UCLA at WSU
Time: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Martin Stadium, Pullman
Records: WSU (2-7, 0-6 in Pac-12); UCLA (7-2, 4-2 Pac-12)
Last week: WSU lost to Utah, 49-6; UCLA defeated Arizona, 66-10
Last time: UCLA defeated WSU in Los Angeles, 28-25, in 2011
The line: UCLA by 14.5
What it means for WSU: As a few Cougars players have said already, they’re playing for pride. The question is how much of that is actually left after a six-game losing streak accentuated by last week’s no-show against Utah. WSU will be without receiver Marquess Wilson, who was suspended for a violation of team rules after reportedly leaving a team workout on Sunday night. Morale around the program appears to be lower than at any point this season, so WSU is aiming to prove it still has some fight left.
What it means for UCLA: The Bruins are riding a high after blasting Arizona last week to take over the Pac-12 South division lead. They’re trying to avoid a letdown from that game, as well as trying to avoid looking ahead to a showdown looming against cross-city rival USC next week. UCLA knows it can really take control of the division with a win in that game, but the Bruins first must dispatch the underdog Cougars.
Key matchup: UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin vs. all 11 WSU defenders.
Mike Leach’s tirade against his team’s lack of effort against Utah on Saturday has been well-documented. And it’s going to take something above and beyond normal effort to slow Franklin, the nation’s fourth-leading rusher. He became UCLA’s career rushing leader last week after a big game against Arizona – 24 carries, 162 yards, two touchdowns – and has rushed for 1,204 yards on 180 carries this season. He’s rushed for 100 or more yards in seven of the Bruins’ nine games this season, and UCLA passes the ball well enough – the Bruins are 11th in the country in total offense – to keep WSU off balance.