports.com and the ESPN 700 App. Listen In!! Go Utes!
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