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Time for a Breakthrough

Let's get right to it.  Dohn sets the stage for UCLA's first big game of the season and how it set the tone for rest of 2006:

Beyond the personnel matters is the ramifications of the outcome. The Bruins (4-1, 2-1 Pac-10) cannot afford another conference loss after their unexpected slip-up at Washington four weeks ago. Another defeat within the Pac-10 would all but doom UCLA's hopes of winning a conference title.

Then there is the fact UCLA is beginning a brutal four-week stretch of its schedule. The Bruins travel to No. 9 Notre Dame next week, and play at No. 10 Cal on Nov. 4.

"This is exciting to be able to play games like this," Bruins offensive tackle Noah Sutherland said. "It's great going on the road.

"I like going to other places, and when it's noisy, being able to quiet them. This is an exciting stretch for us."

But it is also a difficult one, and will give an indication of just how good this team is. UCLA's wins (Utah, Rice, Stanford and Arizona) came against teams that are a combined 9-17.

Sandwiched between UCLA's games at Notre Dame and Cal is a home date with Washington State, which could be a trap game.

Beginning with Oregon, the Bruins' next four opponents are a combined 18-5, with all five of the losses coming to teams currently ranked in the top 11.
Oregon is going to be a challenged. We have talked about their no. 4 ranked offense in the nation. We have talked about their vaunted offensives weapons. Dennis Dixon is lot more polished as a dual threat QB than Isaiah Stanback. Jonthan Stewart has a great running back (who despite being bottled up by Cal D) is capable of having a huge day, and then they have those great receivers: William, Paisenger, and Kent, who are capble of terrorizing defensive backs all over the country. Yet the Bruins really have no reason to be intimidated. As Dohn notes they have some intangibles on their side:
[O]ne thing that could help the Bruins is familiarity. They saw similar offenses against Utah and Rice, and history is also on the Bruins' side.

Despite Autzen's tough reputation, the Bruins have won 12of their past 14games there, including a 34-26 upset in 2004. Oregon's wins came in 1990 and 2000.
Dohn was referring to Oregon's spread offense, and Kuwada from the OC Register has more on what DeWayne Walker may do to contain Oregon's explosive offense:
"Coach Walker ... he's always got something up his sleeve," said Davis, who has used his speed and quickness on the outside to register 19 tackles, the most among the Bruins' defensive linemen, along with 41/2 sacks. "We're going to try to confuse Dixon. He's a good quarterback, but there are some things that we've seen on film that we feel we can exploit.

"We're going to move around and we're going to make them check off and do all sorts of stuff."

As freshman cornerback Alterraun Verner said, "All of the stuff that the offenses are trying to do to us, we're trying to do to them, too."

And success could go a long way in determining the outcome of what is a key game for the Bruins (4-1) and the Ducks (4-1). Both are 2-1 in the Pac-10 and in need of a victory to retain a realistic chance of winning the conference championship. USC obviously has dominated the conference for the past three seasons, but a team with two losses has not won the Pac-10 since 1993, when UCLA, Arizona and USC all were tied at the top of the standings with 6-2 records.

"I love our chances," Davis said. "We've played two offenses that are similar and we've handled our business. Now, those players weren't as good as these but we're still going to go out there and we're going to play to our full potential.

"They have some great coaches up there, just like we have here. But I think we're going to go up there and outsmart them and just outplay them.

"We're going to try to mess around with them a little bit and get after it like we always do. Dixon is a good quarterback, but like every quarterback he has things to work on. We're going to attack his weaknesses. "
Well let's hope Davis, Hickman, Harwell, Brown and co. will pin their ears back and go after DD today and bring mayhem in Eugene.  Bruins have a huge opportunity in this game. Oregon is ranked but should not be an intimidating opponent for UCLA. All they have done is blasted a Stanford team at home (which the Bruins blew out as well), got some lucky calls against the Sooners (after being outplayed the whole game), and eeked out a narrow win over a 1-win Fresno State program. And of course they got humiliated by Cal.  So if our Bruin defense is really that improved then they should be able to handle the Ducks and hold them within 3 TDs and set up the offense to pull out this breakthrough win.

The offense which is still looking for consistency at this point of the season will have to put together its first complete performance since the Utah game. Here are LA Times' keys to today's game. And for more coverage here is more from the LA Times.

So here we go. Not much to say at this point. It is up to Dorrell to get his first breakthrough win on the road. Good luck to him and our Bruins. Let's get it done. It is time.

Enjoy the games today.  I will get the game day thread up in a bit.