If UCLA wants to finally back up all that preseason hype, today’s the day. The Bruins have a primetime 5 p.m. PT kickoff against Texas on FOX, and a strong de facto road win at AT&T Stadium will assuage some of the concerns about their uneven performance through two games.
Here’s how the teams stack up.
UCLA offense vs. Texas defense:
Charlie Strong is a former defensive coordinator who has a lot of experience working specifically with the line, so the fact that the Longhorns’ have size and depth up front fits well into his coaching philosophy.
Junior defensive tackle Malcom Brown stands at 6-foot-2, 320 pounds, and leads the team with 2.5 sacks and five tackles for loss. Senior defensive end Cedric Reed (6-5, 272) has started the season more quietly, but was a first-team All-Big-12 selection who racked up 10 sacks, 19 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles a year ago. Starting defensive end Shiro Jackson, starting defensive tackle Desmond Jackson and reserve tackle Hassan Ridgeway have combined for 3.5 sacks and five tackles for loss through two games.
Linebackers Steve Edmond and Jordan Hicks are also threats, and have combined for 41 tackles — including five for loss.
So this game might prove a tougher night for Paul Perkins, who is coming off career highs of 23 carries, 98 yards and two touchdowns. Continue reading