Another road trip means another chance for the Bruins to stay afloat in the race for the Pac-12.
UCLA football (4-2, 2-1 Pac-12) will play Washington (2-3, 1-1) at Husky Stadium on Saturday. Although the Huskies have won the last two head-to-head matchups in Seattle, but the Bruins have won 13 of the last 18 and own a 39-33-2 lead in the all-time series. This year's game is currently a pick 'em on BetOnline, as of Friday morning.
All Bruins is making its picks for who will win, what the score will be and how the game will play out, courtesy of Managing Editor Sam Connon, contributing writer Benjamin Royer and guest predictor Dan Raley, the Publisher and lead writer over at Husky Maven.
Sam Connon, Managing Editor
Prediction: UCLA 30, Washington 23
The analytics and the oddsmakers really like the Huskies in this one.
Depending on the sportsbook, Washington is either the slim favorite or it's a pick 'em. Football Outsiders' advanced stats preview gives Washington a 65.6% chance to win.
But which of these team's has a winning record? Which one is under .500? Which one is fighting for postseason eligibility, and which one is fighting to avoid embarrassment? Which one has a quarterback that is still having a great statistical season after a historically bad half, and which has a quarterback that is suffering a significant sophomore slump?
UCLA is wildly unpredictable and inconsistent, yes, but Washington lost to an FCS team. Even though it's been a month since then, the Huskies had to go to overtime to beat Cal at home when the Golden Bears have looked dreadful all year long, and then they lost to Oregon State, which just lost to Washington State. The Bruins just went on the road and beat an Arizona team that is pretty comparable to Cal by 18.
Washington playing at home doesn't seem to be the thing that will sink UCLA, considering both of the Bruins' losses have come at home and they've now covered in four straight road games, plus it isn't likely to affect their potent ground game either.
UCLA ranks No. 21 in estimated points added per passing play and No. 30 in EPA per rushing play, while Washington ranks No. 49 and No. 101, respectively. Defense is obviously important too, but with the way Dylan Morris has played this year, it doesn't seem like he'll be able to carve up the Bruins' secondary the same way Jake Haener and Jayden Daniels did.
It won't be a blowout, since Washington is a hard-nosed, well-coached team and UCLA isn't firing on all cylinders like it was a month ago, but the talent, scheme and momentum advantages all go the Bruins' way.
Benjamin Royer, contributing writer
Prediction: UCLA 27, Washington 24
If you asked fans a few weeks ago about who would come out on top in a matchup between the Bruins and the Huskies, the answer would probably sway heavily in favor of the blue and gold.
Now, a month later, that question is split and Saturday’s matchup even favors the Huskies odds-wise.
When UCLA played Arizona State, it was unlike any offense they had played earlier in the season, but now as they face off with Washington, it will be a defense wildly different than those prior.
Washington’s defense has done an impressive job so far this season limiting the passing game of their opponents. Only giving up 147.2 yards per game in the air is no easy feat. Coach Jimmy Lake has built a defensive system that is debatably the strongest in the Pac-12. If UCLA is to struggle in the air again it will be because of this Washington team’s secondary.
The 179.6 rushing yards per game given up, however, is how the Bruins must strike offensively.
Brittain Brown and Zach Charbonnet are the running back duo that took the conference by storm last weekend. With coach Chip Kelly seemingly remembering the early season success the pair had on the ground, the two combined for 263 yards rushing against Arizona. Heading into another road environment in the Pac-12, it is possible they find similar success against Washington.
Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson has not been 100% in recent weeks. This affected the passing game success the Bruins had against the Wildcats last week. Thompson-Robinson only completed eight passes altogether for a completion percentage less than 50%.
Kelly must not fear running the ball against the weaker side of the Huskies’ defense. Instead, the Bruins must flourish because of the weakness.
Washington quarterback Dylan Morris might be just what the doctor ordered for the UCLA secondary. Already with six interceptions on the campaign, it is time for the Bruins to wake up and take advantage of passing mistakes.
Yes, the game will be close, but at the end of the day, UCLA will come out on top with an important conference victory.
Dan Raley, Publisher at Husky Maven
Prediction: UCLA 24, Washington 21
The Huskies were ranked 20th by the AP to begin the year, but had more problems than anyone knew. It's hard to say who's more disappointing in the Pac-12 so far – Washington or USC, both 2-3. At least the Huskies still have their coach in place.
The offensive line is veteran and experienced, but not very athletic. They've used four running backs and can't settle on one of them for long. They had four wide receivers missing in the opener, all one-time starters, but three of them have returned.
Defensively, they're soft up front, which should entice the Bruins to run all game long. Charbonnet might get a season high. It's going to rain throughout the game, with the wind and a chill coming off Lake Washington, so the better running game will prevail. I think that belongs to UCLA.
Follow Connon on Twitter at @SamConnon
Follow Royer on Twitter at @thebenroyer
Follow Raley on Twitter at @DanRaley1
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