2015 UCLA Bruins Football Preview

Team Info
UCLA Bruins
Head Coach: Jim Mora, Jr.
2014 record: 10-3 overall, 6-3 Pac 12 South
2014 Postseason results: Beat Kansas State 40-35 in the Alamo Bowl
2015 returning starters: 9 offense, 8 defense

Betting Info
Odds to win 2016 College Football  Championship game: 33/1
Odds to win 2015 Pac 12 Championship Game: 5/1
Odds to Win 2015 Pac 12 South Division: 3/1
Regular season wins: under 9 -140 / over 9 +110
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UCLA looks to compete for the Pac 12 title in 2015.
UCLA looks to compete for the Pac 12 title in 2015.

Last year, UCLA entered the final game of the season against Stanford needing only a win to clinch the Pac 12 South Division. The Bruins were blown out 31-10 in that game and UCLA had to settle for a berth in the Alamo Bowl. UCLA ended the season on a positive note with a 40-35 win over Kansas State to improve to 10-3 on the season.

This year 17 starters are back for coach Jim Mora. The Bruins should contend for the Pac 12 title again in 2015. Here is a deeper look at the Bruins.


Last year, the Bruins averaged 468 yards per game and 34 points on offense. UCLA was #43 or better in all offensive categories nationally. Nine starters are back on offense for coordinator Noel Mazzone.

The Bruins do have to replace quarterback Brett Hundley, who is now with the Green Bay Packers. Hundley threw for 3,155 yards with 22 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, and rushed for 644 yards and 10 touchdowns. Freshman Josh Rosen was one of the most highly touted recruits at quarterback and should be the starter. He ran the same offense in high school. There will be a perfunctory competition between Rosen and last year’s back-up Jerry Neuheisel but really barring injury the job is Rosen’s. Asiantii Woulard was also supposed to be in the mix but he transferred to South Florida.

Paul Perkins led the Pac 12 in rushing last year and is back for the Bruins. He had 251 carries for 1,575 yards and 9 touchdowns, and also had 26 catches for 201 yards and 2 touchdowns. Look for Nate Starks to get most of the back-up carries after rushing for 141 yards and 2 touchdowns last year. Linebacker Myles Jack had three rushing touchdowns last year and could get some short yardage carries again in 2015.

Six of the top seven receivers are back for the Bruins. Jordan Payton had 67 catches for 954 yards and 7 touchdowns. Tight end Thomas Duarte had 28 catches for 540 yards and 4 touchdowns. Devin Fuller had 59 catches for 447 yards and a touchdown. Eldridge Massington had 25 catches for 367 yards and 3 touchdowns. Mossi Johnson had 23 catches for 232 yards and a touchdown.

All five starters are back on the offensive line. However, they did allow 40 sacks last season and need to improve in that aspect if the Bruins want to take the next step.

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The UCLA defense struggled on pass defense last year and were ranked #96 nationally out of 128 teams. Overall, the Bruins gave up just under 400 yards per game and 28 points on defense. Eight starters are back for coordinator Tom Bradley.

Junior tackles Eddie Vanderdoes and Kenny Clark are back on the defensive line. However, the biggest star might be end Takkarist McKinley who had a strong finish to last season.

The linebackers might be the strength of the unit. Jack moves to the inside and headlines the unit. Deon Hollins had 9 sacks last season.

The secondary is a question mark after struggling last season. Four players with starting experience do return. Safety Jaleel Wadood is a rising star with NFL potential.

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Special Teams

Kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn has struggled at times in his career but made 13 of his last 14 field goals last season. He looks to be more consistent in 2015. Punter Matt Mengel had the same consistency issues. Ishmael Adams will return both kicks and punts for the second straight season. He averaged 9.2 yards per punt return and 22.7 yards per kick return with a touchdown.


UCLA hosts Virginia before traveling to UNLV. The Bruins close out the non-conference schedule at home against BYU. UCLA opens conference play at Arizona. October brings home games against Arizona State, California and Colorado and a road game against Stanford. In November, the Bruins have road games at Oregon State, Utah, and USC, plus a home game against Washington State.


If Rosen doesn’t go through too many growing pains, then the offense will still be explosive. The defense is a question but could be better than last season. The schedule is tough but manageable. I think the Bruins win 9 games this season. I think they go to a mid-tier bowl like the Alamo or Holiday Bowl.

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