UCLA football vs. Cincinnati: Time, TV schedule, game preview, score
Bruins host Bearcats in season opener
PASADENA, Calif. – Chip Kelly will make his debut as coach at UCLA when the Bruins host Cincinnati on Saturday afternoon at the Rose Bowl. Kelly led Oregon to three Pac-12 titles from 2009-12, and then spent four seasons in the NFL (2013-16) as coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: UCLA -15
Kelly has yet to coach at game at UCLA and he's already dealing with serious internal distractions. UCLA announced Monday that running back Soso Jamabo, tight end Devin Asiasi, defensive back Mo Osling, center Boss Tagaloa, and defensive linemen Osa Odighizuwa and Moses Robinson-Carr have been suspended for the season opener for violating unspecified athletic department policies.
Jamabo was the team's second-leading rusher last season (446 yards, six touchdowns), Tagaloa was in the hunt for the starting center spot and Odighizuwa was expected to play a key role on the defensive front. Cincinnati is looking for a fast start coming off back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1998-99, and the Bearcats have their leading passer, rusher and receiver back this season.
ABOUT CINCINNATI (2017: 4-8)
Hayden Moore has been the primary starter at quarterback the past two seasons, and he played eight games for the Bearcats as a freshman in 2015, giving him considerable experience at the position. He didn't improve at the rate many expected last season, however, and could face early challenges from the four other Cincinnati quarterbacks, most notably redshirt freshman Desmond Ridder.
Gerrid Doaks missed the final three games with an ankle injury last season, but still led the Bearcats in rushing as a freshman with 513 yards on 87 carries, and look for the offense to lean on senior wide receiver Kahlil Lewis, who caught a team-high 61 passes for 676 yards and seven touchdowns last season.
ABOUT UCLA (2017: 6-7)
The quarterback position was still murky at UCLA to start the week, and it may take Kelly right up until game day to make a decision on a starter. Wilton Speight started 11 games for Michigan in 2016 and the first four for the Wolverines last season before a fractured vertebrae ended his year.
He has moved on to UCLA as a graduate transfer this season and is competing against freshman Dorian Thompson-Robinson and redshirt sophomore Devon Modster for the starting nod.
1. Kelly's regular-season record as a college head coach is 44-5 and his NFL mark is 28-35.
2. UCLA junior tight end Caleb Wilson caught a school-record 15 passes for 208 yards in last year's season-opening win against Texas A&M.
3. Cincinnati is the only American Athletic Conference team to return its leading passer, rusher and receiver this season.
PREDICTION: UCLA 37, Cincinnati 21
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