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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Matchups to watch for

    Arizona passing game vs. UCLA pass defense

    Skinny: In a 21-10 loss to Washington on Saturday, quarterback Willie Tuitama had his best game of the season (24-of-41, 308 yards, touchdown, interception) against a Huskies pass defense ranked last in the Pacific 10 Conference. This week, he faces UCLA, which is second in the Pac-10 in pass defense and has given up the fewest first downs among conference teams.

    Advantage: UCLA. Although they have a pair of quality defensive backs in juniors Trey Brown and Chris Horton (two interceptions each this season), the Bruins should succeed in stopping Tuitama by virtue of their pass rush, led by defensive ends Justin Hickman and Bruce Davis (nine sacks combined). Arizona’s offensive line has given up 11 sacks in the past two games and 16 overall, second most in the Pac-10.

    UCLA quarterback Ben Olson vs. Arizona pass defense

    Skinny: Like USC quarterback John David Booty this season succeeding Matt Leinart, Olson is in his first year as a starter replacing an All-Pac-10 performer (Drew

    Olson; no relation). Unlike his predecessor, Ben Olson (five touchdowns, five interceptions in four games) has struggled to put up the massive passing numbers UCLA has been accustomed to over the last few seasons. The Wildcats, meanwhile, are coming off a streaky performance in which Washington quarterback Isaiah Stanback went 9-of-9 for 233 yards in the second quarter alone.

    Advantage: Arizona. Olson is coming off a two-interception, no-touchdown performance against Stanford and hasn’t seemed to develop a rhythm yet with his wide receivers, instead favoring tight end Logan Paulsen (team highs of 10 receptions and 144 yards). Arizona did well against Booty (179 yards, touchdown, interception) in a 20-3 loss on Sept. 23 despite the Trojans’ many weapons. Junior cornerback Antoine Cason was not recruited by UCLA and may have something to prove to the Bruins. He declined all interview requests from the media this week, perhaps to concentrate on his approach.

    UCLA running back Chris Markey vs. Arizona run defense

    Skinny: Markey, a junior, has shown to be a capable replacement for super-back Maurice Jones-Drew, currently averaging 133.8 all-purpose yards per game, third in the Pac-10. He is averaging 6.6 yards per carry. Arizona is sixth in the conference in rush defense, having allowed 4.1 yards per carry and six touchdowns in five games.

    Advantage: UCLA. Although Markey isn’t the most talented back the Wildcats have seen this season, the team has seemed to have difficulty stopping even decent rushers with consistency. Arizona tends to fall into a habit of following a tackle for loss by allowing a long gain and a first down. The team continues to struggle making tackles, allowing would-be short gains to move the chains.

    Prediction: UCLA 24, Arizona 13

    – Compiled by Tom Knauer

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