OSU vs. UCLA: Keys to the Game

LET'S SEE, UCLA has lost their starting quarterback to a knee injury. The Bruins might just try to run a little bit on Saturday against the Beavs – and that also means UCLA's new QB, he too will be looking for ground yards. Delving into that topic and more, in the BF.C Keys to the Game..

1 – Slow Down The Running Game. File this key under "Duh". While Richard Brehaut has a decent arm, he's a big step down from dual-threat (and oft-injured) QB Kevin Prince. The Bruins are going to look to pound the ball down OSU's throats, as OSU has been vulnerable to the run this year, missing tackles and struggling to get proper leverage, (last week's excellent run defense against Cal notwithstanding) . And because Brehaut is part and parcel of that running game out of the pistol, OSU will need to have their A-game here.

2 – Get The Tank Involved. With Markus Wheaton (shoulder) still not 100 percent, Jordan Bishop suffering a Grade 1 shoulder separation last week and James Rodgers out for the season, the stellar Oregon State receiving corps suddenly begins looking a little less stellar. Getting the big guy the ball and letting him rumble will help keep the LB's occupied and give Quizz some room to work.

3 – Come Out Hot. The worst thing that can happen on the road is for the team to come out flat, either too tight, or uninspired. Several So-Cal kids are playing in front of their families this weekend in the Rose Bowl, and if they misfire early and let the Bruins see some daylight, it could be trouble.

Bonus Key – Rattle the QB. Oregon State really isn't a blitz-happy defense under defensive coordinator Mark Banker. Sure they'll send a guy or two on occasion, but they don't generally send the house. But if Oregon State does a credible job against the UCLA running game, and the Bruins find themselves in obvious passing downs, the Beavs might be well advised not to play it too safe. Giving Brehaut, a backup now thrust into the starting role, time in the pocket could allow him to feel comfortable and to grow in confidence as the game goes along. OSU, if they produce a pass rush akin to last week's beat down of Cal, can rattle him when he's passing. And he's been characterized as "hesitant" on his seven rushes this year by local beat writers, so the Beavs can rattle him in the running game, too. OSU has to be smart about how they come after and contain Brehaut, but there is a big opportunity here for the Beavers. Big.

Reviewing last weeks' Keys: 1 – Pick Up The Blitz: Katz was sacked three times as Cal threw the kitchen sink at the Beavers, but not before the Santa Monica native could complete 20-of-29 passes in Sean Canfield-esque fashion against a formidable Cal defense, and the OL performed well in permitting even slow-developing plays like double reverses to be productive. Not an A+ effort, but good enough to earn an attaboy and a gold star, o-line. Grade: B+

2 – Gamble a Little, Dock: This became a moot point after Riley was knocked from the game before he could attempt his sixth pass of the day. Neither Mansion nor Riley had enough time to throw deep, facing a ferocious OSU pass rush that included corner blitzes from both Dockery and Hardin's side of the field. This is a pass/fail grade and the OSU defense as a whole earned a resounding "Pass".

3 – Chicks Dig The Long Ball: They also dig Jacquizz Rodgers' gaudy 522.4 passer rating, replete with the Quizz-Colby Prince connection. Breaking the back of a defense can happen in more ways than one, and shredding them on the legs of Markus Wheaton, then demoralizing them with a halfback pass out of the wildcat, is another. Grade: A

Get well, James Rodgers.

Comments, questions, plots to convince Bob De Carolis to move the RV lot back from the Dark Side Of The Moon? You know what to do -- orangeattack@beaverfootball.com .

BeaverBlitz Top Stories