The Cougars take on UCLA in what will likely be a cold, rainy affair at Martin Stadium

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WSU Cougars vs. UCLA

WSU Players to watch

QB Luke Falk – 16 TD passes

RB James Williams – 7.0 ypc

WR Gabe Marks – 6 TD

DE Hercules Mata’afa – 8.5 TFL

FS Shalom Luani – 3 INT

 

UCLA Players to watch

QB Josh Rosen – status questionable; 10 TD

WR Darren Andrews – 323 rec yards

LB Jayon Brown – 53 tackles

DB Jaleel Wadood – 24 tackles

DE Takkarist McKinley – 8 TFL

 

TV info: 7:30 p.m., ESPN

 

WSU’s Keys to the Game

Get after the QB

Starting QB Josh Rosen is questionable for the game because he’s dealing with shoulder and leg injuries, so the Bruins might be forced to go with former walk-on Mike Fafaul, who would be making his first career start, and has never thrown a touchdown in a college game. The Cougars pass rush has been ferocious of late. If they can rattle Fafaul early, it could get ugly.

Keep UCLA’s offense one-dimensional

The Bruins totaled minus-1 rushing yards against Arizona State last week and the running backs are averaging 2.9 yards per rush. If the Cougars can shut down the run game in the same fashion, it will be tough for UCLA to keep up with the Air Raid.

Establish the run early

Strong winds and heavy rain are forecasted for Saturday night, so it behooves WSU to get Jamal Morrow, James Williams and Gerard Wicks in a rhythm on the ground. UCLA’s pass efficiency defense ranks 7th nationally. So WSU needs to establish its run game early to keep the Bruins honest and open up the field.

Hold on to the football

Conditions will likely be poor, and depending on how severe the weather is, both teams might be more prone to turnovers. WSU has actually done well in the turnover department this season, forcing 11 turnovers on defense without losing any fumbles offensively. UCLA has lost three fumbles this year while forcing 10 turnovers defensively. Whoever wins the turnover battle will probably win this game.

Prediction: WSU 35, UCLA 28