The UCLA Bruins had their best season on the college football gridiron since 2005 when they went 10-2. With Jim Mora as the new head coach in 2012, the team went 9-5 with an appearance and loss in the Holiday Bowl. The offense was pretty potent while the defense was mediocre — like it has been for the past three years.
On the other side of the field, the Nevada Wolf Pack finished the 2012 season as one of the top offensive teams in the nation while finishing in the lower tier of things when it came to defense. Finishing slightly over .500 at 7-6, the Wolf Pack were a dangerous offensive threat, but they had to outscore opponents in order to even have a chance. However, there is a new head coach in charge in Brian Polian who is taking over for the legendary Chris Ault.
UCLA has seven returning starters on the offensive side of things led by quarterback sensation and dual-threat Brett Hundley. He passed for nearly 4,000 yards and 29 touchdowns last season while completing nearly 67 percent of his passes. Losing running back Johnathan Franklin will hurt the run game while returning top wide out Shaquelle Evans will help bolster the pass game.
Nevada is returning star quarterback Cody Fajardo who is the team’s lead returning rusher as well. He accumulated nearly 4,000 yards of total offense in 2012 and became one of the best dual-threats in the nation. However, losing Sefphon Jefferson, who ranked second nationally in rush yards in 2012, will hurt the offense a bit.
Nevada’s defense was pathetic last season and doesn’t look to be much improved, especially with just five returning starters. UCLA’s defense allowed over 415 yards of total offense per game last season while also allowing 27.6 points per game. This is likely to be quite a shootout in Los Angeles.
As I said before, Nevada will be traveling to UCLA to take on the Bruins at 10 p.m. EST on Saturday, Aug. 31. The game will be broadcasted on the Pac-12 Network.
PREDICTION: Nevada 31, UCLA 41
Related: Nevada-UCLA Preview