Colorado and UCLA got off to rough starts in Pac-12 play last weekend, and they’ll try to turn things around when the Bruins host the Buffaloes at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night. Colorado is coming off a 27-point loss to No. 6 Washington in a mistake-prone game in Boulder, Colo. on Saturday, the same night the visiting Bruins were trampled by Stanford in a 58-34 loss.
UCLA has the most productive passing offense in the nation so far, averaging 451.8 yards a game, but the Bruins are last in total defense at 524.8 yards surrendered per game. UCLA has been especially porous against the run, giving up an average of 307.5 rushing yards per contest, which ranks last among 129 FBS teams. The Buffaloes are averaging 141.5 rushing yards and have a proven running back in senior Phillip Lindsay, who rushed for 1,252 yards and 16 touchdowns last season while helping Colorado advance to the Pac-12 championship game. Lindsay is averaging 111.5 rushing yards through four games this season, and should be eager to do better than the 68 yards he put up last week.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2. LINE: UCLA -7.
ABOUT COLORADO (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12): The Buffaloes have a defense that can slow the Bruins down, especially in the red zone, where Colorado is tied for 10th in the nation after keeping opponent’s scoreless in 5-of-8 trips inside their own 20-yard line this season. The Buffaloes are particularly strong at middle linebacker, where Drew Lewis averages 8.8 tackles a game, tied for fourth in the Pac-12, and Rick Gamboa is sixth at 8.5. Isaiah Oliver has been the top defensive back in the conference through the first four games, leading the Pac-12 with nine passes defended, including two interceptions.
ABOUT UCLA (2-2, 0-1): Josh Rosen continues to do his part to help the Bruins win games, but he can only contribute on one side of the ball. He leads the nation with 1,763 passing yards, 230 more than the next-closest quarterback, and is No. 1 in passing TDs (16), but the desperate situations he’s been put in by the defense has forced him to gamble more than in the past. He’s been intercepted twice in each of the past two games, both losses, and as a result his quarterback efficiency rating has dropped to 20th in the nation and fourth-best in the Pac-12.
1. UCLA is the only school in the country with three receivers averaging at least 100 yards per game; wide receivers Darren Andrews (114.2) and Jordan Lasley (106.7), and tight end Caleb Wilson (106.2).
2. Rosen has thrown a touchdown pass in a school-record 13 straight games.
3. Colorado is one of three teams in the country that has three receivers with more than 100 career receptions; Shay Fields (172), Devin Ross (118) and Bryce Bobo (114).
PREDICTION: Colorado 42, UCLA 41