Matt Cummings, football beat writer
Prediction: Washington 35, UCLA 21
On paper, this really isn’t a fair matchup. Washington is loaded with talent all across its roster, and Washington have trampled nearly everyone in their path this season.
The Washington defense is a top-five unit in the country and hasn’t allowed more than 16 points in a game this year. Sure, the Bruins might boast the best offense the Huskies have faced, but it’s going to be tough for the Bruins to come anywhere close to their scoring average of 38.3 points a game.
That puts a ton of pressure on the UCLA defense, which will hope to replicate what Arizona State’s defense did in an upset of Washington on Oct. 14. The Sun Devils held the Huskies to just seven points and 230 total yards, sacking quarterback Jake Browning five times and allowing less than three yards per carry on average.
Can UCLA produce a defensive showing like that? Doubtful. Even after an improved performance against Oregon, its allowing over six yards per rush on average this season, and its pass rush is not as fierce as Arizona State.
One thing to watch for: The Huskies’ pass defense has been very effective this year, allowing a conference best of 5.2 yards per attempt, but they have allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 64.3 percent of their passes, the second-highest mark in the Pac-12. Junior quarterback Josh Rosen is plenty capable of taking advantage by shredding Washington with short and intermediate passes to maintain control of the ball and keep UCLA in the game.
That said, the Bruins will realistically have to play their best game of the season on both sides of the ball in order to win, and that’s not something I would bet on happening.
David Gottlieb, Sports editor
Prediction: Washington 41, UCLA 24
I’m not expecting this to go all too well for UCLA football.
Washington has had two weeks to ruminate on what it was like to lose at the hands of unranked Arizona State. I can’t imagine it was a particularly fun two weeks.
In the narrative of the season, this is the game in which the Huskies get back on their path to the Pac-12 North title that they’ve been favored to win all season. That goal will be a lot harder to attain with another loss.
Washington doesn’t have to play USC this year. The team should be looking at its next two games – versus UCLA and Oregon – as momentum builders for the only legitimate matchup left on their schedule: No. 20 Stanford.
Rosen should be able to muster up a few scores, but the experience of the Washington offensive line coupled with UCLA’s inability to consistently stop the run should result in the Huskies putting up a lot of points.
In addition to our usual football experts, this week we’re featuring a guest predictor: assistant Photo editor Kristie-Valerie Hoang, who will be traveling to Seattle this weekend to take photos at the game.
Kristie-Valerie Hoang, assistant Photo editor
Prediction: UCLA 21, Washington 13
It’s week four. Midterm armageddon is upon us but I’m hopping on a flight to Seattle to cover football with our outspoken Sports editor David Gottlieb – oh, and Matt Cummings too.
If I’m going to travel with these people, it better be for a win.
I acknowledge the fact that I know nothing about football. I didn’t even know what coach Jim Mora looked like until last week, when I had to find a photo of him for a story.
I did go to the Texas A&M game, though. If Rosen can complete his passes and our defense can step it up a couple notches, we might have a chance. Redshirt junior wide receiver Jordan Lasley, junior running back Soso Jamabo, junior linebacker Josh Woods, freshman defensive back Darnay Holmes and any other player I might have photographed and tagged on my Instagram need to really put in their best effort.
Regardless, the Bruins have to win, even though UCLA is like, eighth in the Pac-12. But really, UCLA needs to win because if it doesn’t, I’ll have spent 37 hours with Gottlieb and Cummings for nothing.