Defense certainly hasn’t been the name of the game for either UCLA or Arizona State in 2017.
As the Associated Press notes, the Bruins are on pace to become the first team in 15 years to set a pretty disappointing mark, while the Sun Devils haven’t fared much better.
UCLA (4-5, 2-4 Pac-12) is on track to become the first Power 5 team since Northwestern in 2002 to allow more than 300 yards rushing per game for an entire season. Arizona State (5-4, 4-2) has allowed 30 points or more in seven games, and the task gets no easier for either defense this week.
UCLA head coach Jim Mora points to his team’s tackling as the primary source of concern.
“We haven’t tackled well enough on the back end to prevent so many of those long gains,” Mora said. “It’s those explosive runs that have made our yards per game and yards per attempt just look so incredibly bad. We’ve given up so many — and I’m not talking about 15-yard runs, I’m talking about really long runs.”
With Josh Rosen expected to return to the Bruins’ lineup, Arizona State defensive coordinator Phil Bennett may dial up the blitzes.
“If you give him a bunch of time and he’s free and throwing, you can get in trouble,” Bennett said.
UCLA-Arizona State kicks off at 6:30 p.m. PT.
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