UCLA football wants to kick off its season the same way did last year – facing off against the Cincinnati Bearcats. After losing 26-17 last year at the Rose Bowl, the Bruins will travel to Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati on August 29 with a chance to turn the tables. Standing in their way is a run-heavy offense and one of the nation's top defenses from last season. Bruin staff writer Jack Perez.
Base formations : Spread, pistol
Run-pass percentage (2018) : 61.6% run , 40.44% pass
Strength : Running backs
Weakness : Passing
X-factor : RB Michael Warren II
The Bearcats rushed for 239.5 yards per game last season 1
Luke Fickell moved away from the open playstyle. Warren wants to be backfield once again for Cincinnati.
Warren wants to be backfield again for Cincinnati. He rushed for 142 yards and three touchdowns on 35 bears against the Bruins and finished the 2018 season with 1,329 yards in 12 games.
Warren is not the only weapon the Bearcats have in the backfield. Running backs Tavion Thomas and Charles McClelland each rushed for over 400 yards and could have gone to warren.
While Cincinnati wants undoubtedly lean on his running game, quarterback Desmond Ridder wants to take the reigns for the second year in a row. 315 passes – an average of about 24 per game.
Ridder struggled in the biggest games in his first season as the Bearcats' primary quarterback. He completed less than 50% of his passes at Temple and UCF, en route to Cincinnati's only two losses of the season.
However, Ridder is effective with his legs, racking up 583 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. He also protected the ball in the last six months of the season, only throwing five interceptions to his passing touchdowns
If the Bruins stuff the Bearcats' running game early and force Ridder to convert long third downs, Cincinnati may struggle to stay on the field. Cincinnati's defense
Base defense : 4-3 (can shift to 4-2-5)
Blitz tendency : Medium
Strength : Coaching
Weakness : Loss of stars
X-factor : Defensive line 19659018] The Bearcats gave the 11th fewest yards per game in 2018.
Cincinnati's defense was one of the best in the nation , better than top-ranked teams search as Alabama and Georgia. This is not Fickell's replacement, who led Ohio State's defense to multiple top-five total defense as the Buckeye's defensive coordinator from 2005-2016.
Fickell and defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman regularly employ a 4-3 defense but have been known to shift around based on their opponent. UCLA quarterbacks five times and had eight tackles for loss.
Although they created lots of pressure last season, the Bearcats lost two of their top three sackers from 2018 – Cortez Broughton and Kimoni Fitz – and want to find enough new playmakers to make the difference.
Cincinnati was 13th in rushing yards against a game last season but was vulnerable at times to speedy backs that were ready to break through the defensive front. If the Bruins 'running backs, especially sophomore Kazmeir Allen – who had a 74-yard touchdown last year against the Bearcats – are able to explode the new defenders' inexperience, they can run rampant in Ohio.
Fickell will probably send more bodies early on to try to make a difference in the quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and make up for the loss of star power on the defense.