It's finally arrived...
Saturday, September 2nd
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
TV: Fox Sports Net
Radio: 700 The Zone in Salt Lake City
All-time Series: UCLA Leads 7-0
Last Meet: 1974 (UCLA 27, Utah 14)
What to expect when Utah has the ball:
The Utes offense should test the Bruins suspect secondary. If Brett Ratliff can pick up where he left off last season, Utah's offense may overmatch a Bruins defense that ranked 113th in total defense and 116th in rushing defense last year. On the ground look for Miki Liti and Daryl Poston to share the duties at working the UCLA defensive line. Utah's spread option may give UCLA trouble and if the Bruins struggle early at stopping Utah, it may force Ben Olson to throw the ball more than he may like.
What to expect when UCLA has the ball:
The Bruins offense got a makeover after last season's Sun Bowl win. At the top of that list is the replacement of Drew Olson at quarterback with Ben Olson. Olson (Ben) originally had committed to the Team Down South (it's officially the season, I now will only use TDS to refer to the Team Down South) out of high school in 2001. He will get his first real game time challenge in 5 years today. Look for the Bruins to stick to the running game with Chris Markey, who ran for 561 yards on 110 carries last season. With this being Olson's first start, it's not likely they will let him bomb away at Utah's strong secondary. However if the Utes offense exploits the Bruins defense, Olson may have no other choice than to pass away.
How the Utes win:
Utah will win this game if they pressure Olson into making some key mistakes early. If the Utes defense can rattle him, the Bruins offense might stagnate and that will open the door for Utah to make some key plays to blow the game open. Utah likes to pressure the quarterback right out of the gate and that shouldn't change today. If the Bruins defense isn't any better this season than they were last season, Utah's offense should have no problem making plays, especially if they can improve on their red zone production over last year.
Let's hear what you think. Register for a free account here and leave your comments, predictions and other game-day chatter below in the comments section. The long wait is over and the season has finally arrived. Let's hope it was worth the wait. GO UTES!