So far, the UCLA and Oregon State football seasons have been dismal. The two teams have one lone bright spo..."/> So far, the UCLA and Oregon State football seasons have been dismal. The two teams have one lone bright spo..."/>

UCLA vs. Oregon State: Game Preview


So far, the UCLA and Oregon State football seasons have been dismal. The two teams have one lone bright spot combined – a 27-17 win by the Bruins against San Jose State in the Rose Bowl, which on a “brightness scale” is akin to the crappy tall, colored candles you put on an eight-year-olds birthday cake. That being said, neither team has played a conference game yet, and each team can still have a successful season. For both teams, however, it has to start this weekend.

The Season up until this point…… UCLA

To say the UCLA Bruins have been disappointing thus far would be an understatement. After beating Houston and Texas last year, the Bruins have fallen to both this year, the latter in blowout fashion. Coach Neuheisel continued to play quarterback shuffle (presumably up until this contest), and the decision to do so may have cost his team the season.

– Sidenote on this. It was decided that Prince and Brehaut were going to split time, even though all indications from camp were that Brehaut was better. Then, Prince is injured against Houston. Brehaut throws for 264 yards and 2 touchdowns and makes the game interesting. Then, he leads the Bruins to a win against SJSU (an ugly win, but a win is a win). Then, it is announced that Prince was healthy enough to play against Texas. With all the information I’ve given, you would think that either a) the job is Brehaut’s, or b) they could split again, Brehaut starts, and Prince is on an extremely short leash. Instead, what happens? Prince starts, and Neuheisel doesn’t pull him after his first interception, OR his second, but instead waits for Prince to throw THREE interceptions in the first quarter before putting Brehaut back in. When Neuheisel replaced Prince, it was already 21-0 Texas. Does this make any sense?

What’s really been disappointing so far though is the defense. They gave up 284 rushing yards to Texas, and 49 points, all to a McCoy not named Colt making his first start. They gave up 202 rushing yards against San Jose State. They gave up 38 points against Houston, which on its own may not be terribly bad, but consider this. UCLA scored a touchdown with 2:49 left in the first half to make it 17-14. They had all the momentum. They then let Houston go 66 yards in four plays. Then, after killing 1:21 of clock, UCLA punted, and the defense then let Houston go 64 yards in two plays. The score at half was 31-14. That is unacceptable. Lou Holtz always said the most important part of the game was the last five minutes of the first half and the first five minutes of the second half. Whether this is true or not, it doesn’t take Lou Holtz to realize you can’t give up 14 points in the final two minutes going into the half.

The Season up until this point……Oregon State

It might be a bit too early to push the panic button when it comes to Oregon State, but the fans in Corvalis have the little plastic case that covers the button lifted, and their palms are hovering over it. The Beavers lost at home to 1-AA (or whatever it is now) Sacramento State, and then followed it up by losing 35-0 in Madison. The Beavers have undergone a change at Quarterback themselves, replacing Ryan Katz with Sean Mannion. Perhaps their best weapon on offense (since James Rodgers was out), Running Back Malcolm Agnew, did not play against Wisconsin, and the team totaled just 23 yards on the ground as a result.

Oregon State’s defense was unable to get key third down stops against Russell Wilson and the Badgers two weeks ago. That being said, and contrary to the statistics, their rush defense did not play that awful, especially considering they were playing the Badgers. They made a concerted effort to stop the rush game, and for most of the first half, they did. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get a pass rush, and Wilson was given plenty of time to pick up 3rd and longs over and over again.

It should also be pointed out that in the first quarter against Wisconsin, punter Johnny Hekker had a negative four yard punt…..

UCLA wins if……..

….they keep things simple. This means running the ball, not turning the ball over, and most importantly, limiting the big plays against Oregon State. The Beavers have totaled 28 points in two games, so if UCLA’s defense can’t come up big in Corvalis, it never will. UCLA has found themselves a nice backfield with Johnathan Franklin and Derrick Coleman, (267 and 199 rush yards on the season, respectively). Their gameplan should be to run, run, and then run it again. Oh, and keep Brehaut in the entire game.

Oregon State wins if…….

…..they can stop the run, and manufacture a big play or two on offense. As I stated above, Oregon State did a great job stopping the Badgers rushing attack. If they take a similar approach, they could do an equally good job at home. They are coming off a bye week, and welcome their best offensive player back in James Rodgers. Look for them to get him involved early and often to create something. He brings a playmaking ability to a team that has sorely lacked it thus far.


It is the first conference game for each team. The winner gets a fresh start and will be 1-0 in conference. The loser will not only be 0-1 in conference, but be in terrible shape in terms of making a bowl game. UCLA was thumped last week physically. They roll into Corvalis deflated and are receiving mixed signals from their coach. Oregon State, for everything that has gone wrong, is coming off of a BYE week and is playing at home. They also get the added boost of Rodgers returning.
Oregon State 27 UCLA 21