UCLA-Oregon State: Bruins Stage Big Comeback But Lose Fifth Straight, 26-19
One thing you can say about the UCLA Bruins in their Halloween battle with the Oregon State Beavers in Corvallis:
You can't fault them for not trying.
Trailing 19-3 in the fourth quarter, Kevin Prince threw two touchdown passes, one for 58 yards to Nelson Rosario, and made two 2-point conversions to tie the Beavers with 2:06 left in the game.
Then Oregon State proceeded to march 70 yards down the field, capped by James Rodgers' 17 yard misdirection touchdown run with 44 seconds left to break the Bruins' hearts, 26-19.
What particularly drove coach Rick Neuheisel's team crazy was that on the first play of the Beavers' last drive, Alterraun Verner dropped a sure pick-six that would have likely won the game. OSU moved the ball rather easily after that.
Though UCLA suffered their fifth consecutive loss and remains winless in the Pac-10 Conference, they showed something that their fans had not seen in quite a while...heart and character.
The fact that the Bruins came storming back to take the game to the wire showed that they are not ready to give up on the season just yet.
In addition to those TDs, Prince completed 22-of-34 passes for 323 yards and no interceptions, perhaps his best effort as the Bruin starter. Rosario also had his best day in a UCLA uniform with six catches for 152 yards in addition to his score.
Unfortunately the Bruins running backs rushed for a paltry 51 yards, while Oregon State's standout runner Jacquizz Rodgers not only gained 112 yards on the ground—the fifth straight time that an opposing running back passed the century mark against UCLA—he also threw a touchdown pass near the end of the first half to put the Beavers up 16-0.
Jacquizz's brother James added 106 yards on 10 catches in addition to his winning TD run. And OSU quarterback Sean Canfield threw for 305 yards as the Beavers turned a potential Halloween treat into an agonizing trick for the Bruins.
Despite this latest disappointment, the Bruin faithful were encouraged to see UCLA put up a fighting effort.
That fight will be handy for the Bruins' upcoming three games against Washington, Washington State and Arizona State, which they are definitely capable of winning.
Indeed these three contests, two of them at home, are UCLA's last chance to salvage a season that started out promising, but has gone south largely due to an ineffective offense (shades of 2008), and a sub-par defense against the run.
While no one knows if the Bruins will win those next three games, it's plain to see that if UCLA shows the fight and heart that was shown in Corvallis, their chances of ending their losing streak will be good.
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