Bruins to face yet another elite quarterback
October, 17, 2011
By Peter Yoon | ESPNLosAngeles.com
Chris Morrison/US PresswireArizona's Nick Foles will be the latest quality quarterback to put pressure on UCLA's defense.
UCLA has already seen it's share of elite-level quarterbacks this season and another one is coming Thursday night when the Bruins face Nick Foles of Arizona.
Foles is second in the nation with 2,225 yards passing and he slings it early and often with 281 pass attempts -- also second most in the nation.
The problem is that UCLA hasn't fared well against top-flight quarterbacks so far, getting picked apart by Case Keenum of Houston and Andrew Luck of Stanford, who combined to complete 53 of 67 (79 percent) of their passes for 567 yards and five touchdowns.
"He’s a bona fide big-time player and we have to understand that we’re not necessarily going to stop him we just have to contain him," Neuheisel said of Foles.
Even though Arizona is 1-5, Foles has carved up just about every opponent he has faced this season. He had 398 yards against Oklahoma State, 398 against Oregon and 425 against USC. Only Stanford has somewhat contained him, holding him to 239 yards.
What makes him so effective is his ability to spread the ball around to multiple receivers. The Wildcats have five receivers with 26 or more receptions, led by Dan Buckner with 33. In contrast, UCLA's only receiver with that many catches is Nelson Rosario with 26.
"Nick Foles is as quality as a quarterback as there is and we’ve played some pretty good ones so far so we have a very, very healthy respect for what he can do," Neuheisel said. "He’s kind of a point guard. He gets the ball in guys' hands where they can make plays on it."
The Bruins are 95th in the nation in passing efficiency defense and opposing quarterbacks have completed 68.32 percent of their passes against UCLA -- the fifth-highest completion percentage allowed by any team in the country.
That could spell trouble against Foles, who is sixth in the nation with a 71.53 completion percentage.
"He’s a guy that gets it out of his hand quickly," Neuheisel said. "He’s certainly got a mastery of their offense. They’ve kind of relied on him. We’ve just got to make sure that as often as we can get him to third down, we do well on third down. And the second piece is we’ve got to keep them from scoring the seven points and try to keep them to as many field goal chances as we can."