LA Bowl Preview: UCLA Bruins vs Boise State Broncos

Credit: Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

The upcoming LA Bowl, featuring the UCLA Bruins and the Boise State Broncos, promises to be an intriguing matchup given the state of UCLA football. Set for December 16 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, this game will air at 4:30 p.m. on ABC.

UCLA Bruins (7-5)

After a strong start, UCLA ended their season with three losses in the last four games, including a 33-7 defeat against California. This downturn left them tied for seventh in the Pac-12 standings.

The Bruins boast the nation’s leading rush defense, allowing just 69.6 yards per game, and the third-best sack rate at 3.42 per game. However, their offensive side has seen instability, with a season-long quarterback shuffle and a red-zone offense ranked last among FBS teams, scoring on only 61.8% of trips inside the 20-yard line. Many Bruins have hit the transfer portal including QB Dante Moore, so they’ll likely start Ethan Garbers, if fully cleared to play.

Furthermore, the recent departure of their defensive coordinator, D’Anton Lynn, to USC could impact their defensive prowess.

In addition, superstar Laiatu Latu has decided recently to skip the bowl game to prepare for the upcoming NFL Draft where he is sure to be a first-round pick.

NCAA Football: Mountain West Football Championship-Boise State at UNLV
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Boise State Broncos (8-5)

Coming off a 44-20 win against UNLV in the Mountain West championship, Boise State possesses the nation’s 28th-ranked offense, including the 10th-best rushing attack at 207.7 yards per game. Their offensive line has been a strong suit, allowing just 1.08 sacks per game, the 12th-best in the country. Boise State had a mid-season coaching change, firing head coach Andy Avalos and promoting interim coach Spencer Danielson, under whom they won their last three games.

Key Players And Stats:

  • UCLA Bruins Quarterbacks: Dante Moore (1610 yards, 11 TD, 9 INT) (transfer portal) and Ethan Garbers (984 yards, 9 TD, 3 INT), (availability post-injury is probable).
  • Boise State Quarterback: Former starting quarterback, Taylen Green (1752 yards, 11 TD, 9 INT), has transferred to Arkansas, so true freshman CJ Tiller is expected to start against UCLA at SoFi Stadium, Boise State head coach Spencer Danielson said Tuesday.
  • UCLA Bruins Team Stats: 25.8 points per game, 250.6 passing yards, 190.9 rushing yards, 18.1 opponent points per game, 251.5 opponent passing yards, 69.6 opponent rushing yards.
  • Boise State Team Stats: Strong offense with top rushers, notable linebacker core, but concerns in the secondary and defensive line following significant player departures.

This game could come down to UCLA’s rush defense against Boise State’s potent running game. Boise State’s recent momentum under their interim coach and UCLA’s defensive struggles, especially in the red zone, could be pivotal. Additionally, UCLA’s recent player departures and coaching staff changes might impact their performance.

This should be an interesting game, especially because UCLA has the “home” advantage with SoFi being so close to UCLA’s campus.

NCAA Football: UCLA at Southern California
Credit: Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports