Jim Mora is bringing his struggling football team into, what’s likely to be, a wet and windy Martin Stadium. The Bruins haven’t played in these conditions so far this season and it’s likely they’re going to have to rely on their putrid running attack to carry their offense against the Pac-12’s fourth best run defense.
UCLA comes into the game averaging 2.95 yards per carry this season as its offensive line has been unable to open up holes for the ball carriers. Soso Jamabo is the Bruins leading rusher this season as he averaging 3.9 yards per carry on 50 carries for 195 yards, his longest run this season has been 31 yards. While Brandon Stephens is averaging 5 yards a carry, he’s only carried the ball 16 times…and has been mostly used in garbage time.
The primary reason UCLA has struggled running the football this season is because its offensive line is struggling to adapt to the new offense and blocking schemes. Holes aren’t opening quick up enough for the backs, and the few times these holes have opened up in a timely manner the running backs’ timing have been off. And that’s going to be a major problem for the Bruins going up against a front seven that limited Christian McCaffery to 4.3 yards per carry last weekend.
Unfortunately for Josh Rosen, his offensive line has been equally bad at keeping him upright. The sophomore quarterback has been sacked 13 times in six games and is questionable for tonight’s game in Pullman after suffering two injuries against Arizona State.
If Rosen can’t go, senior Mike Faful will be starting for UCLA. Faful completed 3 of his 11 attempts against the Sun Devils while throwing two interceptions. The senior would be making his first start behind a terrible offensive line, while going against an aggressive front seven.
Even if Rosen is able to go, it’s unlikely that he’ll have a ton of time to work through his reads. He is going to be under pressure all night long and it’s going to be interesting to see how mobile he is against an aggressive front seven. During Pac-12 play, the Cougar defense has sacked the opposing quarterback six times in eight quarters — four of those were against Stanford.
Washington State 34
Rosen will probably start the game but won’t last long against the Cougars aggressive front seven and the Bruins can’t get their rushing attack going on the ground. Washington State’s offense will rely on Boobie and Jamal Morrow to carry it through the storm.