Arizona has struggled to get its offense rolling against UCLA in recent seasons, but the 16-ranked Wildcats will try to find holes in the No. 11 Bruins Saturday, when they host the Pac-12 opener for both teams. Arizona showed its offensive capabilities last weekend against Northern Arizona, setting program records for points (77), total yards (792) and rushing yards (499) in the 64-point victory, but UCLA is a major step up in competition.
The Wildcats are hoping to welcome back their best defensive player, while the Bruins lost one of theirs during practice Tuesday. Arizona’s Scooby Wright III, the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year last season, returned to practice early in the week and will be a game-time decision to return to his starting linebacker role after missing the last two games with a knee injury suffered in the season opener. Wright had a career-high 19 tackles in the 17-7 loss to the Bruins last season but couldn’t do anything to help the offense, which was limited to 255 total yards – less than half its season average. UCLA, meanwhile, lost starting linebacker Myles Jack, the conference’s Offensive and Defensive Freshman of the Year two years ago, to a season-ending knee injury Tuesday, making him the third Bruins starter to go down on the defensive side of the ball.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ABC.
LINE HISTORY: Books opened UCLA as a 3-point road fave. The total has been bumped from 64 to 66.
WEATHER: Temperatures expected to be in the low-90s under clear skies. Wind will blow across the field at around eight miles per hour.
INJURY REPORT: UCLA – WR Jordan Payton (Probable, ankle), LB Myles Jack (Out for season, knee), DB Fabian Moreau (Out for season, foot), DL Eddie Vanderdoes (Out for season, knee). Arizona – WR Cayleb Jones (Probable, undisclosed), LB Scooby Wright III (Questionable, knee), WR Samajie Grant (Questionable, undisclosed), LB Haden Gregory (Mid October, undisclosed), WR Trey Griffey (Late September, foot).
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “The Bruins narrowly escaped with a come from behind win at home over BYU on Saturday. For the second straight week freshman quarterback Josh Rosen struggled, throwing for just 106 yards with a TD and three picks on 11-of-23 passing. The Wildcats are 3-0 with a big home game against UCLA coming up this weekend, and they might get a boost with the return of their star linebacker. Scooby Wright is back at practice after recovering from knee surgery.” Covers Expert Jesse Schule.
ABOUT UCLA (3-0 SU, 1-1-1 ATS, 0-3 O/U): The Bruins also can run the ball, and they’ll look to Paul Perkins to continue doing damage out of the backfield. He’s averaging 143 yards this season and is coming off a 219-yard effort in last weekend’s one-point victory over then-No. 22 BYU. Brett Hundley was the key offensive weapon against Arizona last season – amassing 320 total yards – but he’s graduated to the NFL and freshman Josh Rosen is running the offense. Rosen has completed 61 of his 100 attempts this season, throwing five touchdown passes and four interceptions.
ABOUT ARIZONA (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS, 3-0 O/U): Anu Solomon has been nearly flawless at quarterback for the Wildcats, recording 10 touchdown passes with no interceptions while completing 68.3 percent of his throws this season. He’ll be eager to make up for his 18-of-48 performance against UCLA last year. Arizona running back Nick Wilson has nearly matched Perkins step-for-step this season, amassing 434 rushing yards while averaging seven per carry to put him well on his way to a second straight 1,000-yard season. At the receiver spot, Southern California natives David Richards and Johnny Jackson each have three touchdown receptions.
* Favorite is 7-1 ATS in their last eight meetings.
* Bruins are 1-5 ATS in their last six meetings in Arizona.
* Under is 10-3 in Bruins last 13 road games.
* Under is 5-1 in Wildcats last six conference games.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Fifty-two percent of bettors are backing Arizona.