Advertisement

Two ranked teams walk into the Rose Bowl ( … and one is UCLA)

No joke: The Arizona Wildcats are No. 24 and the Bruins are No. 25. The winner of Saturday's game will keep alive its hopes of returning to Pasadena on Jan. 1.

November 02, 2012|By Chris Foster
  • Johnathan Franklin has a chance to pass Gaston Green at the Bruins' all-time leading rusher.
Johnathan Franklin has a chance to pass Gaston Green at the Bruins'… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)

The last time the Rose Bowl hosted a game that featured two ranked teams — and one was UCLA — was October 2005. That was when No. 20 UCLA defeated No. 10 California, 47-40. On Saturday, the No. 25 Bruins face No. 24 Arizona. Both teams need a victory to keep their hopes afloat in the Pac-12 Conference South Division. Staff writer Chris Foster examines the matchups and story lines:

Spotlight dance

Johnathan Franklin should become UCLA's all-time leading rusher in this game, barring injury or some other collapse.

Franklin needs 21 yards to pass Gaston Green, who had 3,731 yards from 1984-87.

Franklin, with 1,042 yards this season, is the seventh UCLA running back to have two 1,000-yard seasons, joining Green, DeShaun Foster, Skip Hicks, Karim Abdul-Jabbar, Freeman McNeil and Theotis Brown. Franklin had 1,127 yards rushing in 2010.

He is also within 529 yards of Abdul-Jabbar's single-season record of 1,571 yards, set in 1995. Franklin averages 130.3 yards per game and UCLA has at least four games remaining — and maybe as many as six, depending on postseason play.

None of which means that much to Franklin at the moment. "I just want to help the team," he said. "Points are all that matter."

Ah, yes, points

Have those calculators ready.

UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, a redshirt freshman, wasted little time establishing his college credentials, going 72 yards on the first play of his career. And his reputation grew last week when he maneuvered the Bruins into position for a last-second field goal and a 45-43 victory over Arizona State.

Arizona will send out a defense that is ranked 117th out of 120 teams nationally in pass defense.

On the flip side, Arizona has quarterback Matt Scott, who has blossomed in the spread offense that first-year coach Rich Rodriguez brought to Tucson. Scott is fourth nationally in passing yards per game, averaging 340.5.

UCLA's secondary was scorched for 379 yards by Oregon State's Sean Mannion, 295 yards by California's Zach Maynard and 315 yards by Arizona State's Taylor Kelly.

"We know what we did wrong and what we did right," UCLA cornerback Sheldon Price said. "What we did wrong we have improved on."

Supporting cast

Scott is not a solo act. Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey has 961 yards rushing and has caught 24 passes for 230 yards. He has scored 13 touchdowns.

Receiver Austin Hill has 54 receptions for 937 yards. He had 10 receptions for 259 yards in a 39-36 victory over USC last week.

Besides Franklin, Hundley has Damien Thigpen at his disposal. Thigpen caught touchdown passes of 65 and 20 yards against Arizona State.

Defenders to watch

UCLA needs a big game from linebacker Anthony Barr and defensive end Datone Jones.

Scott is dangerous in motion and Barr and Jones are the Bruins best at containing and chasing down quarterbacks.

Barr has 12 tackles for losses, including 8.5 sacks. Jones has 12 tackles for losses with four sacks.

Scott ran for 100 yards against USC.

The scenarios

How big is this game? No. 17 USC is playing No. 2 Oregon across town, but this one has as much to do with the Rose Bowl race.

If UCLA wins out against Arizona, Washington State, USC and Stanford, the Bruins would play in the Pac-12 title game. If Arizona wins out against UCLA, Colorado, Utah and Arizona State, all the Wildcats would need for a title-game berth is for USC to lose one more game … such as Saturday's against Oregon.

chris.foster@latimes.com

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|