Defensive matchups: Beavs and Bruins

UCLA HAS LOST four straight but the Bruin defense has played well for the most part. Last week, they forced five turnovers -- but still lost to Arizona when the offense couldn't turn enough of them into points. The Beavs are a 10-point favorite and the UCLA offense has struggled to put points on the board and run the football. But a closer look at the defensive matchups might surprise you..

Defensive Line: The Bruin front four will enter Saturday giving up 159.4 yards on the ground (eighth in the Pac-10).

Junior tackle Brian Price is the bell cow of the d-line and has four of the team's 13 total sacks plus a conference leading 11.5 tackles for loss. OSU ranks last in the Pac-10 with just four sacks and gave up 227 on the ground last week, double what they were allowing in games prior.

Pick: Push. Brian Price is every bit as effective as Steven Paea, OSU's defensive ends are struggling while UCLA DE Kory Bosworth is sixth on the team in tackles and has seven tackles for loss.

But where OSU falters in the pass rush, UCLA falters in trying to stop the run.

Linebackers: Kyle Bosworth and Reggie Carter fuel the UCLA defense and are 1-2 on the team in tackles with a combined 103 stops, including 12.5 for loss.

Add in Akeem Ayers and at the second level, UCLA is athletic and aggressive. Oregon State ‘backers had a dismal showing last week and played undisciplined football, albeit against a much praised offensive line.

The quartet of OSU linebackers, Keaton Kristick, David Pa'aluhi, Keith Pankey and Dwight Roberson, have 12.5 tackles for loss and 103 tackles on the season.

Pick: UCLA. What all four Beaver ‘backers have produced in tackles, UCLA's Bosworth and Carter have produced alone.

Secondary: Alterraun Verner is arguably the best corner in the conference. Verner has three picks on the season and has been a force off the edge in the run game with 42 tackles. Safety Tony Dye is tied with Verner with 42 recorded tackles.

The big playmaker in the UCLA secondary is free safety Rahim Moore. Moore has broken up 12 passes and recorded seven interceptions -- which leads both the conference and nation.

OSU safeties Lance Mitchell and Cameron Collins are steadily improving and have combined for eight pass breakups and two interceptions. And they're Nos. 2-3 on the team in tackles with a combined 61.5 stops. But there have also been growing pains.

James Dockery, Tim Clark and Brandon Hardin have played well in spots, but none have shown the big play potential to date and consistency has at times also been an issue.

Pick: UCLA. Verner and Moore are game changers and thus far have been simply a step up from the Beaver secondary.

Place Kicker: Justin Kahut has gone 11-14 with misses from 22, 53, and 47. Kai Forbath is one of the best in the country and has nailed 19-21 with his only misses from beyond 50.

Pick: UCLA. Forbath is NFL bound while Kahut is still finding his stride.

Punters: UCLA leads the league in net punting with a 42.3 yard average thanks to Jeff Locke's 46.5 yard average on his 35 punts. Locke has a long of 81. Johnny Hekker has done well for the Beavers averaging 42.8 on his 30 kicks.

Pick: UCLA. Difference is in the net average. UCLA-42.3 OSU-37.

Returners: James Rodgers and Terrence Austin are both dangerous in the punt return game. Rodgers is averaging 15 yards per and Austin 10.9. UCLA kick returners average 1.8 yards better than OSU's 24 yards per return.

Pick: Push. Rodgers and Austin are game changers and dangerous every time they touch the ball.

BeaverBlitz Top Stories