Oregon State: Why the Beavers Win The Fairy Tale of Bears, Roses and a Prince
If recent history is any indication, and it often is, the Oregon State Beavers should win this match-up easily.
UCLA will take the field battered and beaten as of late, while losing embarrassingly to the Oregon Ducks, and losing key players to injuries. Meanwhile, Oregon State is riding high after finally beating an opponent definitively and climbing back into the Pac-10 cockpit.
As this showdown approaches, the focus turns to Pasadena as two teams drifting in opposite directions cross paths briefly, and the competitive level of play will be even more fleeting.
Here are three reasons why Oregon State rolls over UCLA in the Rose Bowl on Saturday.
3. Kevin Prince Is Out For The Season
After undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, Sophomore QB Kevin Prince is done for the season. He had been battling limited playing time while splitting snaps with fellow soph Richard Brehaut.
With Prince out, leadership will come into question for the Bruins, and they haven't seemed the same without him. Prince didn't participate in the last two match-ups for the Bruins, which were losses to No. 1 Oregon 60-13, and No. 13 Arizona 29-21, in which the UCLA never really seemed to have momentum.
UCLA now ranks near dead last (117) in the FBS in passing yards per game, averaging just over 120 yards a contest. While ranking 26th in rushing yards, that is actually an advantage for the Beavers.
It has been proven time and time again this season, the way to beat OSU's defense is sound, timely passing. The defensive line is led by Stephen Paea and is stingy on the ground. Meanwhile, linebackers and defensive backs for the Beavers struggled early, with slight improvement over the last few weeks.
Oregon State only allowed 206 total yards to the Cal Golden Bears, 183 of those yards coming through the air.
If Brehaut can't come up with the game of his life, UCLA is looking at a long evening and a dim Southern California sunset.
2. Defense Beginning To Stiffen For Beavers
It may have only been one game, but holding Cal to 206 yards of offense was a major boost for the Beavers' defense. Not to mention they nearly pitched a shutout, only to allow a meaningless touchdown late in the game.
While Cal is struggling this season, so are the Bruins. The Beavs didn't have an overwhelmingly impressive day on offense, but rather an average one by Oregon State's standards.
However, the reason the score stood out so much was because it wasn't a three-point victory with a last-second stand. The game was over early, and the offense was able to relax.
Senior linebacker Dwight Roberson has rallied the troops nicely, possibly calming the nerves of a young crew attempting to learn a new defense.
If the battle at the Rose Bowl is remotely similar, OSU should have this one wrapped up quickly, and the defense will get another boost on its way to Washington State, just in time for USC.
1. High-Powered Offense Meets Weak Defense
Before the 2010 season's birth, the talk of the town was the Heisman candidacy of RB Jacquizz Rodgers, but lately it's all about the emergence of Sophomore QB Ryan Katz, who has made strides in his progression from untested newbie to seasoned starter.
Katz has the ability to pick apart the secondary, and the Beavers' 29.9 points per game closely resembles the 30.4 ppg surrendered by the Bruins.
In theory, Oregon State only has to score 30 points to defeat UCLA, and it seems quite do-able against a depleted defense.
All signs point to a Beavers victory, and this one may not be a nail-biter after halftime. Look for Oregon State to come on slow at first, then pour it on in the second quarter and pull away in just a few minutes after halftime.
Prediction: Oregon State 38, UCLA 13