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Recovery Against the Beavers? (First Look)

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Hey guys, so there is a football game this weekend at the Rose Bowl. For the third time in as many games, "the thinker" from Westwood will get to take on another red hot Pac-10 football team not wearing blue and gold. That's right. The Oregon State Beavers - yeah the Beavers - are on a huge high, storming into the Rose Bowl with a 4 game winning streak. They are getting mention - wait for this - in the BCS polls. Well, they deserve it.

They ended Southern California's mind numbing winning streak two weeks ago at Corvallis, and followed it up with a total annihilation of the Arizona Sundevils.

They are doing this with a pretty solid defense ranked 3rd in the Pac-10. And, given the slide DeWayne Walker's defense has been going through for last two weeks, it may be up to the Bruin offense to come up with a win after four straight nightmarish weekends for Dorrell's program.

So, with that, here is a first look at the numbers with the Beaver Defense squaring off against Dorrell's impotent (at least in the red zone) offense. Statistics compiled by a conference run by one of NCAA's most incompetent bureaucrat:

Bruin Offense v. Beaver Defense

Bruin Offense 06 Rank Per Game Beaver Defense 06 Rank Per Game
Rushing Offense 7 127.7 Rushing Defense 3 95.9
Pass Offense 6 215.2 Pass Defense 6 205.2
Pass Eff. Offense 7 116.5 Pass Eff. Defense 3 114.8
Total Offense 7 342.9 Total Defense 3 301.1
Scoring Offense 7 23.3 Scoring Defense 5 20.1

While the Bruins were chest thumping earlier in the season, pointing to meaningless early season stats as somehow a sign of a defense being restored in Westwood (at least for the first time since 2003 when Dorrell had a decent defense based on Toledo's senior laden talents), it's the Beaver defense which has been coming through in all-important conference games. From CBS Sportsline:

Attack. Attack. Attack. The Beavers are playing with their ears pinned back and with one goal in mind: Get to the ball behind the line of scrimmage. The aggressive nature is paying off as the Beavers rank second nationally in tackles for losses (8.7 per game) and fourth in sacks (3.6). ASU couldn't throw the ball against the Oregon State secondary last week and had no place to run. The hard-pressuring approach has worked with linebackers getting all over the field.
Also, Oregon State is currently ranked second in the Pac 10 with a +5 in turnover margin, with 23 takeaways. So Cowan and co. will have their work cut out for them.

Meanwhile, the Beavers' offense has been on a tear, averaging 38.5 in their last two games against Southern Cal and ASU. So, a UCLA defense which is exhausted after being shredded in its last two games will have a pretty decent challenge on their hands against an offense with a lot of momentum and confidence coming into this game.

Bruin Defense v. Beaver Offense

Bruin Defense 06 Rank Per Game Beaver Offense 06 Rank Per Game
Rushing Defense 2 91.6 Rushing Offense 8 122.4
Pass Defense 7 220.1 Pass Offense 5 242.8
Pass Eff. Defense 7 130.9 Pass Eff. Offense 4 135.0
Total Defense 5 311.7 Total Offense 5 365.2
Scoring Defense 6 20.8 Scoring Offense 4 27.6

Most of you know Oregon is being led by former Bruin Matt Moore who, even though he may be downplaying it public, will be coming into the Rose Bowl looking for vengeance. Besides Moore, we will have to get keep an eye on TB Yvenson Bernard, who is second in the conference with 812 yard rushing (4.5 avg). More from Sportsline:

TB Yvenson Bernard -- Ironically, the last two wins for the Beavers have come with their leading rusher not at full strength. Bernard missed the upset of USC, and then was just getting his bad ankle back into playing shape during the win over ASU. He is healthy again, which can't be good news for UCLA.
Well, I think the UCLA defensive line should be able to stop Bernard and Beavers' rushing attack, which is ranked 8th in the Pac-10. And, the key to throttling the Beaver offense will be to put pressure on MM.

Moore is having a decent season. But he still can be erratic. He has decent passing numbers, having thrown for 1815 yards (61 percent completion). However, his TD/Int ratio is somewhat mediocre at 8 to 6. Even though he is coming in with a lot of confidence (rushed for a TD in each of his last 3 games), he may be susceptible to heavy pressure from our DL. So, if DeWayne Walker, who was obviously focusing on stopping Lynch last weekend by stacking the box, brings some heat, our defense may be able to rattle Moore and throw off the Beavers.

But the key here will be for the Bruins to come out with not only some fire and passion, but also to play with some focus and purpose. Something they haven't been able to do the whole season except for those 59 minutes against Notre Dame.

Oregon is a very beatable team. And, it's a program UCLA should never lose to at the Rose Bowl. Even during horrible years (1992), UCLA has found a way to stop losing streaks against the Beavers. In other words, there will be no excuse if the Bruins cannot find any kind of recovery for this season's problems against these Beavers.

So, if Karl "the thinker" Dorrell cannot pull out a win this Saturday, he ought to think about doing something he often does when his team is behind - quit from "coaching."