After a brief hiatus for some July 4 weekend golfing, we’re back with the next installment in our series of Washington Huskies opponent previews. Next up: UCLA.
UCLA AT WASHINGTON, Saturday, Nov. 8 (Kickoff time TBA)
UCLA LOCATION: Los Angeles, Calif., in the Westwood neighborhood (according to Wikipedia, Westwood’s population is 56,735. Los Angeles, however, is slightly larger)
ENROLLMENT: 42,163 (28674 undergraduates, 13,138 graduate students, and 1,368 interns and residents)
MASCOT: The Bruins.
2013 RECORD: 10-3 (6-3 in Pac-12). UCLA began the season 5-0 before losing road games at Oregon and Stanford, then later lost at home to Arizona State. They defeated Virginia Tech 42-12 in the Sun Bowl.
COACH: Jim L. Mora (19-8 in two seasons at UCLA and overall)
RETURNING STARTERS: 18 (8 on offense, 8 on defense and 2 on special teams, according to the Pac-12 prospectus)
KEY RETURNERS: QB Brett Hundley, (R-Jr.) (248-for-371 passing for 3,071 yards, 24 TDs and 9 INTs in 2013; 160 carries, 748 yards, 11 TDs); LB/RB Myles Jack (So.) (75 tackles, 7 TFL, sack, 2 INTs; 38 carries, 267 yards, 7 TDs); WR Devin Fuller (Jr.) (43 catches, 471 yards, 4 TDs); WR Jordan Payton (Jr.) (38 catches, 440 yards, TD); RB Paul Perkins (R-Jr.) (134 carries, 573 yards, 6 TDs); RB Jordon James (R-Sr.) (101 carries, 534 yards, 5 TDs); LB Eric Kendricks (Sr.) (106 tackles, 4 TFL, 2 sacks, INT); S Anthony Jefferson (Sr.) (89 tackles, TFL, 2 INTs); S Randall Goforth (Jr.) (78 tackles, 3 INTs); CB Ishmael Adams (Jr.) (61 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks, 4 INTs); DL Eddie Vanderdoes (So.) (39 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 0.5 sacks); DL Owamagbe Odighizuwa (R-Sr.) (missed 2013 season due to hip injury; 44 tackles, 3.5 sacks in 2012)
KEY LOSSES: LB Anthony Barr (65 tackles, 20 TFL, 10 sacks); DE Cassius Marsh (60 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 6 sacks); LB Jordan Zumwalt (93 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 2 INTs); WR Shaq Evans (47 catches, 709 yards, 9 TDs); OL Xavier Su’a-Filo (started every game in 2013 and was a second-round NFL draft pick)
2013 STATISTICAL RANKS: 20th in Scoring Offense (36.9 points per game); 38th in Total Offense (448.5 yards per game); 43rd in Passing Offense (251.8 ypg); 35th in Rushing Offense (196.6 ypg); 35th in Scoring Defense (23.2 ppg); 54th in Total Defense (387.1 ypg); 40th in Passing Yards Allowed (217.6 ypg); 71st in Rushing Defense (169.5 ypg). Here is the full report.
BIGGEST 2014 PRIORITY: UCLA didn’t lose much from last season’s starting 22 — the Bruins return 16 of those players — but the guys they did lose are pretty darn good. Barr, Marsh, Zumwalt, Su’a-Filo and Evans were each selected in the NFL draft, and Barr was one of the best defensive players in the country. That’s a lot of talent to replace in the linebacking corps, though UCLA does return Kendricks, its top tackler a year ago, and Jack, the reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year on both offense and defense. A stout secondary returns in full, and Vanderdoes (he missed spring practices due to injury, but is expected back for camp), junior DE Ellis McCarthy and Odighizuwa provide some experience along the defensive line. Offensively, the Bruins have a Heisman candidate at quarterback in Hundley, and though he loses his top receiving target in Evans, the Bruins still have some quality pass-catchers (Payton and Fuller lead the way, with Thomas Duarte and Devin Lucien in the mix, too). Su’a-Filo is the only loss on the offensive line, and the Bruins also return their top four rushers from 2013 — Hundley, Perkins, James and Jack. UCLA does lose the players who accounted for 23 of its 32 sacks last season — Barr (10), Marsh (6) and reserve Keenan Graham (6) led the way — so replacing that pass rush will be key.
SCHEDULE NOTES: Their Pac-12 schedule isn’t so bad, partially because the Bruins play only four conference road games, and two of those are at Colorado and California (UW and Arizona State are the other two). The flip side of UCLA’s brutal trips to Oregon and Stanford in back-to-back weeks in 2013 is that they get both of those teams at home in 2014 — Oregon on Oct. 11, and Stanford in the regular season finale on Nov. 28. But the Bruins’ nonconference schedule won’t be a cakewalk, with trips to Virginia (2-10 in 2013, but still) for the season opener, then at Texas two weeks later. A home game against Memphis is sandwiched between.
WASHINGTON-UCLA ROSTER TIES: As Huskies fans are well aware, Jack played his high school ball at Bellevue, and was a notable recruiting whiff for former coach Steve Sarkisian. Walk-on defensive back Michael Carlson also played for Bellevue with Jack. Payton, a native of Santa Monica, Calif., was orally committed to UW (and USC, and California) before signing with UCLA in 2012. Vanderdoes also considered Washington during his recruitment. Mora, of course, played at Washington, and his name has come up in connection with UW plenty of times since. UCLA receivers coach Eric Yarber held the same position at UW under Tyrone Willingham from 2005-06, and UCLA defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin held that position at UW under Sarkisian from 2009-11. Mike Tuiasosopo, who coaches UCLA’s outside linebackers and special teams, is the cousin of former UW quarterback and assistant coach Marques Tuiasosopo.
UW-UCLA HISTORY: UCLA leads the all-time series 39-30-2, winning last season’s meeting 41-31 at the Rose Bowl. The Bruins have won 12 of the last 15 meetings, though they haven’t won at Husky Stadium since 2008 (there’s been only one game played between these teams in Seattle since then. UW won, 24-7, on a Thursday night in 2010).
UCLA’S BEST SEASON: UCLA claims one national championship, from the 1954 season, which the Bruins finished with a 9-0 record under coach Henry “Red” Sanders. Because of a Pac-12 rule prohibiting the same team from playing in the Rose Bowl in consecutive seasons, the Bruins didn’t play in a bowl game. Their 34-0 victory over USC in the season finale clinched a share of the national title with Ohio State — the Bruins were ranked No. 1 by UPI, and the Buckeyes were voted No. 1 in the AP poll. UCLA outscored its opponents 367-40 that year.
HOW WAS SPRING BALL?: Here’s a good recap from the Daily Bruin, with a look at how UCLA’s depth might shake out at each position.
Christian Caple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ChristianCaple