UCLA Bruins vs. Washington Huskies College Football Week 7 storylines to watch

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UCLA football (4-2, 2-1 Pac-12) is set to kick off its Week 6 game against Washington (2-3, 1-1) on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

The Bruins have split their last four games after starting 2-0, winning road clashes with Stanford and Arizona while losing at home to Fresno State and Arizona State. The Huskies are coming off a pass after recently losing to Oregon State and defeating Cal in overtime, but their early-season losses to Montana and Michigan set them far behind to start the year .

Heading into the Week 7 game, here are the most pressing questions we want answered before the final whistle.

Will the Bruins be able to throw the ball?

The Bruins were likely to enter the race regardless of the weather on Saturday night, but the risk of rain and wind could strain their hand regardless.

We here at All Bruins are certainly not meteorologists. The odds of rain hitting Seattle on Saturday night have dropped from 30% to 60% and are down to 50%, with a storm likely to sweep away towards the end of the game, if at all.

If it does end up raining, it will be interesting to see how UCLA handles that in regards to their play call. Washington has already played a game in the rain against Arkansas State, in which they played. passed the ball 44 times, so it’s clear the Huskies are used to those kinds of conditions.

The Bruins have yet to play a game in the rain this season, and indeed in their four seasons under coach Chip Kelly. For as many wet ball exercises they may have had in practice this week, it remains to be seen how effective they could be in getting them ready for Saturday.

Ball safety is one thing, but running backs Zach Charbonnet and Brittain Brown have done at least a solid job holding the ball so far this season. The biggest concern with the rain will be the passing play and the offensive line play that goes with it.

Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson was already struggling with accuracy in the dry Tucson last weekend, so it’s not crazy to assume things are going to take an even worse turn in the Seattle rain. And if he lines up in the shotgun – whether it’s for an area read with a running back or just normal passing play – what are the odds of center Duke Clemens throwing one over his head for the third game in a row.

There’s a lot at stake on Saturday for the Bruins, and much of it could be in the hands of Mother Nature.

Which ball carrier will stand out?

Once again, the Bruins are going to run the ball a lot on Saturday.

And when they run it a lot, as they have done every time this season, Brittain Brown or Zach Charbonnet have had a big day.

It’s hard to predict which will have the best statistical performance from week to week, simply based on their interchangeability and how staff like to use them. We asked Coach Chip Kelly this week what the differences were between the two, and he danced around the question and came back to congratulate them on their similarity.

This is arguably the biggest advantage of having two big, physical, angry full-backs who are surprisingly versatile – defenses won’t be able to predict the play call based solely on which running back is standing. found in the group, a problem encountered by UCLA. with the Joshua Kelley-Demetric Felton duo and the Felton-Brown duo in recent years.

Still, they’re used differently in many games, and there must be some crazy method that Kelly and running backs coach DeShaun Foster are cooking up every week. It’s hard to draw any conclusions based on the few models that have come out of use this year, but it’s interesting to see one being used as a short distance guy and the other being used as a change of pace. revolutionary. , only so that these roles are reversed the following week.

Either way, Brown or Charbonnet, or maybe both, are going to post big stats on Saturday. Charbonnet stood out early on, but Brown took center stage against Arizona.

It’s not about whether they will succeed, but who is leading the charge and how much they dominate.

Can UCLA take advantage of a struggling quarterback?

Dylan Morris is barely in the nation’s top 100 for the passer rankings this season.

That’s a far cry from the Jayden Daniels and Jake Haeners of the world, who both have passer ratings above 150 over Morris’s 123.9, and both have also beaten the Bruins. UCLA could absorb the strong statistical performances of LSU’s Max Johnson and Stanford’s Tanner McKee, but neither had the kind of efficient and precise performance of the two star flaggers who took them down.

Morris was doing fine last year, but has slowed down considerably in 2021.

His adjusted yards per attempt, completion percentage and passer rating have all come down from his first season. Morris passes for more yards per game, although this is based more on a Huskies staff first pass approach that Morris plays better.

The runner-up opened his season with zero touchdowns and three picks against FCS Montana, and while he hasn’t been that bad since, it’s not like he’s been a game-breaker either. Another multi-steal game against Arkansas State shows just how sloppy he has been, and these two performances alone show how low Morris’s floor is.

It’s very rare that a quarterback facing a Jerry Azzinaro defense has been forced to their court, and it can be overly optimistic to expect Morris to be one of the few. Still, with perhaps bad conditions, a shaky offensive line, and Morris’s tendency to force bad balls, this may be the week UCLA meets a quarterback they can make the most of.

Are the Bruins ready for the glove?

The Huskies shouldn’t be overstated, but they still stand out as the start of a milestone in the Bruins’ calendar this year.

Back in the preseason, everyone following this UCLA team focused on Weeks 7, 8 and 9 – a road game against Washington, a home game against Oregon and a game on the road against Utah. All three teams were seeded in the preseason, and while they may not have the same luster as they did in early September, it will still be a watershed for the Bruins.

As much as Kelly likes to dismiss the idea of ​​match-to-match momentum, starting this run off on the right foot is integral to the team’s chances in the conference race and its long-term job security.

A loss to start all of this could prove disastrous and lead to an avalanche of missed opportunities for UCLA. If they can’t beat an under-.500 Washington team, what chance do they really have against an Oregon top 10 team or a Utah team that still hasn’t lost a conference game? .

This matchup with the Huskies is the only game in this three-game stretch that the Bruins have the best chance of winning on paper. In order to reach the eight-game winning mark, many have circled for Kelly to stay at Westwood for another year, UCLA cannot lose any winnable games. If they do, it means they have to make up for those losses with wins against superior teams.

As a veteran team, the Bruins should win the games they are favorites in, and maybe pull off an upset or two along the way. Washington are a pretty decent team, and UCLA needs to capitalize and stay alive, otherwise the season could be lost and the search for a new coach could be on the horizon.

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