First look: UCLA vs. Colorado

Isaiah Oliver scored a touchdown on a 68-yard punt return to seal Colorado’s win over UCLA last year. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

UCLA (2-2, 0-1 Pac-12) vs. Colorado (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12)
Saturday, Sept. 30 | 7:30 p.m. PT | Rose Bowl
Radio: AM 1150/AM 570

Scouting report

The Buffaloes stumbled out of the conference gate, getting blown out in the second half of a 37-10 loss to Washington last weekend in their Pac-12 opener.

Despite high expectations for an offense returning a 1,000-yard rusher and talented wide receivers, Colorado is 11th in the Pac-12 in scoring (26.2 points per game) and total offense (413.8 yards per game). Quarterback Steven Montez is coming off one of the worst games of his young career, throwing three interceptions and no touchdowns on 21-for-27 passing. The sophomore is working behind an inconsistent offensive line, though, as Colorado’s 14 sacks allowed are tied for the second-most in the conference.

The defense that lost eight starters, including four NFL Draft picks, is still among the top groups in the Pac-12. Colorado allows the second-fewest points per game (16.0). However, the Buffaloes gave up 27 second-half points to Washington last weekend.

Series history

Colorado notched its first Pac-12 win over UCLA last year as Isaiah Oliver sealed the victory with a 68-yard punt return for a touchdown with 5:27 to go. After leading by three at halftime, the Bruins were shutout in the second half by the eventual Pac-12 South champions. UCLA rushed for 25 yards on 30 carries and produced only three points from four Colorado turnovers.

UCLA owns a 9-3 overall record in the series.

Players to watch

— RB Phillip Lindsay (90 carries, 446 yards, 4 TDs)

Lindsay is third in the Pac-12 in rushing with 111.5 yards per game. The senior rushed for 1,189 yards in 2016, but was limited to just 73 yards on 24 carries last year against the Bruins.

— CB Isaiah Oliver (8 tackles, 2 INTs, 7 PBUs)

The junior cornerback leads the team with two interceptions and held UW receiver Dante Pettis to a season-low three catches last week.

— LB Drew Lewis (35 tackles, 2 TFLs, 3 QBH)

Lewis leads Colorado in tackles and is fourth in the Pac-12. The junior began his career at Washington, but was dismissed for violating team rules as a freshman. He played one year at junior college before joining the Buffaloes last year.

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  • Hardtail Bruin

    All this analysis of Colorado is pointless (although great work Thuc Nhi). For any team struggling, facing adversity, coming off a loss, or whatever, playing the 2017 UCLA football Bruins is the best medicine. I mean, there’s really no way our offense (which really is pretty good) can make up for our defense and the way it is used. So I predict that Colorado will feel good after this game and any analysis should be saved for their next game which. Who knows? But I’m not confident that the Bruins are not in a tail spin that these coaches won’t know how to help them recover from.

  • JustOwns

    It’s 5:22pm Monday, 9/25/2017 and JimmyBall is still UCLA’s Head FB Coach.

    • Trojan 70

      What is it exactly that you own?

      • Jethro G Sabbath

        A sweet 1975 Mustang II

  • WhatsBruin

    Chin-up fellow bruin fan. I think Ucla wins this game and wins the next few until the UW game. The D will make adjustments and the O is good to go. Just gotta keep Rosen healthy and protected.

  • 88 Straight

    Tackling will be important. So will blocking. Add in running and catching the ball.

    • Hogsman

      Hanging onto the ball and not committing silly penalties (I’m not talking about that ludicrous targeting call) will help, too.

      • 88 Straight

        I think both targeting calls were ridiculous. We should have been up 20-6 and choked. Somehow we are favored over CU. Not sure how.

  • jameskatt

    If the defense shows up, UCLA wins.
    That is a huge if.
    And a hope.
    So far, every team has been running down our throats.
    And there was nothing UCLA could do to stop the assault
    other than our offense playing a near perfect game.
    Which they cannot do every single game.

  • Jvbruin

    I hate to admit my new favorite team is anyone playing UCLA because until they lose 50 – 0 nothing will change.