It’s finally here! Opening Day of the 2019 College Football season is upon us but, before Bruin fans can pack up their car and head to the Rose Bowl to tailgate, the UCLA Bruins have to travel to Cincinnati for a road game against the Cincinnati Bearcats.
Tonight’s game is the back-end of a home-and-home series with Cincinnati after the Bearcats visited Pasadena last season.
Will the Bruins be able to flip the script by winning on the road? We’ll know the answer to this and many other questions heading into the season tonight, possibly as soon as halftime.
Until then, let’s look at some keys to the game.
Keys to the Game
1. Can the Bruins move the ball on the ground?
As last season progressed, the offensive line gelled and that led UCLA to victory a few times. Being able to move the ball on the ground will be critical to winning tonight’s game because establishing the run also opens up the passing game. If UCLA can score running the football, it will relieve a lot of the pressure on sophomore quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson.
2. How much has the Bruin defense improved?
Even with a lot of talk about how things are different this year for this team, there are still question marks on the defensive side of the ball. The Bruins were down to just five non-scout inside linebackers as of early this week following the NCAA ruling that Bo Calvert is “indefinitely ineligible.” Sure, Chip Kelly said that he thinks that the ruling is for eight games, but that’s two-thirds of the season that he will be out for, assuming that timeline is accurate. So, depth is a concern at inside linebacker. Will the remaining guys step up enough to make Calvert’s absence invisible? Or, will the lack of depth give UCLA problems on defense again?
3. How will Dorian Thompson-Robinson perform?
To say that the sophomore from Bishop Gorman HS in Las Vegas had a rough freshman season is putting it mildly. But, with another year of experience under his belt, how will Thompson-Robinson do leading the offense? Has he improved his accuracy from last season? The Bruins need him to be better—much better—in order to win tonight.
Here’s how to watch, listen and stream today’s game.
How To Watch, Listen, Stream and More
- Thursday, August 29, 2019, 4:00 pm PT
- Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
- ESPN with Adam Amin, Matt Hasselback, Molly McGrath, and Pat McAfee
- 1150 AM in Los Angeles with Josh Lewin, Matt Stevens and Wayne Cook
- Satellite Radio: Sirius Channel 206 & XM Channel 197 (UCLA Call)
- And, of course, the Bruins Nation Game Thread!!!
- WatchESPN.com and the ESPN App
Rebroadcast (All times PT):
- Thursday, 8/29, 9:30 pm on ESPNU
- Friday, 8/30, 12:00 am on ESPN
- On Demand at WatchESPN.com