No. 16 Bruins, Arizona try to stay alive in Pac-12
The nation's leading rusher managed a mere 54 yards that night in Pasadena, where the Bruins routed Arizona 66-10. Since then, Carey has reeled off a school-record 11 straight 100-yard games.
UCLA coach Jim Mora attributed Carey's low number to the fact that the Bruins jumped to an early lead - they were up 42-3 at the half - and that forced the Wildcats to take to the air.
The 16th-ranked Bruins and Arizona meet again Saturday night, this time in Tucson, and the stakes are high. Both are 3-2 in the conference, and the winner stays in the thick of the Pac-12 South race.
''It's a big game,'' Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said. ''You could say they're all important and count as one, and that's true. But when it's a ranked team, you're home, and there's a lot stake, it adds more to it.''
Here are five things to watch when the Bruins face the Wildcats:
UCLA's `D' AGAINST CAREY, ET AL: The Bruins are giving up just 167 yards per game on the ground. Arizona is rushing for 275 a game. Carey's 153 yards a game leads the nation. ''You don't try to bottle up Ka'Deem Carey,'' Mora said. ''You try to limit his explosive plays against you.'' Carey isn't the only threat. Quarterback B.J. Denker can run, too. Arizona is second only to Oregon in rushing offense in the conference. ''You look at them as a casual observer and you see the four-wide sets, you think they're going to sling it all over the yard,'' Mora said, ''but really they do a great job of spreading you out and running it. They're a great rushing offense.'' UCLA's defense has been consistently good against the run. ''It plays well to our matchups if we play well and we read our keys and we tackle well,'' Mora said.
ARIZONA'S MOTIVATION: The Wildcats haven't talked much about last year's disaster against the Bruins. The Wildcats were coming off an emotional victory over then-No. 9 Southern California. UCLA had lost five in a row. All the Bruins did was roll for 611 yards and 36 first downs. ''There wasn't a single phase where we did anything well,'' Rodriguez said. ''If you want to know what went wrong, it was everything.'' Despite their relative silence on the matter, the players who were part of that blowout loss should have revenge on their minds. Rodriguez had the team watch the video of that catastrophe, although he said it was ''painful'' to go through it again.
HUNDLEY AT HOME: UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley will be back in his home state, playing against the school where his father was a running back. In last year's blowout of the Wildcats, Hundley had one of his best games, completing 23 of 28 passes for 288 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for a score. Hundley is coming off a strong game in last week's victory over Colorado. He threw for 278 yards and ran for another 72 as the Bruins rolled 45-23, bouncing back from consecutive losses at Stanford and Oregon. It was the sophomore's 10th career game of more than 300 total yards. Hundley's ability to make things happen with his legs as well as his arm makes him doubly dangerous.
BARR LETS LOOSE: The Colorado game marked the first time standout UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr has not had a tackle for loss. Expect him to tee off against the Wildcats. ''He made the transition (from offense) last year, so now he's very comfortable,'' Rodriguez said. ''When you're that good of an athlete, and we're talking about a first-rounder here, you can put him on either side of the ball.'' Barr has 13 tackles for loss and is second in the nation with four forced fumbles
DENKER'S DUTIES: With UCLA expected to concentrate on corralling Carey, Denker will be counted on to keep the Bruins' defense honest. The Arizona quarterback has improved as a passer and a runner throughout the season. ''I don't think he lacked confidence in himself, but it helps to have success in the games,'' Rodriguez said. ''On the sidelines, B.J. is getting more confident and more vocal. ... He's been pretty sharp all season with his reads, and he's been smart with the ball. He's not throwing into the crowd.''
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