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