Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#397 UCLA 58.5 vs.
#398 Washington State -18.5
Saturday, September 21, 2019 at 10:30pm EDT
Martin Stadium, Pullman
Written by Chris Kubala

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#397 University of California, Los Angeles
#398 Washington State University
0-3
3-0
-3
1-2
0-3
1-2
13
49
31
15

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A pair of teams from the Pac-12 Conference clash in a crossover matchup up in the Palouse of the Pacific Northwest. The struggling UCLA Bruins are on the road as they make the trip north to face the #19 Washington State Cougars Saturday night. UCLA was clobbered 48-14 at home by #5 Oklahoma in their previous contest last Saturday. Washington State held off Houston 31-24 on the road in the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff last Friday night. The Bruins lead the all-time series 40-20-1 but the Cougars have won two straight, including a 27-21 home win in the last matchup on October 15, 2016.

UCLA Bruins Try to Flip Script in Conference Opener

UCLA was flattened in their final non-conference tune-up as #5 Oklahoma came into the Rose Bowl and put the boots to them. The Bruins are winless heading into conference play and this one is going to be another tough challenge. UCLA trailed 17-0 after the opening quarter and 34-7 at the half: they were unable to mount a serious threat the rest of the way. The Bruins were outgained 611-311, gave up 26 first downs to their 21 and lost the time of possession battle 31:38 to 28:22 in the contest. For good measure, UCLA turned the ball over twice while failing to record a takeaway.

The Bruins are only 101st in the nation in passing offense with 185.3 yards per contest while they are 124th in rushing offense as they average only 78 yards per contest. UCLA is 127th in the FBS in scoring offense as they put up just 14 points per contest while the team is 101st in the nation in scoring defense by allowing 31.7 points per game. Dorian Thompson-Robinson has hit 47 of 87 passes for 556 yards with five touchdowns and four interceptions this season. Demetric Fallon leads the team with 38 carries for 164 yards while Joshua Kelley is next in line with 33 carries for 104 yards plus a score. Felton has hauled in a team-leading 13 passes for 171 yards plus a score. Jaylen Erwin (eight catches, 81 yards, TD) and Devin Asiasi (seven catches, 114 yards) are the next targets in the passing game. JJ Molson has hit all six extra point attempts while going zero for two on field goal tries this season.

Washington State Cougars Seek to Remain Unbeaten

Washington State had a tougher time than they expected but managed to pull out the win over Houston last week. The Cougars now return home to open conference play against a UCLA team that has been dumped in all three contests. Washington State trailed 14-7 at the half and took the lead for good midway through the third quarter before hanging on for the win. The Cougars owned a 489-367 advantage in total offense, picked up 25 first downs while allowing 22 and owned a 32:06 to 27:54 edge in time of possession. In addition, Washington State forced a pair of turnovers while committing only one in the game.

The Cougars pile up 476 yards through the air per contest (1st in the nation) and 91 yards per game on the ground (112th in the nation) this season. Washington State is 11th in the FBS in scoring offense with 49.3 points per contest while ranking tied for 32nd in scoring defense as they allow 16 points per game. Anthony Gordon has completed 96 of 122 passes for 1,324 yards with 12 touchdowns and two interceptions this season. Gage Gubrud is 10 of 13 for 89 yards plus a score while Trey Tinsley is two of four for 15 yards and a touchdown this season. Max Borghi leads the team with 26 carries for 202 yards plus four scores on the ground this season. Deon McIntosh (six carries, 55 yards, TD) and Clay Markoff (eight carries, 24 yards) are next in line. Brandon Arcanado leads the team with 23 receptions for 308 yards and a score this season. Dezmon Patmon (13 catches, 227 yards, two TD) and Easop Winston Jr. (16 grabs, 234 yards, four TD) are other solid targets in the passing game. Blake Mazza has hit all 19 extra points and five of five field goal tries this season with a long of 50 on the year.

WSU head coach Mike Leach knows you can’t take UCLA for granted.

“I think they are an extremely talented team,” Leach said. “I think they are better than they’ve been playing because I know a great deal about their players — we recruited a lot of them. I don’t think they are playing together as well as they would like right now, but that can happen at any time and that can happen overnight. And as soon as they do, they’re an extremely dangerous team.”

“If they get on track, and they are playing as well as they can this week, we have to be ready.”

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Washington State has racked up a ton of yards in the first three games of the season as Gordon has followed in the steps of Luke Falk and Gardner Minshew in thriving in the Air Raid offense. UCLA has looked awful so far this season as they’ve been shredded defensively. The Bruins have allowed opposing quarterbacks to hit 71.3 percent of their throws for an average of 279 yards per game with six touchdowns and one interception. Given the fact that the Cougars are piling up huge offensive numbers via the passing game, you have to think that this one goes their way, especially at home. Washington State drops UCLA to 0-4 and Chip Kelly’s seat gets a little warmer.

Prediction: Washington State Cougars -19

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While Washington State was limited to 31 points by Houston in their last contest, that game did come on the road. This one is at home and it’s against a UCLA team that has struggled to have much in the way of success at stopping the opposition. The Bruins were bombed at home by Oklahoma last week and now have to face another team that plays a similar offensive scheme. Gordon has sliced and diced the opposition to this point of the season and we’ve seen UCLA get blasted repeatedly. Can the Bruins find a way to pull an upset on the road?

The under is 4-1 in the Bruins’ last 5 road games, 4-1 in their last 5 games following an ATS loss, 5-2 in their last 7 games in September and 10-4-1 in their last 15 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. Washington State has seen the under go 4-0 in their last 4 games after accumulating less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game, 5-1 in their last 6 games following an ATS loss and 4-1 in their last five overall. The Cougars get their share of points but the Bruins are held in check, keeping this one shortly under the number.

Prediction: Under 56
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.