UCLA Football vs. BYU: 3 Keys to Victory

Sep 19, 2015; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) sets to pass in the second quarter of the game against the Brigham Young Cougars at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 19, 2015; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen (3) sets to pass in the second quarter of the game against the Brigham Young Cougars at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The UCLA Football team will have a fight on their hands this Saturday and if they want to avoid going 1-2, there are a few things they need to focus on.

It has not been very rosy for the UCLA Football team in their first two games. In fact, it has been stress-inducing.

The Bruins are 1-1 heading into their game against the BYU Cougars and if they want to avoid going 1-2 for the first time in the Jim Mora era, there are a few things they need to focus their attention on (and execute properly) if they want to get the “W”.

Rosen Must Be Rosen

In his first two games of the season, UCLA QB Josh Rosen has not been the Rosen we hoped. It could also be said that he has not been the Rosen we saw from last season.

The sophomore quarterback has been just “okay” in first two games. He was critical of his own performance in the first half of the Texas A&M game, calling it “abysmal”. Though he did bring the Bruins back in the 4th quarter from 15 points down, he was not able to seal the deal against the Aggies in OT.

He had a better showing against UNLV, throwing for 267 yards, but only had one touchdown. He was also a bit off with his throws and is still trying to find the right chemistry with his receivers.

If Rosen can get back his rhythm and morph back into the record-breaking stud we saw last season, then he will have a better time executing the offense, which will spell trouble for BYU.

Sep 3, 2016; College Station, TX, USA; UCLA Bruins defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes (47) during a game against the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field. Texas A&M won in overtime 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 3, 2016; College Station, TX, USA; UCLA Bruins defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes (47) during a game against the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field. Texas A&M won in overtime 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Shut Down The Run

I don’t care how they do it (except for being unsportsmanlike), they just need to do it. UCLA’s defense is still trying to figure out how to stop the run and it is not going to get any easier against BYU.

The Cougars have a very versatile running back in Jamaal WIlliams. He will test the Bruins up the middle and on the sides and will find ways to get around the Bruin front line. Not only is he fast, but he is strong. It is going to take more than a simple wrap up to stop him.

In addition to that, BYU has a talented dual-threat quarterback in Taysom Hill. He does not have as good of an arm as Tanner Mangum (who led the Cougars against the Bruins last season), but he is more mobile. He will definitely keep the Bruins guessing, which is why UCLA needs to be a lot more disciplined with their run defense.

What will help the Bruins is Eddie Vanderdoes returning to the line up after straining his knee in the first half of last week’s UNLV game.

In addditon, UCLA will also add some pass rushers back into the mix as defensive ends Deon Hollins and Takkarist McKinley return from injury.

September 10, 2016; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins defensive back Randall Goforth (3) reacts after intercepting a pass against the UNLV Rebels during the second half at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

September 10, 2016; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins defensive back Randall Goforth (3) reacts after intercepting a pass against the UNLV Rebels during the second half at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Come Out Strong In The 3rd Quarter

The UCLA Football team had good first halves against the Aggies and the Rebels, but after halftime, the Bruins have come out flat. In both games, UCLA was shut out in the 3rd quarter and it is not just the offense that had been under performing.

The Bruin defense has been lackadaisical in their efforts just after the half. They have allowed their opponents to outscore them 21-0 in the 3rd quarter in their first two games.

Aside from getting pushed around, these 3rd quarter lapses have allowed their opponent to either extend their lead or get back in the game. If UCLA wants control of this BYU game, they need to come out of the half with a sense of purpose.

The defense needs to smash the Cougar offense in the mouth. The offense needs to test the BYU defense and balance their attack on the ground and through the air. The coaches need to hype their players and call some stellar plays.

Either way, the Bruins need to fight, fight, fight all game long.

Go Bruins!

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