It's not rocket science. There is nothing more fun than enjoying a game week when your team is winning in college football. Normally when the team is winning you'd try to pour over all of opponent's scouting reports and get the details around their program to get a sense how your team is going to match up and perform in the next game. On the flip side, when your team is not winning and is headed towards what appears to be another sure loss on Saturday, a feeling of total dread envelopes around the program. Add to that our guys are heading into Halloween weekend taking on a team playing in orange and black uniform in a non-televised game that feeling of dread seems to be amplified from all corner of Bruin Nation.
I was hoping last weekend we'd go into Arizona and play with a sense of no fear. Didn't really happen. Perhaps this weekend the guys will play with sense of nothing to lose and take chances in an aggressive fashion (while staying disciplined) and shock the conference. However, based on what I have seen last few weekends I don't see how our guys can pull off an upset. Still I know everyone here will be following the game thread on Saturday, hoping for updates from those who are following the games via radio, online or from comments from those who are directly in the game. If somehow, someway UCLA steals a victory on the road this weekend it will have the potential to turn around the season. Here are the game notes from Ted Miller on ESPN's Pac-10 blog:
UCLA (3-4, 0-4) at Oregon State (4-3, 2-2)
Oregon State beat UCLA 34-6 last year... UCLA leads the series 39-14-4... Oregon State quarterback Sean Canfield is completing 68.2 percent of his passes. The school record for completion percentage is 60.6, set by Matt Moore in 2006... UCLA kicker Kai Forbath missed his second field goal of the season against Arizona from 52 yards out. He's now 19 of 21 on the year. Both misses came from outside of 50 yards... Beavers running back Jacquizz Rodgers ranks second in both rushing yards per game (115.7) and receptions per game (6.0). He leads the conference with 15 TDs... UCLA defensive tackle Brian Price leads the conference with 11.5 tackles for a loss...Receiver James Rodgers leads the conference in all-purpose yards (182.1 ypg)... Bruins punter Jeff Locke ranks No. 1 in the conference with a 46.5-yard average... OSU lost its first fumble of the year at USC, but the Beavers five turnovers for the season is the fewest in the conference... Bruins safety Rahim Moore ranks No. 1 in the nation with seven interceptions... UCLA ranks ninth in the conference in rushing, passing, total offense and scoring.
Oregon State is apparently a 9 point favorite on Saturday. There head coach though is not looking past the Bruins. More after the jump.
Cliff Kirkpatrick, who follows the Beavers for the Gazette-Times reports that Oregon State head coach Mike Riley (who as many know here was DG's first choice to replace Bob Toledo before he got overruled by the buffoon Al Carnesale) is expecting a tough game against UCLA:
OSU faces another L.A. team Saturday, this time down-and-out UCLA in Reser Stadium. Another look at the matchups shows an easy win - this time for the Beavers, who are nine-point favorites.
Coach Mike Riley will use the same approach as last week to prep his team. The goal for the players is not worry about what the opponent has done, just get better and the game will work itself out.
Riley and his staff plan to do all the worrying about how to exploit opponent weakness and counter strengths.
"It's going to be another tough Pac-10 game," Riley said. "We just have to look at them and figure out how to approach the game." [...]
"I don't assume anything about their record," Riley said. "They are very capable. They've had some good wins.
"They have it in them. We just have to get ready to play."
Kirkpatrick posted some numbers on the Beavers that any way you cut it looks daunting for our defense (and envious for those of us wondering what it means to have a capable offense:
Red zone action
The Beavers lead the Pac-10 in red zone scoring percentage at 93.3 percent, tied for 10th in the nation. OSU has scored on 28 of 30 attempts, 21 with touchdowns and seven field goals.
Then again it helps to score TDs instead of FGs when you have the Rogers brothers in your team:
Sophomore RB Jacquizz Rodgers is on record pace for the most points for a season by an OSU player, held by Steven Jackson in 2003 with 132.
Rodgers has 90 points with five regular season games to play. His 15 total touchdowns are second in the nation, trailing 16 by Navy’s Ricky Dobbs.
For overall rushing he is eighth at OSU with 2,063 yards and if he gains his average of 115.7 against UCLA he will jump into sixth place.
He also needs five rushing scores to tie for the single-season school record with 19 by Jackson in 2003 and Ken Simonton in 1999 and 2000.
Junior WR James Rodgers averages 182.1 yards a game for all-purpose yards, which is first in the Pac-10 and seventh in the nation. At his current pace, he would set the school record for all-purpose yards with 2,186. The record is held by Jackson in 2003 with 2,015.
He leads the Pac-10 for receptions per game at 7.1 and for receiving yards per game at 85.7. The last time a player led the Pac-10 for all-purpose yards, receptions per game and receiving yards per game was Bobby Wade of Arizona in 2002. Gyn Milburn of Stanford in 1990 and Vincent White of Stanford in 1982 accomplished the feat previously.
Again, I have no idea how our defense is going to contain these guys. Apparently Jacquizz is nursing a sore ankle. So they are easing him into practice this week. Yet given how he racked up over 100 yards against the Trojan defense even with a sore ankle I wouldn't count too much on that injury.
They are not the only headaches Bullough will have to deal with on Saturday. Sean Canfield who was very efficent against the Bruins last year at the Rose Bowl completing 16 of 22 passes for 222 yards and throwing for 2 TDs (I pick). Sean is having a great season this year completing a blistering 68 percent of his passes with 11 TDs and only 4 picks. So the Bruin defense is going to take on a very balanced Oregon State offense. I know we sound like a broken record here because we keep saying it every week. It'd be nice if Bullough came out with a defense that changed up it scheme just a little bit early on and make an attempt to throw the Beavers off balance by mixing in some blitz packages. Staying predictable against Beavers' offense early on will be another recipe for disaster.
Hester is battling freshman cornerback Sheldon Price for the starting nod. Both got their fair share of reps in Tuesday's practice, but Hester was in at the end of the day with the starting group during the two-minute drill portion.
Both are tall for the position - Price at 6-foot-2, Hester at 6-1 - but Hester has a 40-pound weight advantage.
"They're both about the same height and length, (Hester) is just stronger," UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel said. "He's been here a year longer, been in the weight program, and he gives you a stronger presence at the point of attack."
Per the LA Times, "Carnell Lake said Hester will play this week." Well too bad we will not get to watch (at least live) whether Hester finally gets back on the playing field this weekend.
While Neuheisel assured Brehaut on Monday that he would get at least one series in the first half throughout the rest of the season, Brehaut understands that the flow of the game should determine his role.
"It is Coach Neuheisel's call - I'm sure if (Kevin Prince) is rolling, he's gonna leave him in there," Brehaut said. "That's all up to Coach Neuheisel and Coach (Norm) Chow. If Kev's thrown for touchdown passes on three straight drives, I'm sure he's not gonna yank him out."
Speaking of Kevin Prince per the LAT he had a good practice yesterday. However, the report itself is kind of interesting (emphasis added):
Prince labored against Arizona but looked sharper in practice Tuesday. He completed two long passes and ran an effective two-minute drill that ended in a missed field goal.
Not sure I would call a 2-minute drill all that "effective" when it results in a missed FG attempt. Just sayin. :-)
I really hope the light turns on for Prince. From everything I have heard from him this season, he sounds like an incredibly gracious and classy Bruin. You can tell he has the physical tools to be a solid QB. It's a matter of stepping up, executing the offense making some plays at this point. May be, just may be this is the weekend when majority of us will not get to watch him, the light will come on for Kevin and rest of his team-mates, making Chow's offense for once scary for the opponent instead for the Bruin Nation.