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Arizona vs. UCLA preview: Wildcats look to control destiny in Pac-12 South

Arizona beating UCLA on Saturday could give the 'Cats full control over their fate in the South division.


The stakes are going to be high in Los Angeles this weekend as the Arizona Wildcats take on the UCLA Bruins.

If the Wildcats can pull off the road win -- and the USC Trojans fall to Oregon -- they control their destiny in the Pac-12 South. UA would likely have to go undefeated the rest of the way, although they would be the favorites over Colorado and ASU at home, as well as when they travel to Utah.

All of this hinges on a win this Saturday afternoon, though.

The Bruins can play. They are riding high after picking up a big 47-45 win over Arizona State, and a victory this weekend could move them into first place in the South.

Similar to the Wildcats, UCLA features a high-flying offensive attack and suspect defense. They're scoring a little more than 33 points a game, but they've also surrendered an average of 25 points a game to a pretty weak schedule of competition.

The Bruins' star is senior tailback Johnathan Franklin. He ranks amongst the best in the nation with 1,042 rushing yards and six scores, and he averages 6.7 yards per carry. Look for Franklin to have a huge day against Arizona's front-six.

Freshman quarterback Brett Hundley, who hails from Chandler, Ariz., has been a pleasant surprise for UCLA. He's been a bit prone to rookie mistakes on occasion, although his numbers are solid regardless. Hundley has thrown for 2,190 yards, 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions, and he's done so while completing 66 percent of his passes.

Like UA quarterback Matt Scott, Hundley is not afraid to tuck the ball and run; he's taken off for 93 times for 267 yards and five scores.

Eight players have more than 10 receptions for the Bruins this season. Shaquelle Evans leads the team with 33 receptions and 488 yards, and senior tight end Joseph Fauria has the team lead with six touchdown catches.

Key To The Game: The turnover battle

Arizona beat USC last weekend because they forced five turnovers and only gave the ball away once. If the Wildcats hope to win at the Rose Bowl, they'll need to duplicate that success.

Thinking the Bruins will turn the ball over five times is unrealistic, but if UA is able to come up with a couple of big takeaways in the red zone like they did last weekend, it's tough to not like their chances.

Final thoughts and prediction:

Arizona has played in high-scoring, closely-contested games all season. Why should Saturday night be any different? It's hard to not love the way the offense is clicking right now, and all signs point to Matt Scott being healthy and ready to go. I expect the game to be close throughout, and in the end it's the Wildcats' offense that strikes last to win 41-35.