PASADENA, Calif. - UCLA will try to avoid an 0-3 start for the first time since 1971 when it hosts Fresno State at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night. The Bruins lost to Cincinnati at home in the season opener and fell to No. 5 Oklahoma on the road, and next the Bruins will face a balanced Fresno State team that's predicted to win the Mountain West Conference West division.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1. LINE: UCLA -1.5
UCLA coach Chip Kelly is not only looking for his first win at the school, but was still undecided on a starting quarterback earlier in the week. Wilton Speight started the season opener against Cincinnati, but the graduate transfer from Michigan left in the second quarter with a back injury and then missed the blowout loss to Oklahoma. Dorian Thompson-Robinson replaced Speight and the freshman has performed well, but Kelly is desperate for a win and an experienced quarterback might be better suited against the Bulldogs, who were a slight underdog against the Bruins early in the week. Fresno State quarterback Marcus McMaryion played his first two seasons at Oregon State and nearly beat UCLA at the Rose Bowl during the 2016 season, but a late pick-6 ended those hopes.
ABOUT FRESNO STATE (1-1)
If the Bulldogs are to win their third straight game against UCLA, they'll need to move the chains with their ground game, led by running backs Josh Hokit, Jordan Mims and Dejonte O'Neal. Mims has received the most carries (19) so far but O'Neal has been the most effective, totaling 67 yards on 10 carries, and his small size (5-7, 175) allows him to hide behind his offensive line before breaking into the open field. Hokit is a much bigger back at 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds and the former California state wrestling champion compliments Mims and O'Neal with his power style.
ABOUT UCLA (0-2)
The top receiver for the Bruins so far has been junior tight end Caleb Wilson, who got off to an even hotter start last season before a broken foot in the fifth game ended his season. Wilson, who had 18 catches through the first two games last season, has four in each of the first two games this month, including a career-long 65-yard grab in the first quarter against Oklahoma. Wilson's presence in the middle should open up some room on the outside for Theo Howard, who has caught at least one pass in 18 straight games dating to last season.
1. Fresno State WR KeeSean Johnson leads the nation with at least one catch in 38 straight games.
2. The Bulldogs lead the nation with eight takeaways.
3. Kelly's record over the past 20 games, which includes 18 games in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers, is 2-18.
PREDICTION: Fresno State 27, UCLA 24
More college football scores
Copyright 2018 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit - All rights reserved.