UCLA Bruins (1-0) ATS 1-0, O/U 0-1 vs. Tennessee Volunteers (1-0) ATS 1-0, O/U 1-0 Saturday September 12, 2009 Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tennessee 4:00 p.m. EST
By Wilson of Predictem.com
Point Spread: UCLA +8/Tennessee -8
UCLAs QB Kevin Prince, who earned the spot over last years starter Kevin Craft, managed to help his team overcome an early blitz from San Diego State and secure the 33-14 win in Pasadena. Prince is just the second freshman to start at QB on opening day for the Bruins. He threw for 176 yards on 18 of 29 and a touchdown. Prince did toss two interceptions as well.
The Bruins defense was shaken a bit in the beginning of the game as they gave up two consecutive TDs to the Aztecs which put them ahead of the Bruins 14-10 after the first quarter. But that would be all the points the Aztecs could muster as they were overcome by the Bruins on both sides of the ball from the second quarter on.
UCLA scored twice in the second quarter on a 29 yard Derrick Coleman run but the point after was blocked, and a 6 yard TD catch by Terrence Austin from Prince. The rest of the game was all Bruins as they scored 23 unabswered points to close out any hope of an Aztec upset in the Rose Bowl.
The Bruins will not have so easy this week when they travel to Tennessee for another nonleague contest. Last year UCLA upset Tennessee in the opening game of the season at the Rose Bowl. Tennessee will certainly be looking for revenge this Saturday.
The Volunteers of Tennessee had plenty to celebrate about last weekend as they punished the Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky 63-7 in Knoxville. Volunteers new head coach, Lane Kiffin remained focused after his team earned the first win under his watch. Kiffin insisted that his had to play better in the next game. Perhaps Kiffin hid his excitement over getting that first win under his belt but he knows whats waiting for him this Saturday- the UCLA Bruins.
Ok, so the Hilltoppers might not be an equal contender for Tennessee but that still shouldnt take away from the 657 total yards put up by the Volunteers. The numbers in this game were scary if youre a Bruins scout.
Tennessee QB, Jonathan Crompton threw five touchdown passes and collected 233 yards passing on 21 of 28 with two INTs. Crompton was brilliant in his opening game and will need to repeat that effort Saturday when the Bruins come to town.
The Volunteers were hoping to get all aspects of their game going this season as they struggled last year with the run which hampered the pass game as a result. But this season may be different if the O-line can continue to blow open the running lanes and allow the backs to become a threat. If Crompton keeps throwing the ball as crisp as he did Saturday and the running game develops, it should be a fun and rewarding season for the Vols.
The Bruins are no strangers to big football games in harsh environments, but the Vols look solid this year, even if they just mangled a weaker team. The bottom line is the Bruins will know right away where they stand as far as on a national scale come Saturday afternoon. Will Rick Neuheisel have his guys mentally ready for a trip to Knoxville and a game on ESPN? The Bruins are hoping to turn things around after a dismal 4-8 season last year.
This game will be a battle of QBs to some extent. Prince has a 61 percent completion rate while Crompton is hitting 75 percent of his targets.
Wilsons Pick: This is a tough game for me to pick as I think both teams have improved but I have to go with the home team here in Tennessee. Vols 31, Bruins 20. Luck to ya.