The No. 16 Arizona Wildcats host the No. 9 UCLA Bruins on Saturday in one of the marquee college football matchups of Week 4. Rich Rodriguez is looking for his first win over Jim Mora since both took over their respective programs back in 2012 and will get a major boost ahead of their showdown this week with the news that linebacker Scooby Wright will be returning to the lineup tonight.
Wright was one of the top defenders in college football last season, leading the nation in tackles, tackles for loss, and forced fumbles as he swept the major defensive player of the year awards as a sophomore. His 2015 season, though, got off to a rough start when he suffered a knee injury in the season-opener against the UTSA Roadrunners. He had his knee scoped following the game to repair a lateral meniscus tear and has missed the last two games.
His return comes at a great time for the Wildcats as they open up Pac-12 play against a chief rival for the South Division title and as their depth at middle linebacker has hit a season low. Cody Ippolito has been lost for the season and Haden Gregory is expected to miss two to four weeks after injuring his knee against the Nevada Wolfpack. Redshirt walk-on freshman Tre Tyler was forced into the starting lineup last week against FCS Northern Arizona.
With Wright returning to the mix, Arizona’s linebacker group will get a serious boost and the defense will be at their best when they match up with a strong UCLA offensive attack. Will his return to the starting lineup be the difference for Arizona as the attempt to get their Pac-12 South Division title defense off to a fast start against the Bruins?