Washington hasn’t defeated UCLA at the Rose Bowl since 1995.
There is a pretty good chance the No. 10 Huskies can change that dubious factoid on Saturday.
UCLA is struggling under first-year coach Chip Kelly and is dealing with its first 0-4 start since 1971 as it prepares to entertain Washington (4-1, 2-0) in Pac-12 play.
While the Bruins (0-1 Pac-12) attempt to get acquainted with Kelly’s methods, Huskies coach Chris Petersen isn’t interested in anything but considering UCLA a dangerous opponent.
“I think they’re improving, is what I think,” Petersen said during a press conference. “We all get how hard it is to be new, to be a new staff, putting in your system and how you do everything.
“… You can see them improving. They’re playing a lot of young guys. Each week they’re getting a little bit better.”
Losing as a college head coach is new territory for Kelly. He went 46-7 in four years at Oregon (2009-12) in his first fling in the Pac-12.
Entering October without a victory wasn’t part of the plan — not with Cincinnati and Fresno State on the nonconference schedule — but is now Kelly’s reality.
“It’s a little bit of everything,” Kelly said of the winless record on the Pac-12 coaches teleconference. “We’re not into excuses. … We have to get better. We have to stay away from self-inflicting wounds — the penalties and things that hurt us from executing. We need to be better in our communication. There are a lot of things.”
The Bruins have been outscored 151-68 in their four games as they try to upset a Washington team that has outscored its five opponents, 144-58.
Huskies senior quarterback Jake Browning is coming off a stellar 23-for-25 passing performance against BYU — he had 277 yards and one touchdown in the 35-7 win — while establishing the school mark for career passing yards with 10,347. Browning passed Cody Pickett, who had 10,220 from 1999-2003.
Browning also became the sixth player in Pac-12 history to account for 100 career touchdowns (86 passing, 14 rushing).
“My whole thing with records from now going forward,” Browning told reporters, “is I hope some other Washington quarterback comes along and breaks them.”
Petersen feels Browning isn’t receiving enough credit from outsiders.
“The quarterback position is seldom ever going to be deemed good enough for anybody, but Jake’s plenty good enough for us,” Petersen said. “He knows it, and he’s been spectacular since he’s been here.”
Junior receiver Aaron Fuller topped 100 yards for the third time this season by catching eight passes for 107 yards against BYU. He leads the Huskies with 30 receptions for 474 yards.
UCLA’s passing attack has struggled with freshman quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson completing just 52.7 percent of his passes for 660 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Senior Wilton Speight is recovered from a back injury but Kelly hasn’t tipped his hand over whether or not there will be a change. Speight, a Michigan transfer, started the opener before getting hurt.
Still, Kelly said he is impressed by what he’s seen of Thompson-Robinson.
“He doesn’t get flustered out there,” Kelly said. “Sometimes the moment can get too big for younger kids, they kind of get overwhelmed. He’s never once been overwhelmed by the moment and so you love coaching him because of his approach to everything. He wants to get better every day, he wants to win.”
The Bruins have won 13 of the past 17 meetings but Washington posted a 44-23 victory last year.