Bumped. - BN Eds.
Who is ready to exorcise some demons?
No, not the Sun Devils. We'll deal with them in a few weeks. I'm looking at you, house of horrors in Tucson. We were hoping for a more dominating performance against Colorado, but that didn't happen and now the big questions and concerns surrounding our team persist.
And now, whether we like it or not, we move onto Arizona. Many have circled this game as a potential trap game. This is the game we should win. On paper, we should be the easy pick:
Against FBS opponents, Arizona gives up almost 26 points/game. Despite our offensive woes against Stanford, Oregon, and even Utah, we still have averaged over 37 points/game which puts us at 26th in the nation.
Against all opponents, Arizona is ranked 26 in the nation in their run game (275.4 yards/game), while their pass game is down at 112 (187.8 yards/game). Our front seven will present the best front seven they have faced (hoping that Kendricks is back) and will be in a great position to stop their run and force them to pass.
Yet, this is a scary game.
Remember the last time we were in Tucson? It was a Thursday night and Arizona had just canned their coach, Mike Stoops. They were in a state of disarray and many thought that Coach Neuheisel would get a badly needed win over an opponent that was down. We ended up getting stomped 48-12. Our leading rushers were Prince and Coleman each with 13 yards. Jetski had 11. A demoralized Wildcats team hung 573 total yards on the Bruins.
And of course, there was the brawl. Shaq Richardson, the dining hall thief and transfer to Arizona was involved and helped to escalate an ugly episode that put UCLA in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. For me, this ranked among the worst games I've witnessed as a Bruin fan. Take out the recent beatdowns by the Trogans, and this one is in the top 3, easily.
Last year was partial redemption. We blew the doors off of an Arizona team that had a reputation for being a strong offensive machine but defensively poor. We crowned a new leading rusher for our school. Heck, we even rolled out alternate jerseys that looked good.
Where do we go from here? Vegas has been watching us. It isn't impressed and put us even with Arizona on a betting line (that has since moved to UCLA as 1 point favorites). We have a lot of talent, but our offense has gone vanilla. Doubts on our teams ability to play to their potential have crept back in.
So Bruins, here's to redeeming the past. Mazzone, please begin calling plays that utilizes our players and that show you have confidence in their ability. Brett, please trust your receivers and be confident in your abilities to get them the ball. And to all players who touch the field, cut down on the darn penalties.
This game is a must-win and a should-win. Bruins, play to your ability and get this thing done.