If we’re being honest, there hasn’t been a lot from UCLA’s offense through the first two weeks of the season to make Oklahoma fans uneasy. The Bruins rank 120th nationally in scoring (14 PPG), 102nd in passing offense (177.5 YPG) and 126th in rushing (62 YPG).
If we’re being honest, we haven’t seen enough from Oklahoma’s new Speed Defense to feel comfortable yet. The Sooners currently rank 58th nationally in points allowed, which is a vast improvement, but in the back of everyone’s mind is the fact that some of the defensive stats have been built off dominating FCS opponent South Dakota.
While there’s plenty of enthusiasm surrounding the revamped defense, you can expect that to get even more amped-up should they produced another positive performance in their Power 5 debut.
Here are three keys to look for from Oklahoma’s defense on Saturday evening.
Win The Line Of Scrimmage
Anytime you have a struggling offense the first place you want to look is along the line. The struggle has been real for the Bruins up front this season. Last season quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson was sacked a total of 19 times in 194 passing attempts (1 sack for every 13.8 attempts). Through two games this season he’s been sacked 5 times on 61 attempts (1 sack for every 12.1 attempts).
We’ve talked about the need for the defensive line to be a disruptive force for the opposing offense and Saturday night will provide a great opportunity for them to do just that.
Stop The Run
If you want to bring pressure on a quarterback then you need to place him in obvious passing situations. The way that’s done is by taking away the rushing attack.
The Bruins are currently averaging just 1.8 yards per rush attempt so this shouldn’t be a tall task for Oklahoma defenders. The Sooners are currently averaging 160 rushing yards allowed per game, with Houston topping out at 241 yards, and two scores, on 42 carries.
If the end of the day stats look closer to UCLA’s averages than Oklahoma’s then it will have been a good day for the Sooner defense.
Keep Tabs On Demetric Felton
Listed as a 5-9/185 receiver, Felton leads UCLA in both rushing and receiving yards. Averaging 3.0 yards per carry, he’s gone for 99 yards on 33 carries. He’s also averaging 14.1 yards per reception with 127 yards on 9 catches.
If there were a player equal to, or greater than, Thompson-Robinson in value to the UCLA offense then it’s Felton. He’ll be a tough matchup coming out of the backfield and an absolute must cover when lined up wide. He’s the one player on the UCLA offense that will attract the attention of Oklahoma’s safeties, corners, and linebackers.
As bad as UCLA has been on offense, this could end up being the strongest test Brendan Radley-Hiles has faced to this point of the season.
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