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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UCLA at Arizona: Players to Watch

Arizona

Juron Criner, wide receiver

It’s been an injury-riddled year for the senior wide receiver, who has faced both shoulder and knee problems throughout the last couple of contests after undergoing an appendectomy. Criner, who many thought would be a frontrunner for the Fred Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation’s top receiver, has only made five receptions for 45 yards in the Wildcats’ last two games. While his contributions haven’t been as necessary this year with four of the other Wildcat receivers having more than 25 catches, the team would definitely like to see some more out of him. Following the bye week, Criner should be healthy and ready to go.

Shaquille Richardson, cornerback

Richardson has shaken off his lackadaisical start to the season with 14 tackles and 3 interceptions, one for a 28-yard touchdown return, in the last two contests for the Wildcats. For a defense that has been so inconsistent, Richardson starting to perform has been a very welcome sign. With safety Adam Hall out for most likely the rest of the year after aggravating a knee injury, the secondary combination of Richardson and Trevin Wade will need to keep its tenacity up for the defense to be successful.

John Bonano, placekicker

Arizona’s original starters, Jaime Salazar and Alex Zendejas, have missed a combined five extra points so far this year, so the decision for Arizona interim head coach Tim Kish to promote Bonano was an easy call. The coaching staff has been impressed by Bonano’s confidence and maturity. It certainly would help the Arizona faithful if they didn’t have to hold their breath every time an extra point or field goal is attempted. If Bonano is consistent tonight, the starting job will be his.

UCLA

Jonathan Franklin/Derrick Coleman, running backs

The Bruins rely on different backs to carry the load for the UCLA run game. So far this season, the duo of Franklin and Coleman have combined for 839 yards and eight touchdowns. Combined with the ability to run from the quarterback position, the Bruins maintain a running game that is 28th in the nation, compared to the Wildcats 119th (out of 120) ranking. Look for the Bruins to continue to keep the Wildcat run defense on its toes throughout the game.

Nelson Rosario, wide receiver

Rosario didn’t practice on Tuesday after suffering a sprained foot, but is expected to play tonight. When the Bruins don’t decide to run the ball, look for him to be UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince’s most likely receiving target. Despite not having a touchdown catch on the season, the senior has hauled in 26 receptions for 480 yards so far this year and will definitely be a factor against the Wildcats.

Patrick Larimore, linebacker

The Bruins’ dynamic junior leads the team with 44 tackles and his 7.3 tackles per game put him at seventh in the Pac-12 conference. With his ability to cover the pass and to close in on the run, the Wildcats would be best to keep the ball away from wherever he is going to be.

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