Oregon St. fans hope Lance Mitchell, the sole experienced member of the Beavers' secondary, is the ticket to an improved performance by the secondary, and a win over UCLA.
Reser Stadium, 12:30 PM / Prime Ticket, Comcast Bay Area & Fox College Sports / KEJO 1240 AM / KPAM 860 AM (Streamed)
It's the Pac-12 opener for both the Bruins and the Beavers, and already has been termed the "Desperation Bowl", as both teams are off to disappointing starts punctuated by quarterback changes.
UCLA (1-2) dominated the state of Texas last season, earning half their season wins at the football state's expense. No such luck this year in Westwood, as both Houston, and last week Texas, exacted revenge on the Bruins. Richard Brehaut, who led UCLA to their only win over San Jose St., took over again for Kevin Prince against the Longhorns after Prince threw 3 interceptions in 7 throws, and will start against the Beavers.
Brehaut hasn't thrown an interception this season, and also quarterbacked UCLA in their 17-14 win over Oregon St. last year in Pasadena. That win was the Bruins 6th in their last 8 games against the Beavers.
Oregon St. (0-2) will start redshirt freshman Sean Mannion for the first time, though he effectively started the Wisconsin game, replacing Ryan Katz after 3 plays. Mannion almost led the Beavers to a come from behind win in the second half of the opener against Sacramento St., but when freshman kicker Trevor Romaine missed what would have been the game winning field goal, the Hornets were able to pull out the 29-28 overtime win.
Mannion completed 25 of 38 passes in the 35-0 loss at Wisconsin, for 244 yards, and also hasn't thrown an interception.
Meanwhile, neither team's overall defense has given their struggling offenses much help.The Beavers have defended the run well, which is good for them, considering the Bruins do run the ball well behind Jonathan Franklin. However, they don't defend the pass well, though that too could be good, since UCLA doesn't throw the ball well.
The Bruins don't defend the run well, but the Beavers haven't run well since Malcolm Agnew pulled his hamstring.
The team that wins today could turn their season around, but the one that loses could be headed for a long season at or near the bottom of the standings.
Oregon St. is a 4 point favorite. The Beavers are looking to avoid their first 0-3 start in 15 years, which dates back to the Jerry Pettibone
era debacle. They also welcome back to the field WR James Rodgers and TE Joe Halahuni, who will take the field for the first time this season.
Bill "Earthquake" Enyart, who played for the "Giant Killers" of the late 60's, will also become only the third person with Oregon St. ties, and second Beaver player, to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame at a ceremony during the game.
Buildingthedam.com will be at the game, and will be back later with complete coverage, including photos, from Beaver Walk with the Band clear through the game.
Here's the place to chat about the game while tailgating, and during the game, as the Bruins and the Beavers, who played a close contest the last time UCLA visited Reser, a 26-19 Oregon St. win, both try to turn their seasons around.