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How the Bruins and Dawgs match up
Dawgs have statistical edge
By: Malamute, Posted 2 October 2003

DT Rodney Leisle must sit out the first half of the game

Washington (3-1, 1-0) faces UCLA (2-2, 0-0) this Saturday in a key Pac-10 clash. To have a decent shot at the Rose Bowl, the UW must post a win in one of its next two difficult road games, either the one this week at Pasadena or the one at Corvallis on October 18.

Two road wins would be copasetic with Gilby and put the Huskies in good stead for the home game with USC on October 25.

The Bruins need to get off the snide, having lost two OOC games, and post a win in its first conference test.

UCLA has won five of the last six games against Washington and leads the overall series 32-28-2.

This season, the Dawgs lead the Bruins in 13 of 20 statistical categories (see Table 1 below). According to our stats, the Dawgs have an average ranking of 4.45, while the Blue trail with a 6.3, as both compare with other Pac-10 teams.

For whatever it means in those 20 categories, WSU carries a 3.8, USC a  5.15, and Arizona, rounding out the bottom, an 8.45 average place per category.

Before they played last season, in a game that UCLA won, UCLA had a statistical edge over the UW, besting the Dawgs in 12 of our 20 categories. After the game, the UW ended up with a dominant statistical advantage, posting 31 first downs to the Bruins 13, while out-gaining them in total yards 498 to 316. However, two key statistics from that game stand out. The Bruins had the better of it rushing (127 to 69 yards) and intercepted QB Cody Pickett 4 times, which led to 17 of their points.

The 34-24 final score is a significant one--sigh, just another omen--in recent Husky history. The Huskies beat Purdue 34-24 in the 2001 Rose Bowl and lost to the Boilermakers 34-24 in the 2003 Sun Bowl. Although Husky fans believe turnabout is fair play, they will gladly settle for a win, regardless of the score, if October's fickle Devil winds (Santanas) should blow them favor.

Bolting to a 24-14 lead at halftime, UCLA was content to sit on its lead in the second half and rely on its pass defense, which put a strong pass rush on Pickett and blanketed Husky receivers. Forced out of the pocket on numerous occasions, Pickett made some ill-advised throws into coverage. Not being able to run the ball effectively in the early going, when it meant so much, was the Huskies' ultimate undoing.

UCLA TE, Marcedes Lewis

UCLA did just enough to win, as they were playing with true freshman quarterback Drew Olson, who will start for UCLA on Saturday. UCLA was able to run the ball effectively in the first half, which took the pressure off Olson.

When he was forced to throw, Olson benefited from outstanding pass blocking and was able to throw on rhythm for most of the game, something that Pickett was not able to do.

The UW hopes to reverse Seattle's milieu, move it to Pasadena, and put pressure on Olson, who is trying to master the complexities of the West Coast Offense under new offensive coordinator Steve Axman. TB Rich Alexis, averaging 85.5 yards running the ball per game, gives the Bruins' front four--which will sorely miss DT Rodney Leisle in the first half--a rabid Dawg to worry about. Due to the option, the Huskies' ground attack is more dynamic than last season, presenting a challenge to a Bruins' defense that ranks first in the Pac-10. The Bruins' defense was ranked number one in the conference going into the game with the Dawgs last season. 

Leisle must sit out the first half because of a mandatory suspension incurred for punching a San Diego State player last week in retaliation for a punch thrown at him. Asked about the impact of the suspension, Coach Keith Gilbertson replied, "Hopefully, he punched the guy twice...he really dominated us two years ago...but they have some excellent backups."

"How many people do you know who bite through chains," asks Leisle (6-foot-3, 290), in reference to the skull biting through a chain tattooed on his massive left biceps.

The Huskies, but a skeleton of yore, are eager to bite through the chains that shackled them to a 4-4 finish in the Pac-10 last season.

Pick: The winds from the east will be howling for the Huskies, 34-24

 Table 1. How they stand in the Pac-10

Category UW Pac UCLA Pac
1. BALL CONTROL        
Time of Possession 31:39 4th 28:36 7th
Rushing Offense 149.5 3rd 85.0 10th
Passing Offense 263.0 5th 175.2 8th
Rushing Defense 119.0 8th 96.5 6th
Passing Defense 161.8 1st 181.5 2nd
Pass Efficiency Defense 96.3 1st 103.6 5th
Pass Efficiency Offense 131.9 4th 105.8 8th
Total Offense 412.5 4th 260.2 9th
Total Defense 280.8 2nd 278.0 1st
3. MISTAKES        
Penalties 65.2 3rd 79.2 6th
Turnover Margin (all games) +0.0 5th .25 4th
Kickoff Returns 16.9 10th 26.2 3rd
Punt Returns 10.3 4th 7.9 6th
Punting (Net Per Punt) 37.0 6th 33.7 10th
Kickoff Coverage 17.3 2nd 21.1 7th
Field Goals 75% 4th 83% 2nd
Red Zone Offense 68.8% 8th 70% 7th
Red Zone Defense 90.9% 10th 88.9% 9th
Points For 30.0 5th 16.0 10th
Points Against 18.0 4th 22.0 6th
Average Finish in the Pac-10   4.45   6.3



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