Five things to watch:
1. Ground control--With Johnathan Franklin and Derrick Coleman leading the Pistol charge, UCLA's running attack ranks No. 22 in the nation, but the Bruins have had a hard time finding holes the last two games, averaging only 78.5 yards rushing against Cal and Oregon. The task doesn't get any easier against an Arizona defense that is No. 7 in the nation against the run. Whoever wins that battle will win have a huge advantage in the game.
2. Who has the edge?--Arizona defensive ends Ricky Elmore and Brooks Reed have combined for 11.5 sacks and Arizona is second in the nation with 25, so UCLA tackles Micah Kia and Mike Harris will have their hands full. If Harris and Kia can control those ends, UCLA migt be able to take some shots down field with the passing game to soften the defense and let the Pistol go to work. But UCLA has give up 20 sacks this season--a high number for a team that's attempted only 156 passes.
3. Hold on tightly--Nobody in the Football Bowl Subdivision has more fumbles than UCLA's 12. The turnovers have gotten UCLA into early trouble the last two weeks and it's imperative that the Bruins avoid them because they simply do not have an offense that is built to get out of holes. Arizona's defense averages a forced fumble a game, but the Wildcats have fumbled only four times this season.
4. Offensive defense--UCLA must see improvement from a defense that has gotten progressively worse since the victory at Texas over a month ago. They've given up 28, 35 and 60 points the last three games and will be without middle linebacker Patrick Larimore, who dislocated his shoulder. UCLA has give up 300 yards passing in two of the last three games and gave up 300 yards rushing in the other and the Bruins have gone three consecutive games without intercepting a pass.
5. Catching on--UCLA will be without leading receiver Ricky Marvray, who is suspended for the game, and could be without second-leading receiver Nelson Rosario, who is questionable because of a sprained ankle. That opens up opportunities for speedy playmakers Josh Smith and Randall Carroll if UCLA can get any kind of passing game going with quarterback Richard Brehaut, who is making his third career start. UCLA's receiving corps has been iffy this year, so maybe Smith and Carroll can infuse some energy.