Matchups: UCLA

QB

Advantage: UCLA

Redshirt junior Brett Hundley has the kind of athleticism that has ruined the Texas front seven, but his 396-yard and three touchdown passing performance against Memphis last week showed the dual-threat ability that makes him a Heisman candidate.  

Sophomore Tyrone Swoopes did as well as expected with the vanilla game plan that his coaches drew up last week, but his deep passes were inaccurate, and his athleticism was not a factor until the game was out of hand.

RB

Advantage: UCLA

Redshirt sophomore Paul Perkins has put together a solid first two games for the Bruins — averaging 4.6 yards per carry — but he has not yet faced a top-tier defense, and his backups have struggled.

Junior Johnathan Gray and senior Malcolm Brown only averaged 2.7 yards per carry against BYU, but a weak offensive line should take some blame for that. So far this season, neither back has been a factor in the passing game. 

WR

Advantage: UCLA

A strong receiving corps allows Hundley to spread the ball around. Junior Jordan Payton and sophomore Thomas Duarte both had 100-yard games last week, and junior Devin Fuller added
nine catches.

A head injury may keep senior Jaxon Shipley out against the Bruins. Redshirt senior John Harris led the team in receiving for a second straight week, but junior Marcus Johnson has yet to make any impact on offense.

OL

Advantage: Texas 

The Longhorn offensive line will again be without tackles junior Kennedy Estelle and senior Desmond Harrison, both of whom were recently suspended. Texas struggled to run last week, but this unit tops UCLA’s on the basis that the pass protection has been decent through two games.

The UCLA offensive line has allowed nine sacks in two games, and Bruin runners are averaging a scant 3.3 yards per carry. Redshirt junior center Jake Brendel returned to the team last week, but he cannot compensate for the lack of experience around him.

DL

Advantage: Texas

Senior Cedric Reed and Co. put constant pressure on BYU junior quarterback Taysom Hill last week, but they need to focus on containing the quarterback. If the ends get up the field too quickly, Hundley will step up and hurt the team with his legs.

UCLA’s defensive line, led by sophomore Eddie Vanderdoes, dominated in its first game against Virginia but has recorded only one sack this season.

LB

Advantage: UCLA

Sophomore Myles Jack and redshirt senior Eric Kendricks return to what should be one of the best linebacking corps in the Pac-12. It shut down Virginia’s offensive attack but allowed 164 rushing yards
to Memphis.

The linebackers fell apart against BYU. Ball carriers burst through to the secondary at will, and outside linebackers Jordan Hicks and Peter Jinkens struggled to seal off the perimeter. It is hard to imagine them improving against better competition this week.

DB

Advantage: Texas

The secondary has been the Longhorns’ strongest defensive unit. Senior Quandre Diggs grabbed an interception in the end zone last week, and the team has only allowed 196 passing yards all season.

Apart from two interceptions against Virginia, UCLA’s veteran secondary has struggled through the first two games of the season. The Bruins will be further weakened if junior cornerback Randall Goforth misses this weekend’s game due to a shoulder injury. 

ST

Advantage: UCLA

Placekicker Ka’imi Fairbairn has struggled early on for the Bruins. The junior missed one extra point and his only field goal try. Junior returner Ishmael Adams has been solid in the return game, averaging 11.5 yards per return on punts. 

Texas’ special teams have been disastrous through two weeks. Junior placekicker Nick Rose is 1-for-3 on field goal attempts, and Marcus Johnson made several poor decisions against BYU.