Although the players and coaches repeatedly say it is one game at a time the chance to qualify for the post season after missing out a year ago has to be exciting.
"Obviously we want to be bowl eligible, but that is in the back our heads," defensive tackle Ben Siegert said. "We just want to get another win and keep winning games. We will worry about the bowls when the season is over."
Oregon State is currently tied for third in conference play with Oregon. The third place team goes to the Sun Bowl while the fourth and fifth place teams go to the Las Vegas or Emerald bowl.
It's in the water…
Each week the media asks coach Mike Riley and his players what caused the turnaround and each week they basically say the same thing. So, let's once and for all lay it out on the table and pinpoint what factors resulted in the OSU resurgence.
- Players settling in and growing
Riley says: "We needed to grow individually. We had quite a few new faces as starters, a new group of receivers, new people to form some chemistry with during the ball games. They all needed to grow and kind of find themselves within the system."
- Some success on the field which leads to confidence
Riley says: "You can fight that battle for a long time, but I actually think the Washington State game, even though we lost was the start of it because we played a terrific defensive game. I don't think anybody on our team, not too many people outside probably thought this, but not too many on our team thought that we couldn't find a way to move the ball. I think their was some actual confidence building their and then we had a good week of practice and were able to beat Washington and that added some more confidence."
- Rotation on defense which leads to ownership by the players
Siegert says: "It is great having depth. When you get tired you don't have to worry about the guy taking your place if he is going to let down or not. Everyone is making plays. It sucks that only 11 people can be on the field because more than 11 people can play."
- Good character players who work hard
Riley says: "The only reason we are at where we are right now is because they have good character. They never stopped working hard. They were discouraged and disappointed and all those kinds of things, but their character enabled them to come back. Otherwise, whatever we do footballwise, nothing is going to work. Guys continue to work hard, buy in and believe they can do it."
With Yvenson Bernard and Clinton Polk not at 100% and the UCLA defense excelling at stopping the ground game the Beavers could be forced to turn to the air. But center Kyle DeVan says it all comes down to the play in the trenches.
"A game like this is going to come down to a dogfight," DeVan said. "It is going to be all our six guys blocking against their seven in the box. The best man is going to win."
"We are going to come out there and be physical – punch them and hit them - and hopefully win in the trenches. That is where the game starts and ends. It is going to be a good battle out there in Pasadena."
UCLA ranks seventh in the Pac-10 in pass defense giving up an average of 220 yards and a conference worst 17 touchdowns through the air. Oregon State is averaging 242.8 passing yards per game, good for fifth in the conference.
"I know other teams expect us to pass because our two running backs are injured," quarterback Matt Moore said. "But I don't feel pressure and if the receivers feel that way, they are loving it."
Eye for an eye.
The Bruin offense torched the Beaver defense a year ago accumulating 497 yards of offense while putting up 51 points. UCLA scored at least 10 points a quarter and punted just three times.
Even though the coaches didn't include last year's film in this year's scouting film, safety Sabby Piscitelli still wanted to see 2005's debacle so he could use it as motivation.
"UCLA did whip us last year," center Kyle Devan said. "We are taking that as motivation. We are going to come out and try to do the same to them that they did to us last year."