Well we are just hours away from finding out some answers on how our Bruins are going to respond to the biggest game of this regular season. There is nothing new to add at this point in terms of what this game means to all of us and how it can set up the long term future of our football program under Rick Neuheisel. From the comments we have read from our coaches and players this week, it seems pretty clear that they get what a big deal this game is and how they are going to need to play inspired football against a desperate opponent which also will give everything it has to keep its bowl hopes alive.
Plus there is the big emotional factor of this being our senior day. This is the last time we are going to see kids like ATV, Reggie Carter, Terrence Austin and Logan Paulsen in our home blue at the Rose Bowl. ATV and Carter of course had special careers at UCLA. However, going into today I have the same feeling towards this bunch I did towards kids like DT, CB, and RH who were able to end their careers in Howlandwood on a great note depsite starting it with a toxic one under a sleazbag posing as a head basketball coach. Here is to those kids having a great afternoon and a send off at the Rose Bowl. I would also add Brian Price into that mix because right now from what we have heard it looks like he will be in the NFL next season. So, I would be making sure to yell a little louder in appreciation when the big guy will hopefully make his presence felt in the Rose Bowl.
If the Bruins are going to get that much talked about 6th win today they will have to get it done against probably the best defense in the conference:
"I think this is a really, really talented defense that plays really well together," UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said earlier this week. "I have watched the USC game and (saw) just how they fly to the ball, how they have all the fits exactly right.
"Their corners are very aggressive. It's a good group we're playing so we're going to have to play a great game on offense and see if we can't play our last home game for our seniors and play it really well."
Kevin Prince is well aware about how everyone will need to chip in and carry out their respective assignments to move the ball against Sun Devils this afternoon:
"Everybody has got to be willing to do their job when we play," he said. "If you watch game film, and this is the same for any team I've ever been on, you always see one guy who is not doing their job right. It's that one guy that makes the difference. If you can get all 11 guys on the same page doing their jobs, that's when everything starts falling together."
Things started to click for the Bruins in the second half of their game at Oregon State on Oct. 31. The progression, which continued through victories over Washington and Washington State, has been steady, but not swift.
Prince missed two games early in the season because of a broken jaw. He's been trying to make up for the time that he missed and seems to be close to where he should be.
"He's growing by leaps and bounds," Neuheisel said. "I think you can see that it takes awhile to gain the amount of time and snaps to know how the game is played and to be looking down the field rather than at what's coming at you."
Well let's hope KP with the help of all his team-mates can stay in the same rhythm we have seen from him during last 9 quarters as he has thrown for 49 of 60 passes for 724 yards and four touchdowns since that fourth quarter comeback. More quick game day notes and links after the jump.
The Bruins outgained the Sun Devils 306-122.
They had 18 first downs to Arizona State's 10, outgained the Sun Devils 89-21 on the ground and had more than 110 more passing yards. UCLA's offense even outscored Arizona State's offense, 9-3.
But, oh, that one simple fact.
Arizona State scored four defensive touchdowns, including three off interceptions, in a 34-9 win that knocked the Bruins from bowl contention.
There is no forgetting that loss, especially the cold, hard facts.
"It's fresh in my mind," said senior wide receiver Terrence Austin, who had 188 all-purpose yards in the loss last season. "We've definitely talked about it. We know we pretty much prevented ourselves from winning the game last year, had some turnovers that really broke up the opportunity to win. We realize what we did last year, and now we're trying to capitalize on their mistakes this time."
Well let's hope today it's the Bruin defense who can come out and create similar opportunities for our offense. For more on today's game here is the write up from AP and the LAT. The LAT of course couldn't but leap with this cheap shot:
UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel calls it a "barrier." Former UCLA coach Karl Dorrell would call it just another season.
Whatever Foster, who is probably bitter about getting exposed for being a shoddy reporter. Anyway, the kickoff is scheduled for 1 pm PST. We will probably also do a pre game thread starting in about an hour or sooner to take in other actions from today. Enjoy the Saturday.