Down with the Trojans!
The sports world was stunned earlier today when head coach Prewitt left the USC Trojans to take over the arch-rival UCLA Bruins.
Prewitt leaves the following legacy behind:
5 playoff appearances
2 championship game appearances (no titles)
37-3 conference mark
5-0 record against UCLA
Four recruiting classes ranked: #1, #8, #1, #4
Postseason record: 8-5
Average CPU rank: 6
Speculation is that the coach was dismayed over the recent playoff loss to Utah and increasingly frustrated by his relationship with AD Antwaan Lockett. Rumors are that UCLA has offered a 70% bump in pay to take over the very mediocre Bruins. As of yet there has been no comment from USC officials on this matter.
DOla, there is no WAY UCLA would offer a 70% pay raise. Even to Pete Carroll right now. Hell, they wouldnt even pay 70% more for Wooden!
A quick look at where UCLA stands:
Conf Record: 21-19
Postseason Appearances: 4
Postseason Record: 2-2 (no playoff games)
Average CPU rank: 44
USC is currently the class of the conference, with Oregon recently separating from the rest of the pack as the runner-up. Below is a list of the prestige rankings for the conference members:
Oregon St 61
Arizona St 57
Washington St 57
Seeing as how the biggest prestige jump I ever made while at USC was two points, it looks like I will be in this for the long haul if I intend to bring down the Trojans. It will be even harder since they are our arch-rival and beating them is a big part of our expectations.
I figured I might have you along for the ride, MrBug :)
A 70% raise isn't all that significant when USC was offering peanuts. They evidently felt that their program could run itself. UCLA is now offering me a fair salary relative to the market. And the Bruins board seems eager to shed the label of 'basketball school'.
A look at last years grade shows Recruiting as an A. This is very encouraging. I recall they landed a Top 10 RB - when I was at USC we had two maxed out guys at the position who were heading into their SO and JR seasons so I didn't pursue him hard.
The talent level is listed as "B".
I like the looks of the Defensive Coordinator a great deal. Ben Liddiard is 46 years old with 17 years in the business. UCLA recently picked him up from a successful Oklahoma St team. The Bruins were 18th in the nation in points allowed last season.
Special teams coach Randy Snow is serviceable.
Offensive Coordinator Gary Lawson is a problem I would like to fix. His offenses have performed pretty well in terms of points and rankings, but a look at his attributes doesn't show anything standing out. I suspect that our talent is showing up despite this guy. I need to decide quickly if he stays or goes.
Looking back at USC, it appears they hired an assistant from Tennessee to take over. Another cheap hire - hope that guy is in over his head as we will take any and all help catching up to those guys.
Special teams coach Snow has opted out of his contract. Better him than our defensive coordinator.
We make an offer to Teag Collier, who looks like a strong motivator. His development skills are considered average, but otherwise he is a respect coach with 20 years of experience.
The fact that Snow left nudges me towards giving OC Lawson a shot at impressing me next season. Hope that doesn't turn out to be a mistake.
Teag sits on our offer for two weeks before finally coming aboard. I suspect he was shopping for better offers that never materialized. Which is fine; we'll judge him based on his performance going forward.
With transfers upon us, now would be a good time to look at what have coming back next year, starting with the offense:
QB - JR Jack Burford has started for 1.5 years. He was a highly rated HS recruit (#40 in nation) and has come along well. Great touch and discipline, still has some room to grow. We need to keep him healthy enough to win games for us. If/when he gets hurt we have SO Harold Edwards as a fallback option. Edwards was another highly touted HS player (#30) who is coming along in the Bruins' system. Great touch, instincts, and a big arm are his strengths. Privately, I've been told his work ethic leaves something to be desired. Perhaps he enjoys being B.M.O.C a little too much, particularly since he hasn't earned that role yet. All in all, this position is not a priority for us.
RB - Oscar Gray is a walkon (#1863) made good. He is a two year starter who has compiled over 3,000 yards and 25 TDs already and is considering leaving a year early for the pros. Doesn't have prototypical speed, but accelerates well and understands how to run with and without the football. As good as Gray has been, he might not start next year. SO Derrick Brown was the #5 recruit in the nation prior to arriving in LA and he is just oozing potential. He has speed and agility that you can't teach. We plan to get him as many touches as possible, including some duty on kick returns. On top of everything else Derrick is very durable. If we have a compaint, perhaps he could be a little more aggressive. We have four players at this position and three are upperclassmen. We will need to look for depth here.
FB: A pile of suck. Three guys who have no business holding scholarships. Soph Hagood Morris is the best of the lot. We'll ask him to block and carry the ball every once in awhile when we are up (or down - gulp) 20 points. One senior here. We would love to add some talent at this position.
WR: There is some talent here, but it is raw and we could use some more bodies. There are five players here, four of which are underclassmen, and only two that should be on a good team. Gary Brewer was the #1 wideout in his HS class (#23 overall) and he moved into the UCLA starting lineup from day 1 last year. He has video-game caliber moves and knows how to use his speed. We expect him to play at the next level. Bill Stablein was much less heralded (#261) than his classmate Brewer but also came in to start as a freshman and contribute. He is a traditional possession receiver; he has a knack for getting open against zones and catches everything thrown at him. We need to bring in some more talent here to supplement these two but I'm happy with the foundation at wideout.
TE: Three decent players, two of which are seniors. This group might be better than the TEs I left behind on the other side of town. Pettis Larscheid is the starter and has amassed over 1200 yards in his college career. FR TJ Thomas will be a serviceable option for the next four years if we can't land a stud. He has good hands and is equally adept at run and pass blocking.
OT: These guys stink so much they make our fullbacks look like All-Americans. Huge, giant need. No seniors, 2 freshmen. I'm excited about the opportunity to cut these guys in the near future.
OG: 5 players, 3 seniors. Both starters are seniors and Rod Wolford is a real talent. Rod has started the last two seasons and amassed 46 pancakes and 28 key run blocks. Rod works like a madman and is pretty agile for a 300 pounder. Bill Westbrook is a run-blocking fool who should attempt to improve in the passing game for his final season.
C: see OT.
On the offensive side of the ball we need a ton of help in the trenches. After graduation this year there is not a single guy on the roster right now that I want to waste my time yelling at for the next few years. The secondary need is at FB, with depth at RB ranking as a very distant 3rd.
A review of the defense:
DE: JR Chaun Walters brings an evil grin to my face. He was a starter last year but we expect big things from him in the coming year. He is a natural disruptor who has the speed to run past offensive tackles and a certain nastiness when he hits a man in the backfield. As you might guess from a guy who spells his first name "C-H-A-U-N" he has some classroom issues. (Note - my apologies to all of the Chaun's reading this). SO Joe Banducci will need to take a big step forward next year, as the other guys at this position don't have the talent to play at this level.
DT: Found my first need on the defensive end. Five guys, two of which will graduate next year, none of whom have skill or the potential to develop skill. The best of the lot is a redshirt freshman, Chuck Wayne, who was the #2759 recruit in his class. And he is not a success story like our man Oscar Gray.
ILB: Four guys here, none of them upperclassmen. I like this position a great deal. Jerry McCullough was a borderline Top 100 guy coming out of high school (#115) and he immediately started in the Pac 10. Bright, good tackler, instinctive, and able to shed blockers. It all translated to 84 tackles as a redshirt freshman. He will be a leader on defense this year. Scott Wilson redshirted last year, but has the makings of a good one. He has speed and acceleration that are normally associated with DBs. He also delivers a pop when he hits you. We have a third guy, Bryant Bruschi, who should see significant playing time.
OLB: Two guys who will play behind our inside linebackers. Seriously, we are going to have defensive issues since neither our DL or LBs have enough standout players to get after opponents. Neither of our OLBs are seniors. JR Brice Crocker will see time, just as he has for the last two years. He is plain vanilla, with his best attributes being his durability and leaping. So we know who to call on to block a field goal.
CB: 5 players, 1 senior. Not a very good group right now but should develop into an average collection of talent with experience. SR Alvin Brown is the leader at this position. He has started for the last two years and has 4 INTs and 36 pass deflections to his name. Alvin was supposed to be a difference-maker here (#29 recruit as a HS senior) but that hasn't happened yet. FR Ken Byrd will compete for the 2nd CB spot, but he is better fit as a nickel back. Right now he is more of an athlete than a shutdown corner.
S: Pretty decent group, especially compared to several other positions on this defense. Five players, four sophs and one senior. Greg Moore saw significant minutes as a freshman. We like his nose for the football and tackling ability. Coach on the field type. We need to keep him healthy. Noland King came out of nowhere last season to grab a starting job during the back half of his freshman year. He has a good motor and the ability to change directions on the fly very quickly. Unfortunately, he is not the most instinctive football player.
I'll throw the special teams guys in here as well:
K: JR Ron McMullen is the kind of kicker you love to have on your team. Very accurate, pretty decent leg strength. He is 57-62 over the last two years and is just about automatic inside 50.
P: SO Harry Dayne should be among the best punters in the land. I don't have a lot of pithy comments on punters, but at least I don't have to worry about this position for the next few years.
On to the transfers - there are a couple of targets who express interest. The most attractive one is OT Jason Noa. Jason played at Purdue last year and would be a sure-fire starter for us if he can be talked into coming out west.
There is a very good TE out of Michigan, but we have depth at that position. I would rather target positions of need at this point, even if this player would elevate the overall talent on our roster.
We also take a shot at OG Matt Ours from Mississippi. He is talented enough that he would start for two seasons in LA. He wants PT, but I'm not sure he would get it next season.
We'll shoot for ILB Bernie Allen out of Virginia Tech. Not a need position, but he seems interested in playing for us and we need more quality linebackers, if not inside guys.
No dice on any of them. And at this stage there is no one with anything above low interest in playing here. We'll save our recruiting points.
As an aside, what strategies have people used with transfers? I have never landed one yet with four teams across about 10 seasons. And I really would have liked to pick one up for this flawed UCLA team.
I'll be following along and hope you enjoy your time at UCLA. Of course, it could never be as fun as USC ;)
USC was a lot of fun to play for 5 years. Hopefully some of the lessons I learned there are equally applicable across town :)
Expectations are high for recruiting, based on past success convincing students to attend USC. I have tried to explain to the administration that recruiting UCLA and USC are different animals, but I know that we have to deliver in this area if we are ever to successfully compete with the Trojans.
Our first signee is center Nick Moore. We hope that Nick is able to come in and start as a freshman.
We add on DE Ronald Smith. There were some rumors that he didn't want us pursuing him, but that appears to have been a false rumor spread by someone intent on underming us ... wonder who that might be? Ronald should get snaps immediately.
WRs Cliff Byrum and Ben Jackson - we now have a very deep group of receivers, trick is going to be to keep everyone happy. But our QBs should be very pleased with their weapons next year.
We are scouring the west coast for fullbacks and defensive tackles. No DTs worth a damn on this side of the Mississippi and no FBs interested in playing at UCLA. Hopefully we can overcome some of the holes on this team next season.
Time to hear about guys going pro - I recall that Gray was looking but don't know about other guys on the team ...
Ick. Three guys moving onto the pros early. While that is good for the program in the sense that we are producing talent it is not exactly music to my ears. I have no loyalty to these guys who are leaving, since they only played against me.
RB Oscar Grey
DE Chaun Walters
OG Rod Wolford
So, DE and OG have become areas where we lacked depth to areas where we lack talent. Looks like Ronald Smith just got his crack at a starting job.
It is with some interest that I note that USC loses DT John Coleman. He was Defensive POY last season and is by far my favorite player from the days at USC. But no other defections, which means they will still have a stable of 5 star talent at WR and RB next year.
This is a little messed up - early Pac 10 departures:
UCLA - 3
Washington State - 3
USC - 1
Cal - 1
Arizona - 1
I would prefer that we not have 1/3 of the conference early departures unless we are ruling it with an iron fist. But Washington St also losing 3? Does anyone have any ideas on how to manage player loyalty? Are unhappy players more likely to leave early for pros, just like for transfers?
Week 13 is usually the biggest signing day for me in the game. Here is a list of the additional players I've signed prior to Week 13:
RB Dwayne Baker - real reach at RB, but I thought I was hunting for depth behind two studs instead of a potential impact guy.
OT Yale Givens - I'm looking for him to start as a freshman. The fact that he is the #227 recruit in the land is indicative of our tackle issues.
Hope we have a flood of defensive signings next week.
Week 13 was not hugely eventful, as it had been for USC where we usually brought in 5-8 players. We ink three more:
OT Lonnie Smith - if he and Givens are able to step into starting lineup then we can start cutting the deadwood we inherited at tackle.
OLB Travis Wilcox - we want to point this kid at the QB as often as possible (97 blitzer). #101 recruit in the nation, I'm hoping we got a stud here. Likely starter right away since our returning outside linebackers are brutal.
ILB Ben Arthur - going to be very hard not to think of B. Arthur without recalling a joke at a roast a few years back. Adds to a good group of inside LBs, hope we can find him minutes if he earns them.
We haven't lost a single recruit to USC yet. Which makes me think that we aren't going head-to-head much. We have 3 top 100 recruits so far but for now the bulk of our classes is likely to be in the 100-300 range.
We see a steady streaming of players coming in over the closing weeks - lots of OLB and more WRs. Our position balance isn't enviable, but hopefully we are building the kind of quality depth to compete. The trick for next year, if we win, will to begin looking for coaches who really know how to develop that talent.
Overall recruit info:
5 star recruits - 4 (highest is WR Jackson at #37)
4 star recruits - 9
3 star recruits - 8
No 2 or 1 star recruits.
A quick spin through the recruits pre-training indicates that we have some serious horses at WR (transfer almost inevitable) and that I'm going to get my wish on cutting offensive tackles. The improvement on the O-Line should be substantial. Incoming DE Smith is almost a lock to start as the D-Line still stinks out loud. We are deep with linebackers and brought in marginal depth in the secondary.
Time to head to camp, hopefully to see some breakout performers.
Well, people took note of our recruiting class - it was considered the best in the nation! Now lets see if I can win with our young talent ...
Board expectations are partly realistic, partly crazy talk. They expect Top 25, win over USC, and bowl appearance. Well, we are preseason #19 (media) and #20 (coaches) so that seems feasible. But beat USC? Nothing like asking you to win on the road against the preseason #1.
Looking at the schedule I see we have a non-conference game against Pitt - on the road, week before heading to USC.
ACADEMICS: BELOW AVERAGE
3 blue (RB Brown, K McMullen, P Dayne) - good to know our special teams are solid.
6 green (2 QBs) - decent mix of offense and defense
WR Jackson 3.0/5.0
OT Givens 3.0/5.0
DE Smith 3.0/5.0
OLB Swilling 3.0/4.0
WR Brooking 3.0/4.5
WR Byrum 3.0/5.0
Quick around the horn, by position, to note where we have changes from pre-recruiting notes. Note - lineups assume vertical passing and 3-4 D, which I may not run:
HB - it is going to be the Derrick Brown show. Good thing he is durable, as the backups are not good.
WR - Jackson is listed as the starter on the depth chart ahead of Stablein. We are very deep here.
OT - English and Givens are listed as starters, just as I had hoped. Nameless cuts will take place, no doubt about it. Now a deep position.
OG - tough loss to pros, FR Jones moves into starters role. Pretty clear I will need a coach who can develop OLine with the young talent there.
C - Moore takes the starting job. 4 of 5 offensive linemen are freshmen.
DE - Smith takes a starting job.
OLB - two freshmen, Wilcox and Swilling, are listed as starters. Good depth here now.
Wish we had landed some impact players in the secondary, but hard to gripe about the last recruiting class.
Budget time - the computer recommends the cheap west coast service.
Greydog - 40k
Gridiron - 75k
Recruit Power - 110k
I bump it up to Gridiron. I hate going cheap on recruiting but I'm not comfortable with the cuts I would have to make in order to get up to Recruit Power. I've gotten used to having about 2.5 mil with USC and I'm a little over 2 mil with UCLA. So there are a lot of areas that have to give, in relative terms. And I do recognize that this is a fortune compared to what Troy and other small schools start with :eek:
I'm interested in hearing what other people prioritize - do they cut everything for one area that is not negotiable? If so, is that area coaching, recruiting, or something else?
We elect to go with the West Coast offense instead of the recommended vertical. Both of our QBs have big arms as well as good touch. But the offensive line isn't yet ready to have to sustain pass blocks for deep strikes on a regular basis. Or at least that is what I'm using as my decision process.
We'll stay with the 3-4 defense. We have more depth and talent at linebacker than any other position so I think this is the proper defense to emphasize that. I don't like our CBs enough to go 4-6 and don't have enough confidence in our safeties to experiment much. Secondary is going to be a big push for recruiting next season.
Redshirts - I struggle with the decision on players who are future impact guys that aren't good enough to start. We will have that issue at WR this year.
I put WR Mike Voight as a redshirt. He would be sixth in line this year as a 2.5/5.0 recruit. But should I also redshirt Nate Brooking (3.0/4.5) and Cliff Bynum (3.0/5.0) if they aren't going to see the ball much as 4th and 5th options? We have four receiver sets in our West Coast package, but I'm probably going to see if I can get away with two redshirts this year at WR. However, all of the guys ahead of them this year will be back again next season. So I don't see a way to avoid a transfer ...
We also redshirt OT Anthony Archie (1.5/4.5). Same issue, though. There are four guys ahead of him who are in his class.
ILB - we keep B. Arthur on the active roster. Running a 3-4 means he should get some time as the 4th ILB option.
We end up redshirting 8 players total. Since half of our roster is listed as freshmen we need to restore some kind of class balance.
We were regularly in the Top 5 for strength of schedule at USC, but that can't happen this year at UCLA. We need to win our non-conference games to help build this young team.
A home-and-home with BYU sounds about right.
A home game against Fresno St is also requested.
And an away game at South Florida - give the guys a nice road trip on a week where there are limited options.
Fresno wimps out, but the other games are set. I try to give the local team a taste of Pac 10 play but they decline. Oh well ...
Colorado St seems like a good fall-back plan. And it is set.
Final schedule for the year:
Week 1: @ BYU
Week 2: Colorado St
Week 4: @ South Florida
Week 6: Arizona
Week 7: @ Arizona St
Week 8: @ Washington St
Week 9: Stanford
Week 10: Washington
Week 11: @ Cal
Week 12: Oregon St
Week 13: @ Pitt
Week 14: @ USC
Too many road games this year, will have to adjust that for next season.
Academics are frightening - 16 players in trouble and 85 hours to address them. What is exasperating about this is that I spent considerable effort on my recruits (at least in the earlier stages) to bypass academic busts. I didn't look at anyone below 2.3 for GPA.
Freshman WR Ben Jackson, the gem of our class, comes in with a 1.75 GPA. Dude, try going to class once in awhile. It appears he is bringing fellow freshman WR Cliff Byrum to the same parties (1.75). Cliff, if you had hit the books then you might have take Ben's job when he is suspended.
I have nowhere near enough points to go around, so only the starters get points. I assign 5-7 points each to WR Jackson, FB Hagood Morris (deep drop to 2nd stringer), CB Ken Byrd, and ILB Scott Wilson. We will be losing a lot of depth heading into Pac 10 play, but hopefully we keep our starters eligible.
We are listed as 17 point favorites heading to BYU. With a young O-Line and a bad D I would be nervous betting on the Bruins just yet.
Brown breaks off a nine yard run on my first play as the UCLA coach.
Harold Edwards comes in and throws a 42 yard strike to Gary Brewer to put us at the BYU 29.
Burford hits Stablein for a 13 yard TD pass, nice play by WR to pull in a ball thrown behind him. 7-0 just 2 1/2 minutes into the game.
We sack the BYU QB on their first offensive play, 3 yard loss. Amazingly enough, it was a DT that broke through. Don't expect to hear the name Rachal all that often this year ...
BYU hits a 26 yard pass, moving up near midfield.
We lose our one good CB, Alvin Brown, to some kind of finger injury. It doesn't look like he will return.
After the sack, BYU rips our defense apart. They go 83 yards in 9 plays, finishing with a 15 yard TD pass. Their QBs were 6-6 on the drive for 68 yards. 7-7, 9:24 left in the first quarter.
Brown with a return out to the 43.
After a false start, Brown breaks off a 62 yard TD run. 14-7, 8:39 left in quarter.
BYU's 2nd drive isn't as effective. CB Kevin Hamilton records an interception and returns it 19 yards to their 35.
Another one play drive involving Brown - Edwards lofts a pass that Brown runs down and sprints into the end zone. 21-7, 7:12 left in first quarter. Just wow.
DE Ben Baker gets a sack on next BYU play from scrimmage. They go 3 and out.
We start at our 42.
We go for a deep pass on 3rd and 1 from 49. No dice, but we go for it on 4th and moves the chains with a pass to the TE. But he coughs it up and BYU takes over at their 47.
BYU goes 3 and out, punt into end zone.
We go three and out, ending with a sack. But a 58 yard punt pushes BYU back to their 30.
Quarter ends with a 21-7 score.
BYU is again taking names on this drive. A 22 yard pass play is followed by a 19 yard run. But a holding call pushes them back to their 33.
We lose FS Lamar Rosenbach (not a name you see every day) to a knee injury, he is unlikely to return.
BYU boots a 46 yard FG, 21-10. 12:45 left in 2nd quarter.
Brown runs it out to 45.
After a holding penalty, Burford gets the ball out to Brewer, who hurdles a safety and runs away from the defense for a 63 yard TD! 28-7, 11:41 left in 2nd quarter. We aren't big on long drives. We have 6 first downs, 250 yards, and 28 points in just over a quarter.
We snuff the next BYU drive around midfield with a 3rd down sack. DT Singletary wrapped up the QB.
Smith breaks off a 24 yard run, is up to 104 yards on 6 carries.
Burford hits TE Pettis Larscheid in stride. The big man stiff-arms a would-be-tackler and rumbles 25 yards to the one yard line.
Illegal motion takes away a TD plunge.
Backup RB Dwayne Baker takes it in from six yards out. 35-10, 4:44 remaining in half. That drive was 10 plays for 78 yards.
We lose another safety for the game to an injury. This time it is SS Noland King, who suffers a neck injury.
BYU goes 3 and out. A big punt pushes us back to our 24.
BYU forces a 3 and out by stuffing Brown on 3rd and 1.
A brutal punt (26 yards) sets up BYU at their 42 with some time to work with (1:30).
BYU is stuffed, another 3 and out. The clock runs out, 35-10 at half.
2nd half highlights/lowlights:
Q3 11:38 Brown runs in from 3 yards out. 42-10
Q3 8:33 BYU 43 yard FG. 42-13
Q3 6:35 DT Rachal forces a fumble deep in BYU territory. The ball is recovered by the Bruins and advanced to BYU 10 (had to get another Rachal mention in). The DE who recovered the ball, Joe Banducci, is injured and will not return.
Q3 6:19 10 yard TD pass from QB Edwards to TE Finlan. 49-13
Q3 2:00 BYU 38 yard FG. 49-16
Q3 0:23 Edwards throws a 32 yard TD pass to TE Larscheid. 56-16
Q4 12:05 QB Burford throws 61 yard TD pass to Brewer. 63-16
Q4 9:08 QB Edwards to WR Ben Jackson, 58 yards. 70-16
Q4 3:35 K McMullen kicks 25 yard FG. 73-16
Noteworthy Performances - where to start?
QB Jack Burford 12-16 277 yards, 3 TDs
QB Harold Edwards 12-14 236 yards, 4 TDs
RB Derrick Brown 18 rushes, 143 yards, 2 TDs. 3 rec 78 yards, 1 TD
WR Gary Brewer 5 catches, 184 yards, 2 TDs
DE Ronald Smith 5 tackles, 2 STF, 3 hurries, 1 DP, 1 FF
ILB J McCullough 6 tackles, 5 assists, 1 hurry, 1 DP, 1 INT, 1 PD
We lost time of possession, 26:58 to 33:02.
All in all, a good day at the office to start the career. And we covered for everyone who bet on the Bruins.
Injuries are not too serious. We'll sit our starting SS Noland King to allow him to recover from a strained neck. He could go if he had to, but I would rather rest guys who are listed as 5-7 weeks.
We move up to #16 (media) and #17 (coaches) in the polls. There were few surprises in Week 1 - Virginia Tech falling 31-27 to Idaho is the only one involving a Top 25 team. That is a pretty big surprise, as Virginia Tech is very strong; they are the only team in the first five years to post an undefeated season.
After one week we have the #1 offense in the nation. 689 yards per game is going to be hard to sustain.
We are listed as 21 point favorites at home against Colorado St. They have yet to play a game. Bookmakers are not overreacting to last weeks game, nor should they.
We nearly fill the Rose Bowl - 97,798 on hand on a beautiful late summer day.
On opening play Edwards hits Brewer for 32 yards. Brewer's momentum carried him out of bounds, but a great fingertip grab sets us up Rams territory.
Inside the 5, WR Stablein goes down with a neck injury. Early word is that he will return.
Burford converts with Brown on a one yard screen pass. 7-0 Bruins, 10:31 left in the first quarter.
We stuff the run on 3rd and 2 to force Colorado St into 3 and out.
CB Brown returns the 38 yard punt 26 yards to set us up on the opposing 30 yard line.
Brown runs for 15 on 3rd and 10.
He runs for 15 more, and a TD, on his next carry. 14-0, 7:19 to play in the quarter.
CSU QB Kevin Lehr looks to run, picking up a first down on back to back carries.
CB Alvin Brown, for 2nd straight game, leaves in first quarter with an injury. He is not likely to return.
Lehr hits back to back 15+ yard completions.
Lehr picks up a 3rd and 12.
The Rams pick up 2 on 3rd and 2 at our four. But they can't punch it in on next three runs and settle for a 22 yard field goal to end a 14 play drive. 6:48 is one of the longer drives I've seen for time of possession. 14-3, 0:11 left in quarter.
RB Baker explodes for a 45 yard run. At the end of it the Colorado State middle linebacker clobbers him, forcing a fumble. A hustling offensive lineman falls on the ball to retain possession.
Next play, from the Rams 12, Brown gets past the D-Line and is sizing up the end zone when he is blindsided by OLB Robert Nix. Brown fumbles and this time CSU dives on the ball to halt our drive.
The ball must be slick today. On 3rd down, Rams QB Lehr doesn't see anyone open so he tucks the ball and runs into OLB Hank Swilling. Hank doesn't mess around, jarring the ball loose for DE Ben Baker to dive on. Our ball at the CSU 20.
We go one yard in three plays. 37 yard field goal, 17-3 with 11:18 to play in the half.
The run defense is stout - 3 and out again for Colorado St. We return the punt to the CSU 37 and get five more yards on a facemask penalty.
One play drive - Burford 32 yards to Stablein (back from neck injury). The PAT is blocked, 23-3, 9:10 remaining in half.
CSU RB Derrick Tant is running very hard this drive, picking up a pair of first downs. The Rams run a screen pass that fools the defense, setting up a first down inside the 20. DT Dat Cash grabs his hamstring on that play and limps off the field.
Lehr throws a striek to Tant in the end zone from 10 yards out. 23-10, 5:00 left in half.
QB Edwards has a ball deflected at the line of scrimmage; it soars high in the air before being caught by OLB Robert Nix. The ball is returned to the CSU 48 yard line. OG Bill Westbrook, the one non-freshman starter up front, hurt his elbow on the play and will not return.
We spot the offense 15 yards with a facemask penalty. Two more first downs set up Colorado State with first and goal at the four. Back-to-back runs results in 3 yards and a 3rd and goal from the half-yard line. On the snap, RB Dant stumbles and is hit hard in the backfield. He takes exception and pushes the facemask of a Bruin player. Unnecessary Roughness, 4th and 17.
Of course, they miss the 35 yard field goal. Wide left.
We go 3 and out, punt the ball with time winding down in half.
CSU isn't able to do anything in the remaining time. 23-10 at the break.
Total yards are about even - both teams near 200.
CSU has had ball for 20 of 30 minutes.
CSU goes 3 and out to start 2nd half.
CSU is really playing good D right now. On 3rd and 14 they level D. Brown after he catches a ball in the flat. Fumble, Rams recover, at our 37. That is the 2nd time that Brown has coughed it up today.
Defense makes a stop, forces a 38 yard field goal attempt. It is short. Short?
The offense gets back to their quick strike ways. Brown breaks off a 20 yard run. Three plays later it is Edwards to Stablein for a 37 yard TD pass. Burford tries to run for two but fails. 29-23, 7:57 left in 3rd quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff we bring them down at the 33 but the kicker is called for spearing. Now that is a dumb, dumb penalty.
CSU's QB picks up 17 on a scramble. If he is doing this to us then we are in real trouble against Stanford, who has a very good mobile QB.
FS Greg Moore leaves the game clutching his upper arm. He appears to be in a lot of pain.
CSU gets a 10 yard TD pass, cutting the margin to 29-17 with 5:24 left in 3rd quarter.
We go 3 and out next possession, including one sack by the defense.
We pop Lehr on a scramble, but they recover the fumble. We aren't having much luck when the ball is on the ground today. They have recovered four of the five fumbles.
RB Tant is almost at 100 yards after a 13 yard run to our 23 yard line.
Our secondary is dropping like flies - CB Ken Byrd leaves the game with a knee injury.
Lehr takes it in from 4 yards out on broken 3rd and 3 play. The extra point is partially blocked and is no good! 29-23, 14:32 left in game.
Brown runs the kick back to the 41.
On 3rd and 6 Burford threw a long ball to WR Brewer for a 54 yard gain. The CB was torched by a fake, but the Rams safety swept in to prevent a TD. First and goal at the one.
Brown runs it in from there. No fumble.
Edwards finds Brewer for a 2 point conversion. 37-23, 12:21 left in game.
On CSU's first play, Lehr completes a pass but DE Ben Baker is on the scene to deliver a big hit, knocking the ball loose. He dives on the ball. The refs rule that WR Bennett did have possession and it was a fumble. UCLA ball near midfield. Strange to see a DE making plays like that 15-20 yards downfield.
Brewer goes over 100 yard mark with an 18 yard reception.
Brown picks up a 3rd and 1 to keep the chains moving.
We face a 4th and 1 at the CSU 6. It looks like the offense wanted to go for it, but they took too much time getting the play in.
On 4th and 6 they line up a 29 yard FG. McMullen, Mr. Automatic, misses it. Just wide to the left.
D forces a 3 and out.
we have an ugly 3 and out, no plays close to connecting.
But on the punt our special teams strips the ball, recovering at the Rams 34.
CSU is in desperation mode on defense. They are called for two penalties, helping us inch closer to the goal line.
They bring the house after Burford and force a mistake. The OLB gets a pick, their ball on their own 3 yard line. 3:30 left to play, CSU needs to score quickly.
Lehr runs for 19 yards. We are not dealing well with the mobile QB.
Lehr was called for passing beyond the line of scrimmage on 3rd down, setting up 4th and 14 from deep in their own territory.
On 4th Lehr and RB Zant got crossed up on their pattern. ILB Scott Wilson, who has had a strong game, was the beneficiary of an easy interception.
RB Brown hits the century mark with a 12 yard carry near the end of regulation.
On the play QB Edwards was popped in the jaw. The UCLA sideline is incensed, but there is no penalty.
McMullen connects on a 33 yard field goal. 40-23, 0:33 remaining.
Lehr airs it out, incomplete on each of his first three attempts.
On 4th down he tries to buy time but is buried from behind on a sack. Another brutal play in a very chippy football game.
WR Bill Stablein - 5 catches, 87 yards, 2 TDs.
RB Derrick Brown - 20 carries, 96 yards, 2 TDs. 5 catches, 18 yards, 1 TD. 2 fumbles lost.
OG Bill Westbrook - 4 key run blocks before leaving with injury.
DE Ben Baker - 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries.
ILB Jerry McCullough - 9 tackles, 1 assist, 3 STF, 1 hurry, 2 passes defended
Brown is voted player of the game, but I give the nod to Stablein for his tough play coming back from an injury and hanging 2 TDs on the Rams.
The first Eligibility Report is in - how many players suspended? By a minor miracle, and perhaps some bogus term papers, we only lose three guys:
CB Ken Byrd
ILB Scott Wilson
WR Cliff Byrum
Wilson is a good player, but we are deep at the position. Ditto WR. CB Byrd isn't at all a special player but neither are the other guys in the secondary. Particuarly at the rate that they are getting hurt in games.
In other news, we are up to #12 in both polls.
Miami has assumed the top spot after a 37-23 win against #17 Wisconsin (previously #9)
USC opened their season by hammering East Carolina 62-23.
Oregon St is listed at #18.
We are off next week.
We fall a little in the polls during the off-week, down to 13 (M)/15 (C).
The injury list is a little longer today - thanks to the no-talent hacks from Colorado State.
- QB Harold Edwards - tough guy wants to play through a broken jaw. I expect that we will reduce his snaps, but still give him some time.
- OG Bill Westbrook - a torn elbow tendon doesn't keep this offensive lineman down. We need him to provide leadership to a very young group.
- DT Dat Cash - resting a torn hamstring. We won't give him the option to be available.
- CB Ken Byrd - we'll sit him and his strained MCL. CB is thin with this injury, the suspension, and the overall lack of talent or understanding of coverage.
- FS Greg Moore - strained bicep will sideline him. We are begging teams to pass on us right now.
- SS Noland King - strained neck. Another guy we will rest, if we have enough bodies to play.
Time to burn the redshirt on a stiff at safety. FS Ken Roberg, a walkon, is brought in to help put 11 men on the field. Ken has few redeeming qualities, but one of them is that he is indestructible. Slow, not terribly bright, and possessing hands of stone, but indestructible.
We play with the depth chart and I take this opportunity to get B. Arthur some more playing time - special teams duty, here he comes.
Southern Cal is back atop the polls. Guess the voters liked what they saw in a 49-13 ambush of Kansas. There were no losses in the Top 25 this week. That will change, as there are a number of good games coming up.
South Florida is 0-2. They have the #112 offense and the #119 defense. They are giving up over 600 yards a game. We are averaging 546 yards a game, good for 4th in the nation.
We are listed as a 15 point favorite. This is the first time as the UCLA coach I have felt good about us covering a number. And that is with a patchwork secondary for a team that couldn't play defense even when healthy. I just think USF is that bad.
For the matchup, USF's TE is cited as the key. He has 94 yards in two games. But you have to go with something like that when the starting QB hasn't thrown a TD pass and the RB is averaging 1.44 yards per carry.
Brown runs for 28 on first play.
3 and out after that.
The USF running back, on 3rd and 10, runs for 39 yards. 1.44 ypc?
They butcher the handoff on 3rd and 1, forcing a punt.
Ben Jackson makes a one-handed grab, good for 18 yards.
Burford hits Stablein up the middle for 38 yards on a 3rd and 8. He is taken down at the 15.
The defense loses Brown on a flare pass from the 15. Another 3rd down pickup, TD.
That was a 13 play, 95 yard drive. 4:16 is an eternity for our offense. 7-0 with 5:24 left in first quarter.
The UCLA defense is busting up the run, forcing a punt.
USF forces a punt, registering a sack on 3rd and 5. 3 and out for the UCLA offense.
Dayne's punt travels 26 yards. USF will have the ball at our 43 yard line.
One play drive - we are not usually on receiving end of those. But QB Romero hits a dump-off pass that turns into a leisurely stroll downfield. Our secondary was nowhere to be found on that play. 7-7, 0:44 left in quarter.
Brown runs for 22 to get the drive started on last play of 1st quarter.
OT Lonie Smith leaves the game with an elbow injury and is not expected back.
Burford is picked off to snuff this drive.
We give USF a first down via a defensive holding call.
But drive dies there. USF shanked the punt, sacrificing field position.
Our offense is DOA today. 3 and out.
OLB Travis Wilcox rolls and ankle and is helped off the field.
USF is stringing together first downs on this drive, moving into field goal range.
That ends when RB Young is blasted by DE Joe Banducci. The ball pops loose and Banducci picks it up in stride. 67 yards later, he is ready for some gas after scoring his first career TD. 14-7, 6:06 left in half.
USF goes 3 and out after failing to connect on a screen pass.
We can't get any real momentum going on our next possession. Burford is brutal today. 6-18 for 87 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT with about two minutes to go in half.
The defense is earning their pay today. CB Kevin Hamilton lowers the boom on a wide receiver on a crossing route. Fumble, picked up by Lamar Rosenbach, and we are at the USF 45.
Burford finally gets going in the two minute drill. He finishes the drive with a tight pass to Brewer from 3 yards out. 21-7, 0:21 left in half.
Brown has 86 yards on only 10 carries.
USF, without the two fumbles, would be right in this game.
USF makes another turnover to start the 2nd half, fumbling the opening kick. Brown is on the coverage team? He recovers the fumble at the USF 19.
The offense goes 3 and out, but a 36 yard field goal puts points on the board and makes it a three score lead. 24-7, 12:56 left in quarter.
USF gets a big return, taking it all the way to our 39. Stits, the WR who scored the TD, was on the return.
The Bulls offense doesn't really get going, and they have to settle for a 45 yard field goal. 24-10, 10:40 left in quarter.
Burford has a better drive, picking up a couple of first down.
FB Morris converts a 3rd and 2.
The 11 play drive stalls in the red zone. McMullen comes on for a 33 yard field goal and puts it through the uprights. 27-10, 5:20 left in 3rd quarter.
USF gets a first down on a defensive holding penalty.
But they can't earn one without the penalties and have to punt.
We have a 70 yard TD called back on a holding penalty.
We punt it away after failing to move the ball post-penalty.
DE Banducci records a sack. We hold and force another 3 and out.
Defense has been very good in third quarter.
Brown is over 100 yards with 12 minutes to go.
We are giving the Bulls a big dose of Brown this drive.
On 3rd and 5 Burford hits Derrick on a 21 yard screen pass for a TD. But there is a flag ...
This time it is against USF. Declined, 34-10, 10:15 remaining.
USF is moving the ball in small chunks. They get the ball at the 37 and have two first downs without a play longer than 6 yards.
But they punt from their 36 on 4th and 4 - why bother at this point in the game?
A holding call brings back a 21 yard gain.
We punt, just trying to run out the clock at this point.
ILB Jerry McCullough records an interception. Our ball at USF 41.
USF pops RB Baker in the backfield and separate him from the football. USF recovers, runs it back to our 26. 3:35 remains in the game.
They can't move the ball and settle for a 42 yard FG. 34-13, 2:10 remains.
Three bad running play and a punt. We pin them on the one yard line with less than a minute to play.
CB Freddie Walker gets an interception. We run out the clock.
They can't all be beauties. But we cover the 15.
Have to work on not mixing up Derrick Brown, stud runner, and Dan Brown, dork receiver who is lucky to get any playing time.
Burford threw for 3 TDs but only completed 50% of his passes and had one INT. Not what I would expect against a bad, bad team.
Derrick Brown was the best player in this game. He amassed 137 yards on 22 carries. He also scored a TD on one of his four receptions.
Banducci had the TD on the forced fumble + recovery and also recorded a sack.
ILB McCullough led the team in tackles with 5 and also had an interception.
We make another jump in the polls, up to 7 (media)/10 (coaches). The computer is dumb enough to think we are the 2nd best team in the country. I'm sure that error will be corrected when the Pac 10 season rolls around.
USC won 48-31 at Stanford to retain the top spot.
Oregon State is listed 8th by the media. They won 19-14 at home against Arizona St.
Washington State is undefeated and ranked 13th. They pounded the Ducks 34-7.
Washington checks in at #25 after a 49-42 win against Cal. The Huskies are 3-1.
Nice stuff so far, had me laughing pretty good in some of those. Nice morphing score in that Col St. game, however. Ref's musta been drunk!
Tel, not sure how I gave CSU a bonus 13 points on the one update - weird, but I'll try to avoid doing it again. Can see where that would have been very confusing.
Damn scoreboard operators. And that was a home game! Another position that I'll need to address - not sure if it falls above or below Defensive Tackle on the priority list.
We are off on week 5, but will watch the USC-Notre Dame game with interest. USC is hosting. The Irish are are ranked #20 with a 3-1 mark and come in as 20 point dogs. They are going to cover that number if history is any indicator. But the ND offense doesn't look like the same kind of unit after losing their star QB frrom the last two seasons (national POY as a junior).
#5 Ohio State lost on the road to Purdue.
#9 Georgia handled #10 Tennessee.
USC 43-29 over Notre Dame.
We are now #6(M), #7(C) in the polls. There are still a number of undefeated teams out there, but I'll begin reporting on those when we are down to less than ten of them.
Washington was knocked from the Top 25 after losing their Pac 10 opener to Arizona 33-14.
Updates on academics and injuries:
CB Ken Byrd
WR Cliff Byrum
DT Derrius McDonald
WR Gary Brewer
ILB Scott Wilson
I spent considerable effort trying to get Wilson back and keep Brewer from getting suspended. Not good news. I don't think I'll notice McDonald being gone - he is a cut below worthless.
OLB Travis Wilcox is nursing a nerve injury near his ankle. Sounds nasty. He gets a week off.
SS Noland King is going to get another week off to recover from his strained neck.
Lots of guys that are nicked up, but we need as many bodies as possible for Arizona this week.
We are listed as seven point favorites at home for Arizona. They are coming off an impressive victory against Washington. Our scouts have warned us we will need to contain WR Owen Cooke. Cooke has four TDs in four games and is the focal point of the passing offense. RB Lamont McDougall has found the end zone six times already this season. On defense CB Marques Herring is a playmaker at cornerback. We may want to throw away from him - or just run the ball down their throats.
96,830 make their way to the Rose Bowl to watch UCLA open Pac 10 play.
Burford is picked off early in our first drive. The Wildcats take over at our 34.
DE Joe Banducci beats his man and levels the Arizona QB on 2nd down.
A 14 yard pickup on 3rd down puts them back into FG range (30). And the Wildcats convert a 48 yard field goal. 3-0, 11:51 left in first quarter.
WR Bill Stablein catches two passes on 3rd down to move the chains.
But the drive ends after WR Cliff Byrum drops an easy pass with plenty of room to run. We line up a 39 yard field goal attempt. McMullen is on target. 3-3, 7:25 left in quarter.
The coaching staff grimaces on the sideline as the safety fails to rotate over on a corner blitz. It looks like WR Chris Hunter is off to the races but he is tracked down after 27 yards by SS Joe Lusk. Down at the 40.
The defense recovers after this to force a punt.
3 and out for Bruin offense, we punt from our 24.
Bad punt sets up Arizona at midfield.
Another big pass play for Arizona. On 3rd and 14 QB Heinrich drops back and finds Hunter on a deep out. Hunter makes a move back inside and runs down to the 4 yard line. 49 yard gain.
The defense doesn't want to yield the TD. They get three straight stops to force a 4th and goal at the 1.
Arizona brings in a short yardage specialist at QB. He drops back, looking for a man, but ends up throwing it out of bounds. Big time performances by the maligned defense here.
Burford finds Stablein on a deep hook pattern on our first play. 33 yard gain as Stablein drags one foot inbounds on the catch.
On 3rd and 14 near midfield we run a draw play. Derrick gets great blocking and shows shifty feet to pick up 19 yards.
Ben Jackson just can't do anything right today. He has another drop on this drive and fails to get his feet in bounds on 3rd and long. We have to punt despite moving the ball 60 yards on this drive.
On 3rd down DE Ben Baker runs free into the backfield and steamrollers the Arizona ballcarrier. Rosenbach dives on the football and we have the ball at the Wildcat 11 yard line!
One play drive - Brown takes it in from 11 yards out. The offensive line made sure that no one ever had a chance to bring him down. 10-3, 9:41 left in half.
Defense forces a 3 and out. So far Arizona has 9 rushes for -4 yards.
On 2nd down we have another drop from a freshman - WR Byrum this time.
Which sets up a big play by Arizona on 3rd down. FS Mike Hall (don't think it is the ESPN anchor) jumps a route and returns it 59 yards for a score.
QB Jack Burford sustains a quadriceps injury on the interception. He is doubtful to return today.
Arizona misses the extra point. 10-9, 6:55 left in 1st half.
Close the book on Burford: 5/12 passing for 78 yards. 0 TDs and 2 INTs. I'm OK with him going to the bench as I've been wanting to get a longer look at Edwards. I think he has been the better guy so far this year.
Burford won't go away. He is back on the field on 2nd down and gets sacked. Hmm - I applaud the toughness but I'm not sure it is going to help us win this game.
Burford is again sacked (CB blitz) on 3rd down and fumbles the ball. Arizona recovers it at our 11.
The defense is a force of nature in the red zone. Three straight stops set up 4th and 3 at our 4 yard line.
SS Joe Lusk was hurt on the 3rd down play and isn't expected back. So we will be without our two best safeties for the remainder of this game.
Arizona takes the 22 yard chip shot and a 12-10 lead. 3:46 left in the half.
CB Alvin Brown returns the kickoff to our 49 yard line.
We move into field goal range, but give back 2 yards on third down when the offensive line allows multiple defenders to gang-tackle Derrick Brown as he gets the snap.
McMullen misses from 44 yards. This is the first time in his career he has missed from 40-49 yards. Bad time for it. Arizona has about ninety seconds to try and build their lead.
They are off to a good start when they throw it up for grabs on 2nd down. WR Sam Duval makes a play. 44 yard gain, ball at our 30.
Ten more yards on a defensive holding call.
Screen for 8.
Six yard scramble by the short-yardage QB. Timeout.
Missed 24 yard FG. We trail 12-10 at the half. The fans cannot be pleased with what they have seen from the offensive unit.
- We really seem to be missing Brewer. The freshman wideouts are not making plays.
- Burford is killing us with three turnovers. We should be able to take this game away from Arizona in the second half if we don't keep giving them the ball.
- Props to the D for forcing field goals instead of surrendering TDs in tough spots.
Arizona goes 3 and out on first possession of 2nd half.
We are no better. Burford gets sacked again. Quit holding onto the ball!
The defense makes a huge play on 3rd down. Arizona WR Owen Cooke is open for a split second, but is leveled by two players on the catch. The ball comes loose and LB McCullough swoopes in to make a shoe-string pickup. He proceeds to run it back 55 yards for the score.
We decide to go for 2 and convert. 18-12, 9:21 left in quarter #3.
WR Sam Duval is feasting on our secondary. He gets a 12 yard pickup and is open for 20+ on the next play. We slam him to the ground, separating him from the football but the Wildcats recover at their 43.
Next play they find their 4th receiver alone on the sideline. He scoots for 47 yards, down to the 7 yard line.
Arizona once again faces 4th down and goal. Again at the one after we stop WR Cooke just shy of the end zone on 3rd down.
They take the 19 yard field goal. 18-15, 5:52 left in the third.
We pick up a couple of first downs on a screen pass and a run up the gut.
On 3rd and 1 at the Arizona 28 Burford goes down again. 4 yard loss, and a tough field goal attempt for McMullen.
Ron redeems himself for the earlier miss with a 50 yarder. 21-15, 1:52 left in 3rd quarter.
Baker records a sack and knocks the ball loose. Once again Arizona recovers the loose ball.
We have RB McDougall trapped in the backfield on 3rd and 18, but SS Lance Goode blows the tackle and takes out a defensive lineman in the process. 21 yard gain. Many profanities from the sidelines directed at the scrub safety.
The defense forces a punt after that, but an opportunity to grab great field position was lost.
Brown gets back-to-back carries, picking up 18 yards.
The next pass is to WR Byrum, who fumbles. But we finally get down on the ground and recover one.
We have to punt after a couple of incompletions.
We pin Arizona at their 6.
Arizona picks up a first down on the ground to give the offense some breathing room.
We force another fumble, but Arizona recovers.
Their QB avoids the corner blitz and finds our nemesis Sam Duval for first down yardage. But the blitzing CB has a motor that won't stop as he is downfield to strip the ball. DE Banducci recovers it and we are in business at the Arizona 35.
WR Ben Jackson drops another pass.
Byrum makes a huge catch on 3rd down, getting lit up but holding on for a 12 yard gain. The refs also say that the defense interfered with Cliff.
QB Edwards is blitzed hard up the middle and throws one right to an Arizona linebacker. But the play comes back on a roughing the passer call.
The yardage is clearly wrong on this one, as it was assessed at the point where we tackled the Arizona defender (our 48, up 15 yards to the 33). Somehow we lose that argument.
The loose play with the football continues on the next play when FB Hagood Morris can't retain the ball on a 6 yard reception. The offensive line dives on it and we retain possession.
We set up for a 44 yard field goal. It is short! Unbelievable. Kind of describes this whole game.
DT Chuck Rachal (who I didn't think was going to get any mentions here after Game 1) comes up with a huge sack on an option play on 3rd and 1. Arizona has to punt away.
Byrum fumbles, we recover. Both teams have fumbled five times today on a clear day.
We punt after 3 and out.
QB Heinrich airs it out near midfield. FS Greg Moore makes a play on the ball and does an excellent job following his blockers. All ... the ... way ... 96 yard return!
We go for 2 and convert - pass to Stablein. 29-15, 3:57 to play.
We force a 3 and out after stopping Cooke for 9 on 3rd and 10.
Short punt and we have the ball at our 48. Time to see if the offense can run out the clock.
Sort of - on 2nd down Derrick Brown romps 51 yards. He now has 24 carries for 143 yards and 2 TDs. 35-13, 1:53 left in game.
Defense forces a 4 and out. Game over.
The defense really bailed out the offense on this game. Life without Brewer looks like it is going to be painful for the passing attack. Hope he gets his grades up quickly.
Derrick Brown was again the star on the offensive end. He is getting his 100+ every week. So glad I didn't recruit him when I was at USC.
Both QBs stunk - not sure where to go with this as both have been successful in the past. I'm inclined to give Edwards a shot just to see a different look.
K McMullen with two misses - we can't have that happen again this year. Period.
DE Ben Baker forced two fumbles. That would usually be very noteworthy, but I think everyone forced or recovered one in this slopfest.
Defensive TDs by McCullough and Moore were huge.
O-line giving up six sacks is not acceptable either. But it may happen again this year with four freshmen starting.
Burford has a strained quad. Gutty performance trying to play through it last week. He won't see the field this week.
We will again rest OLB Travis Wilcox as his nerve injury has not sufficiently recovered.
We continue to climb the polls. #5 in the media poll, coaches have us at #4. The computer has us at #1. Anyone who has watched us play this year knows that all of these projections are very, very wrong. At 4-0 I'm beginning to think we will be in a bowl game (late schedule is tough, this is not a lock) but we shouldn't be sniffing the Top 5.
Texas is the new #1 after winning the Red River Shootout 36-26.
USC falls to #2 on a bye week.
Oregon State is still undefeated and ranked #7. They will have a showdown with undefeated, and 8th ranked, Washington St next week.
List of undefeated teams:
#1 Texas 6-0 SOS 28
#2 USC 4-0 SOS 18
#4 Boston College 5-0 SOS 51
#5 UCLA 4-0 SOS 15
#7 Oregon St 5-0 SOS 8
#8 Washington St 5-0 SOS 39
#9 Penn St 5-0 SOS 71 (JoePa scheduling non-conference cupcakes)
#14 Miami (OH) 6-0 SOS 114
We are headed to Arizona St as 16 point favorites. Bet the Sun Devils.
It looks like conditions will be tolerable for football in the desert. 82 degrees.
We have now achieved some level of statistical parity on offense/defense: 24th/22nd. I never thought that I would see this defense ranked ahead of this offense.
The ASU run defense is very stout - 5th in the nation stout. They have a couple of big play guys in WR Aaron Lipscomb and DB Billy Peppers. We think we can exploit the RB and the QB. A look at the defense indicates that there is considerable talent in the secondary but not as much in the DL/LB corps. The safeties must be selling out to stop the run.
On to the game!
The Harold Edwards experiment at QB does not begin well. First pass is intercepted, ASU sets up at our 38.
ASU comes out running - 4, 12, and 4 yard pickups. But 1 and 2 yard carries follow and they have to set up for a 38 yard field goal. It is money. 3-0, 11:51 remaining in first quarter.
Kickoff goes out of bounds, we start at the 40.
2nd Edwards pass is complete to WR Cliff Byrum. He, of course, fumbles. ASU recovers and starts at our 41. Two plays, two turnovers. Byrum sucks: 3 fumbles in 65 minutes of play.
3rd and 3, Rosenbach steps in front of a pass. But it never happened, as we are flagged for roughing the passer. But ASU loses yards on the play, just like we did on this ruling in the last game. They are now back at our 49.
The defense is still in a turnover frame of mind. DE Joe Banducci strips the ball, which is recovered by CB Alvin Brown. He motors down to the 2 yard line.
One play drive - Brown up the middle for 2. 7-3, 9:20 left in quarter.
ASU QB Caldwell picks up a big 3rd and 8 with a 16 yard connection to WR Coleman. CB Brown hit him hard, but Coleman held on. Ball near midfield.
We stuff their running back in the backfield for a loss of 15. He should have gone down when we first hit him ...
But ASU picks up 3rd and 30 as we bite hard on a play fake. 32 yard gain to WR Aaron Lipscomb. Just horrible.
DE Baker forces another fumble after dropping into coverage. DE Banducci recovers it. Another turnover-filled game. Four in less than ten minutes so far.
3 and out on offense. We are doing a horrible job on 1st down over the last 2+ games.
Backup RB Karl Bahnsen runs for 20 yards. He has 36 in 3 carries.
On 2nd play of drive Wallace finds WR Whittle all alone at midfield. He could have walked the last 40 yards on a 68 yard TD pass. 10-7, 2:28 left in first quarter.
Byrum makes a good run after a dump pass, picking up 20 yards.
WR Ben Jackson bails out his QB by fighting for a ball in traffic. 30 yard gain after a holding call.
Screen pass for 15 to Stablein.
ASU has an OLB named Cannonball Jones. Classic.
Cannonball is called for a roughing the passer, setting up a first and goal at the 3.
Edwards finds Stablein for the TD. 14-10, 13:15 left in half.
QB Caldwell is chewing us up. He picks up 6 on 3rd and 6 to move into Bruin territory.
RB Bahnsen breaks off a 22 yard run. We are making this guy look like Jim Brown.
The defense holds inside the red zone.
35 yard field goal is good, 14-13, 8:23 left in half.
3 and out. Two tackles for Cannonball.
3 and out for ASU, as we get a sack from a DT on 3rd and 10.
Penalties are slowing us down quite a bit in this game. 4 for 75 in first 25 minutes.
We move the ball up near midfield before being forced to punt.
ASU returns the ball 31 yards, much to our chagrin.
An offensive pass interference call against the Sun Devils wipes out a big play on 3rd and 10. Caldwell isn't able to pick up another insane 3rd down conversion and they punt.
We lose a 3rd down pickup on a holding call. We are only able to pick up 10 of the needed 18 yards and punt.
ASU starts from their 42 with less than a minute remaining in the half.
They move the chains, but burn through the last of their timeouts to do so.
Banducci records a sack. Spike. 16 yard gain on 3rd down to keep the drive moving.
They line up a 47 yard field goal and it is true. 16-14 ASU at the half.
Caldwell is 14/23 for 218 yards. 1 TD, 0 INT. We have to get in his grill in 2nd half.
Brown only has 6 carries for 20 yards. I would like to see him get some more touches.
6 penalties for 81 yards at half. Cut these down and we win this game.
ASU comes out moving the ball slowly but surely on offense. We force a fumble but can't recover it near midfield. They keep moving the chains, mixing run and pass. A 3rd and 6 pass sails high, but Lipscomb soars to get it and finds that there isn't anyone close enough to make the tackle. 21 yard TD. 23-14, 10:33 left in 3rd.
Brown starts off with 3 straight carries, picking up a first down.
Stablein gains 26 on a pass play, into Sun Devil territory.
A pass play that would have set us up with 1st and goal at the 2 is brought back by a holding call. Sigh.
Edwards is picked by a linebacker. End of a drive. Pretty dispiriting start to the half.
ASU is on the move again. Lipscomb makes another big play in the passing game.
RB Burleson picks up 2 first downs.
We slow them down when they hit the 20.
Field goal from 33 yards splits the uprights. 26-14, 1:14 to play in 3rd quarter.
Alvin Brown returns the kick to their 45. One of the better returns we've seen this year.
We go 3 and out as Derrick drops a screen pass on 3rd down with room to run.
33 yard pass to Lipscomb. He is over 100 yards, as is Whittle.
ASU misses a 41 yard field goal. Maybe this is the chink in the armor we are looking for? At this point ASU has outgained us 2:1.
They kill Edwards on a sack. He holds onto the ball.
But we are punting - 11:18 left, their ball up 2 scores.
Caldwell picks up 3rd and 7 with a screen pass. They are 10/16 on 3rd today.
Once again Arizona State fails to convert a field goal. This miss was from 48 yards out.
We have a 4th and 1 at our 39, 7:16 to go. Of course we punt ... grumble.
ASU picks up a pair of first downs, time is winding down.
CB Brown forces a fumble, but we can't get to it before an ASU lineman dives on it.
They pin us on our 4 yard line with their punt. Less than 3 minutes to play.
Nothing like a delay of game penalty inside the 10.
Edwards picks up a pair of 1st downs through the air.
Another penalty - dammit.
Byrum picks up 14 before stepping out of bounds on 3rd and 15. Near midfield, less than a minute to play.
We hit the TD Larscheid for a 35 yard gain to move the chains. 1st TO.
11 yard gain to Byrum, down to the 4. 2nd TO.
3 yard screen pass, Brown tackled on 1. Last TO. 0:41 remaining.
TD pass to Larscheid. 26-21, 0:35 left.
I have yet to see an onside run successfully in 5 1/2 years of Pac 10 play. And this is not the first one. Game over.
We never expected to have a perfect season, but I didn't think this team was going to beat us either.
Not too many highlights from this game.
Gave up 10-18 on 3rd down conversions.
34 passes from mediocre QB without an interception.
9 penalties for 101 yards.
13 carries for 45 yards from Derrick Brown. Longest run of day was for 8 yards.
0 key run blocks as a team.
WR Ben Jackson had 100 yards for the game.
Only two drops by the receivers, a drastic improvement over past games.
We need Brewer back to help fill out this offense. We are counting on way too many underclassmen.
We also could use some big plays on punt/kick returns. I think I got spoiled by those while at USC ...
Burford will be out another week. Edwards wasn't horrible in the last game, but the 2 INTs were killers in a game where we couldn't get started on the ground.
Everyone else is suiting up for a huge game against Washington State. Road game against #3 team in the nation.
We stay in the top ten in the polls - 8 (M)/9 (C).
Undefeated teams include:
#1 Texas - won 38-31 against Nebraska
#2 USC - roasted the Ducks 41-9
#3 Washington St - 34-10 winners in showdown game @ Corvallis.
#12 Miami (OH) - 54-41 win at Ohio
Southern Cal is headed to Oregon St for their next game. So there are some pretty big showdown games in the Pac 10.
We are listed as 12 point favorites on the road against the #3 team in the nation. I'm really struggling to understand this. The Cougars have the #1 defense in the nation based on yards allowed. They are tops against the run, which is bad news for us. We couldn't run against ASU who wasn't as good as these guys are. I feel like our offense is more explosive, but they are matching our yardage average.
We had a good week of practice. We are pretty healthy. I think we can win this game. But anyone giving the points is insane.
We'll start at the 40 after the opening kickoff flies out of bounds.
Edwards hits a 16 yard pass to start the drive.
The next six plays are runs, covering 39 yards. Including the five we picked up on a penalty, that is good enough for six points.
Officially, Brown took it in from one yard out.
The extra point makes it 7-0, 11:34 to go in 1st quarter.
Ben Baker loves to strip the ball. He does it again, hitting a wideout from behind just after a catch. But WSU grabs it.
QB Eric Williams is leading a drive downfield. They started at the 5 but he picks us apart early. Then we leave the TE wide open to rumble for a 43 yard score. We seem to do that quite a bit ... 7-7, 8:09 left in the 1st quarter.
Edwards is picked off going deep on the 1st play of the drive. Based on field position, this is as good as a punt. But I would not have punted on 1st down.
Williams has completed seven in a row for the Cougars. And they are moving again ...
The string stops at 8. The 9th pass is intercepted by ILB Bryant Bruschi. We take over at our 45.
A 23 yard gain is called back for offensive pass interference.
We aren't able to make up those yards and have to punt.
Our FS Greg Moore exits the game with a clavicle issue. I don't think he is going to be back this afternoon.
We force a 3 and out. An 18 yard punt return, coupled with a tripping penalty against Washington State, gives us the ball at their 44.
Cliff Byrum looks like he is carrying the ball wearing oven mitts. Another fumble, but we recover this one.
Brown has 9 carries for 50 yards in opening quarter.
Now Stablein has the ball knocked away after fighting hard to try and pick up a 3rd and 7. We recover, but are still one yard away from a first down. 4th and 1 at the 15.
Short yardage QB Gary Anderson comes in and completes a 6 yard hook to Derrick. First and goal!
Edwards hit Byrum for a 4 yard TD on 3rd down.
McMullen misses the extra point. 13-7, 12:25 left in half.
I'm beginning to wonder about our scouts appraisal of McMullen's abilities. But his stats were unreal for the last two years ...
We force a fumble on the kickoff, but the Cougars recover. 4 fumbles in 18 minutes here, all recovered by the offenses.
Williams connects on 3rd down with WR Andre Wilkerson for a 52 yard gain. The ball is spotted at our 21.
Williams finishes the drive off with a 13 yard strike to his TE Moore - their 2nd connection for the day. Williams is 12/16 for 205 yards already. 2 TDs, 1 INT. 14-13, 8:40 left.
We get a 1st down on a defensive pass interference call.
But the Cougars are really getting after Derrick Brown in the 2nd quarter.
We have to punt it away.
McCullough intercepts Williams on a deep pass pattern and we take over just shy of the 50 yard line.
A 3rd down pass play comes back on offensive pass interference. We are sacked on the ensuing play and have to punt facing 4th and 2 3/8 miles.
We force a fumble on the punt and finally dive on one before the Cougars can recover. First down at the 30!
After 2 rushes from Derrick for -6 yards (now at 17 carries for 44 yards, just to indicate how bad his quarter has been) Edwards finds Stablein. The wideout leaps over the safety and hauls into the end zone from 36 yards out! 20-14, 1:46 left in half.
DT Singletary breaks through the line and records a sack of Williams in the end zone. Safety! 22-14, 0:55 left and the ball coming to us. This could be a huge momentum builder ...
D. Brown makes a big return and we start at the WSU 32.
14 yards on a screen pass to Jackson, his first reception of the day. TO #1!
Incomplete - Stablein can't hold on after hit.
Incomplete - pressure coming.
Screen for 1 yard.
McMullen connects from 35 yards. 25-14, 0:08 left in half.
We have not let WSU start drives with any kind of field position. Not once have then been past the 20.
For once we are ahead on time of possession - 17:28 to 12:36.
Our ground game was stopped dead in 2nd quarter.
WSU again starts from their 5 yard line. Poor decision making on some of the returns ...
A 19 yard run jumpstarts the drive.
SS Joe Lusk goes down with an ankle injury. Once again we'll be shorthanded in the secondary.
Next play, 3rd and 8, Williams finds Wilkerson wide open on a blown coverage. 49 yard TD strike. 95 yards in 10 plays.
We stop a 2 point conversion. 25-20, 10:36 to go.
Edwards gets hit on a blitz and fumbles. Cougars recover, start at our 17. So much for the field position advantage ...
We also lost an offensive tackle on that play. One assistant suggest that he may have whiplash from watching the blitzers pass him by.
We get a sack on 1st and goal.
Williams misses end zone machine Monsanto Moore on 2nd down.
We stuff a run.
They convert a 26 yard FG. 25-23, 7:41 left in 3rd.
3 and out. I'm wondering what ever happened to the team that rang up 73 points in the opener.
WSU starts at our 45 after a short punt.
4th and 2 at our 33. Williams sees the FB open in the flat, but no one is catching that fastball. There is laundry on the field ...
We hold them at the ten yard line and force a 30 yard field goal attempt.
Which they miss.
Brown fumbles on a big hit, we give WSU the ball back at our 24. What a horror show this quarter has been.
3 and out - they can't miss two field goals in a row, can they?
Nope, 37 yarder is good. 26-25 Washington State, end of 3.
Williams has 305 yards passing.
CB Alvin Brown returns the ball to our 45.
We give the ball to our backup RB, who rumbles for 18.
FB Gene Jenkins runs it in from 2 yards out.
The offense looked angry about being behind on that possession.
Edwards hits Byrum for a 2 point conversion. 33-26 with 12:35 left in regulation.
We force a punt after getting a stop on 3rd and 5.
We get huge yardage on a 3rd and 1 screen pass to Ben Jackson. He is forced out after a 41 yard pickup.
We can't punch it in, so McMullen is in for a 40 yard field goal. Missed. I would love to cut this guy ...
Williams hits three straight passes, each for over 10 yards. The last was for 41 yards and a house. He now has 399 yards passing and 4 TDs. 33 all, 6:28 remaining.
Brown breaks off a 20 yard gain to start our next possession.
Byrum steps out of bounds after 3 yard gain on 3rd and 5.
4th and 2 at our 46. I hope our offensive coordinator doens't do what I think he will ...
Nope, we punt.
We surrender a 32 yard run on 3rd and 7. We had been stuffing the run all day up to that point.
On 3rd and 8, from their 48, the defense comes up with a stop. They actually hit a guy as he tried to haul in a pass. I nearly faint on the sideline.
The punt pins us on our 3 with 1:42 left. And all of our timeouts.
Illegal motion, 1st and 12 at the 1.
False start, can't push us any further back.
Run for 3.
Botched handoff, loss of 1.
TE drop, hit as he made a play for it.
Punt, WSU ball at our 44. They have three timeouts and 0:44 to play.
Williams hits Wilkerson, who shakes a tackler and ends up with a 22 yard gain. TO!
Gain of 10. We annihilate the receiver, but he isn't giving this one up. TO!
0:24 left, they gain two on a draw. TO!
0:15 to play, they have to kick a field goal here. It will be from 28 yards.
It's in there. 36-33 Washington State.
No magic on the return, game over.
Outpassed 434-166. That was a problem.
A missed extra point and a missed field goal also were issues. I'm putting the kicker on warning. Another missed extra point will be his last. And he won't have much more leniency on missed field goals in big situations either.
We haven't hit any big plays in our passing offense without Brewer. Jackson and Byrum will get better in time, but they aren't ready to be #1 receivers yet.
The whole defense needs to get better. Secondary seems like the biggest issue when we are giving up huge passing yards, but we don't have playmakers on the line either.
More bad news - Brewer, ILB Wilson, and CB Ken Byrd are suspended. I dumped a lot of hours into getting him back. If I had realized how much we would miss him I would have spent a lot more.
QB Burford and FS Moore won't suit up next week. Moore has a fractured clavicle.
We fall to 16/17 in the polls. I'm thinking that this is a number that we have a chance of sustaining, but even that is a stretch if we don't pick up our play on both ends of the field.
USC paddled Oregon St, 49-20.
Texas, USC, Washington St, Miami (OH)
These programs are ranked 1,2,3, and 9.
We are listed as 17 point favorites against Stanford. They are 2-4 and coming to the Rose Bowl. We need to get healthy in this game, no excuses will be accepted.
Stanford has a running QB that gave us a lot of trouble last year and a very solid sophomore running back whose numbers are comparable to Derrick's. Teams have not been terribly successful passing against the Cardinal, who rank #19 in that category. Hopefully we run all over them and don't need to worry too much about this ...
The fans show their support for our struggling Bruins - 99,560 make their way in for the game today.
We surrender a 23 yard run by the fullback on 3rd and 6.
But Stanford can not move the ball past midfield. They punt.
Brown runs for 23 yards on his first touch.
Stablein goes down with a finger injury, does not appear that he will return. Perfect, we will rely even more heavily on our freshmen at WR.
Edwards to Jackson for 11 on 3rd and 10.
But we can't move into field goal range and have to punt.
Stanford goes 3 and out. They are trying to find WR Jordan, but so far have not completed a pass.
3 and out. Edwards is 1-7 so far. I may be going to our 3rd string QB next game if I don't see improvement FAST.
QB Rychlec picks up a first down on 3rd and 8, hitting Jordan for 15 yards.
The Cardinal finish the drive with a 49 yard field goal. 3-0. 3:42 left in quarter.
3 and out on offense. Brown isn't able to move the ball on two carries.
Rychlec tries to run the ball for the first time this game. He pays the price as Wilcox drills him. The ball is loose and it is recovered by McCullough. We take over at our 48.
Edwards picks up a first down with a pair of completions.
Brown runs for 10.
Brown escapes a man in the backfield and takes it for 16.
Backup RB Barker gets stuck in backfield, gives Stanford the football inside our ten.
Rychlec runs for 25 on a busted play.
The fullback goes for 14, running over LB Bruschi (won't be back).
Rychlec runs for 17. I hate playing D against mobile QBs.
ILB McCullough is knocked out of the game. It looks like his knee is being worked on ...
Stanford has a holding penalty to knock them out of field goal range.
Another 23 yard run from Brown.
He picks up another 12 on a reception. He has about 100 total yards already.
Edwards picks up 10 on 3rd and 1 on pass to Jackson.
Next play is back to Jackson, great pass for a 20 yard gain, down inside the 5.
We run a reverse to Byrum on 3rd and goal at the 1, because we are smart and Brown is only averaging 7.7 per carry. Of course it loses 3 yards.
McMullen keeps his job with a 22 yard field goal. 3-3, 4:39 left in half.
Rychlec gains 19 on a draw.
Rychlec picks up 20 on 2nd and 15. He has 6 carries for 87 yards.
OLB Wilcox went down with an elbow injury on that play.
We manage to stop their talented RB from picking up many yards and force a punt late in the quarter.
Their offense is the QB running - everything else we have controlled.
We have to get something going in our passing game. Or else we have to run every down. Either one is fine as long as it wins us this game.
Brown goes over the 100 yard mark on his first carry of 2nd half. He celebrates by putting in on the ground. We recover, but have to punt as we are a yard shy of a first down.
Rychlec 16 yards on their first play of 2nd half.
Treu is working hard for his yards, but picks up a first down to put them in field goal range.
Rychlec finally makes a play with his arm. 3rd and 9 from our 31, he finds Jordan streaking into the end zone. 10-3, 10:02 left in 3rd quarter.
Brown gains 16 to start our drive.
Another 23 yard pickup, he has 16 carries for 149 yards now.
Jackson drops a pass on 3rd and 5. On comes McMullen.
40 yard field goal is good. 10-6, 6:29 left in 3rd quarter.
Stanford gets monster kick return, all the way to our 2 yard line.
Eddie Treu runs it in from one yard out. 17-6, 5:32 left in 3rd quarter.
We start at our 45 on a short kickoff.
We lose our center to an injury on a carry by the fullback.
Stanford gets an interception here, returns the ball to our 40.
It is all falling apart once again in the 3rd quarter.
Stanford only picks up six yards, but it is enough.
52 yard field goal, score is 20-6 with 2:04 left in 3rd.
We fumble the kickoff but recover to avert a total disaster.
3 and out.
26 yard punt return sets up Stanford at our 39.
At the 44 minute mark Rychlec completes his first pass to someone other than Jordan. For the day he has four completions. And his team is up 2 TDs.
WR Moss holds onto a 7 yard reception on 3rd and 6 despite the presence of our DB.
A TD pass is called back on ineligible receiver downfield.
We stop a draw on 3rd and 14.
35 yard field goal is good, 23-6 with 12:11 to play.
We get the ball at the 43 after a piling on penalty.
We are called for holding on a play where we allow a sack.
Great improvisation nets 16 yards on a 3rd and 22.
Treu runs for 19 yards, is starting to approach 100 yards.
Another first down and he has it. 25 carries for 101 yards.
They get a 55 yard punt to pin us on the 2 yard line.
We punt it away. This game is over.
Brown gets an interception on 3rd and 26 that is basically a punt.
There are a little more than 3 minutes left.
Jackson is over the 100 yard mark after a 31 yard grab.
Screen pass to Byrum goes for 20 and a TD. Edwards is getting good at the garbage time TD. 23-13, 0:51 to play.
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