Washington suffered a huge blow to its College Football Playoff hopes in its last contest and the No. 11 Huskies now have to deal with UCLA star quarterback Josh Rosen when they host the Bruins in Saturday’s Pac-12 game. Washington fell from the ranks of the unbeaten with a damaging 13-7 loss to Arizona State on Oct. 14, while UCLA will attempt to halt a seven-game road losing streak.
Huskies coach Chris Petersen is wary of the timing of facing Rosen (2,620 yards, 19 touchdowns) after junior cornerback Jordan Miller was lost to a season-ending ankle injury against Arizona State to join redshirt freshman Byron Murphy (foot) on the sidelines. Sophomore corner Myles Bryant is playing well but Washington will be patching the holes with true freshmen Elijah Molden, Keith Taylor and Brandon McKinney as well as Jomon Dotson, a junior who began his career as a running back. “I think UCLA has a lot of weapons, they always have,” Petersen said at a press conference. “They have a lot of speed, and probably the top guy in college football throwing the ball. He’s tremendous for sure. So this is going to be a really big test. We certainly haven’t seen anybody that can throw the ball like he throws it and how they throw it.” UCLA’s defense is a huge issue, having allowed an average of 51 points in its three road defeats this season.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC, ESPN. LINE: Washington -17
ABOUT UCLA (4-3, 2-2 Pac-12): Rosen, a junior, ranks second nationally in passing yardage this season, has 8,203 career yards (fourth in Bruins’ history) but victories haven’t been matching his production. “We have a team we believe in,” Rosen said. “We’ve done some incredible things this year and not-so incredible things this year — you try to pull more from the positive side than the negative. I think we have a lot of guys that really enjoy this sport and enjoy each other. That’s all you can really ask for.” The suspect defense has allowed more than 40 points on four occasions, is tied for 113th nationally in scoring defense (36.7 points per game) and 121st in total defense (494 yards per game).
ABOUT WASHINGTON (6-1, 3-1): Junior quarterback Jake Browning has passed for 1,605 yards and 14 touchdowns this season but blemishes were everywhere against Arizona State, when he passed for a season-low 139 yards and failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time this season. Senior receiver Dante Pettis leads the nation with a 24.4 punt-return average to go with three scores but he is averaging just 7.2 yards on 29 receptions over the past three games. The Huskies rank second nationally in total defense (236.9) and third in scoring defense (10.6) with junior outside linebacker Tevis Bartlett enjoying a solid campaign with a team-best 8.5 tackles for loss.
1. UCLA has won 13 of the past 16 meetings, including the most recent one (44-30 in 2014).
2. Bruins senior WR Darren Andrews, who has caught 49 passes for 634 yards and eight touchdowns this season, ranks sixth in school history with 151 career receptions.
3. The Huskies lost standout junior LT Trey Adams (knee) for the season during the loss to Arizona State.
PREDICTION: Washington 42, UCLA 33