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Cougars vs. Bruins: Previewing the UCLA defense

The Cougars pass happy offense might run into a few issues against the stout UCLA secondary.

Stephen Dunn

The UCLA Bruins are a better team than they were last year and a large part of that improvement has come from a better defense.

The offense will be giving the Cougars fits on Saturday and the Bruins' defense is bound to make matters worse. As Coug Center points out, the Bruins are above average in the nation at defending against the run and against the pass. They are sitting 40th in the defensive S&P so far this season.

The Cougars have allowed quite a few sacks, and the Bruins are pretty good at harrying opposing quarterbacks and bringing him down a few times. They bring the ball down behind the line of scrimmage close to once every 10 plays and sack the quarterback once every 11 attempts.

If the UCLA front seven is able to be as disruptive as the Cardinal and Utes, then the Cougars will be in for a long offensive day. If past performances are any indication, that will be the case.

When the Cougars get the ball moving, it is tough to keep it going all the way to the first down against the Bruins defense. UCLA is one of the better teams at stuffing opposing teams on third down, only allowing a 29 percent success rate when teams have seven or more yards to go.

WSU has been struggling in standard downs all year. If that trend continues, don't expect the Bruins to let them escape with conversions on 3rd and long.

It will be a tough matchup for the Cougars, but perhaps snow on the ground in Pullman will aid the Cougars offense a bit against a stout Bruins unit.