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Pregame Guesses: UCLA Welcomes Oregon State to the Rose Bowl

What’s up with UCLA’s backfield? How will UCLA handle OSU QB Jake Luton? Who will win the turnover battle?

NCAA Football: San Diego State at UCLA
Will UCLA use Demetric Felton in the backfield against Oregon State?
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After a tough defeat in a very winnable game at Arizona last week, the UCLA Bruins football team (1-4, 1-1 Pac-12) returns home to the Rose Bowl tomorrow evening to take on the Oregon State Beavers (1-3, 0-1 Pac-12). Like the Bruins, OSU lost last week at the end of the game due to a field goal, although the Beavers lost on a successful Stanford made field goal, whereas UCLA lost after a JJ Molson miss that would have tied the game.

Both teams will look to bounce back this week and both teams should have confidence that they can beat the other guys across the line from them. It should be a fun game.

Since the Pac-10 became the Pac-12, UCLA only gets to play one Oregon team per season (same with the Washington schools). Since tomorrow’s game is the only one this season in which the UCLA football team will play a foe from Oregon, I am going to return, for the first time this season, to selecting a band from the hometown (or in this case, the home state) of our opponent.

Although Corvallis is about 80 miles south of Portland, this Portland band is close enough for the purposes of this article, plus I love the song. It is not the biggest hit from this band, but it is my favorite. Also, this album (and this song) featured one of my favorite musicians of all time, The Smith’s guitarist Johnny Marr, who played with this band on this album and this song. The band is Modest Mouse and the selection is not “Float On” (their biggest hit), but “Dashboard.”

Weird video. But I always loved how this frenetic song felt like it was about to spin out of control. Kind of like Bruin football in 2019. Ba dum dum, rim shot! (Editor’s note: He’s here every week. Tell your friends!)

UCLA Head Coach Chip Kelly’s use of Demetric Felton in the Arizona game after he electrified the fanbase the week before against Wazzu was...curious. Some fans had more harsh criticisms. Before the season started, few would have figured Felton to be a presence in UCLA’s crowded backfield, given his prior usage was a wide receiver. But the Bruins leaned heavily on Felton when Kelley was injured. Then, we were treated to a big game versus the Cougars followed by minimal use versus the Wildcats. What will we get this week out of UCLA’s backfield? This PGG is a two-parter. PREGAME GUESS NUMBER ONE: How many carries will Joshua Kelley get tomorrow? How many carries will Demetric Felton get?

Although Oregon State is 1-3 on the season, one bright spot has been the play of senior quarterback Jake Luton. Luton has completed 82 passes on 135 attempts, for a 60.7 completion percentage. Luton averages 253 passing yards per game and he has nine touchdown passes with no interceptions. Luckily for the Bruins, he is a pure pocket passer and is not really a threat to run. On the other hand, UCLA’s secondary has been miserable this season, and the Bruins are second-worst in the nation in passing yards allowed, allowing 351.8 yards per game though the air. PREGAME GUESS NUMBER TWO: How many yards will Oregon State’s passing offense generate versus the Bruin defense?

The only game that UCLA won this year was one in which they clearly won the turnover battle, 6-1, over Washington State. Even with that game, UCLA is still tied for 90th in the nation in turnover margin, at minus two (8 turnovers gained, ten turnovers lost). Oregon State, on the other hand, has a much better turnover margin at plus three (4 turnovers gained to only one turnover lost—and that was an interception thrown by the backup QB in the Beavers’ blowout win versus Cal Poly). Wazzu had a good turnover margin until they faced UCLA too. Can UCLA reverse the trend on both sides of the ball versus Oregon State? PREGAME GUESS NUMBER THREE: Who wins the turnover battle? Or will it be even?

BONUS GUESS: It’s another home game so, once again, guess the attendance at the Rose Bowl. As always, there are pros and cons. It’s a 6 pm kickoff, which is tailgate-friendly. The students are back in school which helps. On the other hand, Oregon State is a conference opponent, but not one that is a big draw.

Thank you, as always, for reading. I cannot believe that this PGG marks the midpoint of the season. College football goes by waaaaay too fast. Make your guesses in the comment section below.

Go Bruins!