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UCLA 27 … at Oregon State 19

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Sep 24, 2011


Week 4 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - UCLA at Oregon State


2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 4 - UCLA at Oregon State

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Sept. 24 UCLA 27 … at Oregon State 19
CFN Analysis: UCLA has to take the wins when it can get them. This might not be a good team, and it might have a whole slew of major flaws, but there are enough winnable games on the schedule to hope for a good season after catching a beating next week against Stanford. The Bruins can’t generate a lick of pass rush, meaning Andrew Luck should be able to pad the Heisman stats, but on the positive side, the offense might have found its guy under center. Richard Brehaut was excellent, completing 7-of-11 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown, and he kept drives alive and kept the chains moving. UCLA doesn’t need Tom Brady under center, but it does need someone who can keep the mistakes to a minimum. Against Stanford, UCLA will have to be physical on both lines. It’ll be a test of where the team is at toughness-wise, but for now, just getting a road win is a plus.

Oregon State is a mess. James Rodgers might be back from his knee injury, catching five passes for 76 yards, and the coaching staff might have settled on Sean Mannion at quarterback and without any more of a rotation system, but the Beavers don’t have a ground game, the secondary isn’t making any plays, and the 0-3 season now has to try to turn around with a road trip to Arizona State. The offense put up some passing yards on UCLA, but points have been too hard to come by. Considering it’ll take at least 30 points to hand around with the Sun Devils, it’s going to take a mistake-free game to have any sort of a chance.

(AP) CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Richard Brehaut threw for a touchdown and ran for another and struggling UCLA came to life on the road with a 27-19 victory over winless Oregon State in the Pac-12 opener for both teams on Saturday.

Brehaut, who was named starter for the game after Kevin Prince struggled in last week's loss to Texas at the Rose Bowl, completed seven of 11 passes for 146 yards for the Bruins (2-2, 1-0 Pac-12).

After the Bruins scored to make it 27-19 with 6:15 to go, the Beavers drove down field but were stopped at the UCLA 22-yard line when they tried to go for it on fourth-and-eight.

UCLA vacillated between quarterbacks in their first three games, but coach Rick Neuheisel named Brehaut the starter for game after Prince threw three interceptions in the 49-20 loss to the then-No. 23 Longhorns last week.

Because of the Bruins' slow start, Neuheisel was facing increasing questions about his job security at his alma mater.

The Beavers have had their own trouble, a stunning overtime loss at home to Sacramento State in the opener before a 35-0 blanking by Wisconsin. During last week's bye, coach Mike Riley decided to make a change at quarterback, replacing junior Ryan Katz with Mannion.

The Beavers also saw the return Saturday of flanker James Rodgers and tight end Joe Halahuni, who had not played this season because of injuries.

Rodgers, who has had two surgeries on his left knee, was formally cleared to play by doctors earlier this week. He was greeted by a standing ovation when he started, and had a 31-yard reception on the Beavers' first series.

Oregon State went up 3-0 on Trevor Romaine's 25-yard field goal, but Brehaut answered for UCLA with a 69-yard pass to Josh Smith that put the Bruins in position for his 22-yard touchdown pass to Taylor Embree.

Brehaut ran five yards for another score to put UCLA up 14-3.

Mannion's fumble on the Beavers' own 4-yard line led to Jordan James' touchdown run for UCLA. But Oregon State narrowed it to 21-10 before the half on Jordan Poyer's 85-yard punt return. It was the second-longest such return In Oregon State history. Dwayne Owens had a 97-yard punt return for OSU against UCLA in 1992.

Romaine opened the second half with a 30-yard field goal for the Beavers, and the momentum looked to shift in Oregon State's favor after Andrew Seumalo blocked a UCLA field goal attempt.

Mannion's 45-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Bishop pulled Oregon State within 21-19, but the two-point conversion pass was intercepted.

The Bruins got more breathing room on Anthony Barr's 1-yard scoring dive for the final margin with 6:15 left. Seumalo blocked the extra point, but the Beavers were unsuccessful on their final drive.

Rodgers was ranked sixth in the nation with an average of 176.75 all-purpose yards last season when he was hurt five games into the season at Arizona. The Beavers asked for and received a fifth year of eligibility for him.

He was played sparingly, finishing with five catches for 76 yards.

Halahuni, who had six touchdown catches last season, had surgery this spring on his left shoulder. He had five receptions for 26 yards.

Derrick Coleman had 20 carries for 100 yards for the Bruins.

UCLA (1-2) at Oregon State (0-2) Sept. 24, 3:30

Here’s The Deal … Now that Washington State is displaying a pulse, UCLA and Oregon State might be playing for last place in the Pac-12 this season. Both schools are struggling badly out of the gate, and are in need of something positive to happen. The Bruins are mired in a state of chaos for underperforming head coach Rick Neuheisel. After playing a sloppy game in a win over San Jose State, they were dressed down by Texas, 49-20, at the Rose Bowl. If his kids can’t reverse course in a hurry, it’s getting harder and harder to envision Neuheisel back on the sidelines in 2012.

The Beavers have endured some rough starts under head coach Mike Riley, but this might be the worst of all. Saddled with injuries and uncertainty behind center, Oregon State has opened with a loss to Sacramento State and a shutout at the hands of Wisconsin. The winner in Corvallis gets a shot in the arm, while the loser sinks to a new level of misery.

Why UCLA Might Win: Neuheisel’s musical chairs at quarterback have stopped on Richard Brehaut for this week. Playing against the Oregon State defensive backfield is going to help the junior’s job security. The Beavers have allowed seven touchdown passes through two games, while not picking off a pass. Brehaut, who has shown some flashes in September, will need to connect with TE Joseph Fauria and receivers Taylor Embree and Nelson Rosario. Of course, the backbone of the offense will continue to be Johnathan Franklin and Derrick Coleman who help form one of the league’s better running tandems.

Why Oregon State Might Win: Coming off a bye week, the Beavers will enter Saturday well-rested and with a little extra bounce in their step. Not only has redshirt freshman Sean Mannion earned the first start of his career, demoting Ryan Katz, but WR James Rodgers, H-back Joe Halahuni and leading receiver Markus Wheaton are all expected to be medically cleared to play. There’ll be some rust that needs to be shaken off, especially for Rodgers, but the mere presence of the veterans is guaranteed to provide a boost. They’ll be up against a UCLA defense that just got done being trashed by the Longhorns for 488 yards and seven touchdowns.

What To Watch Out For: So what can the rest of the Pac-12 expect from Mannion now that he’s the new signal-caller in Corvallis? For starters, he’s a typical Riley quarterback, tall, strong-armed and poised in the pocket. He looked sharp in the Wisconsin game, though it wasn’t as if the Badgers were bringing it once the lead mushroomed. The timing is good for his first career start; he’s had an extra week to prepare and get more comfortable with the personnel, and the opponent hasn’t been lighting it up on defense this month.

What Will Happen: In a contest between struggling teams, Oregon State has three distinct advantages—it’s home, it’s coming out of a bye and it’s going to get a lift from the returns of key offensive players. No, Rodgers and Halahuni won’t be in mid-season form, but having them in the huddle will help calm Mannion’s nerves. The Beavers will deliver their best game of the month on defense, creating turnovers and pressure on Brehaut. It won’t be pretty, but when you’ve already fallen to Sacramento State, there’s no such thing as an ugly loss.

CFN Prediction: Oregon State 26 … UCLA 19
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