Bruins fighting for their Pac-12 South lives

Bruins fighting for their Pac-12 South lives

Josh Rosen missed the first game of his career last week, and it cost UCLA any shot of upending Washington State. Will the Bruins – and their star quarterback – rebound tomorrow?

Desperately in need of a victory, Jim Mora’s team hosts 19th-ranked Utah at 4 p.m. ET. Online sports book BetDSI opened the Bruins as 6-point favorites entering the Rose Bowl. The over/under is 46.

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UCLA had no shortage of hype heading into the 2016 season, but things continue to spiral out of control. In that 27-21 loss to WSU, the Bruins gained a measly 38 yards on the ground. Only two schools in the country feature a worse rushing attack than the one led by Nate Starks, Soso Jamabo and Bolu Olorunfunmi.

The Westwood faithful, then, probably don’t want a reminder that Utah boasts a supremely stout run D. Essentially, Rosen must thrive in his return from a shoulder-related absence. The gunslinger should receive some opportunities to exploit a Marcus Williams-less secondary. Coach Kyle Whittingham also may not be able to deploy linebacker Sunia Tauteoli, who left the Utes’ 19-14 win over Oregon State with an undisclosed ailment.

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In order to avoid starting 1-4 in the league for the first time in Mora’s tenure, UCLA better bottle up the visitors’ solid, albeit unspectacular, offense. Trigger man Troy Williams completes just 56 percent of his passes. Yet the junior rarely hurts himself, having gone interception-free since Sept. 17. All signs point to a thoroughly tight affair on the West Coast.

 

FRIDAY NCAA FREE PICK: UTAH +7

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