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Bulldog Game Day: UCLA Bruins

By | September 26, 2008 | Sports

Joseph Edgecomb / The Collegian

WEEK 4 PREVIEW – SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, AT 12:30 P.M., THE ROSE BOWL (PASADENA)

No. 25 Fresno State Bulldogs (2-1, 0-0 WAC) at UCLA Bruins (1-2, 0-1 Pac-10)

Breakdown: Bulldogs

Coming off a 55-54 victory against Toledo, Fresno State will travel for the third time in its first four games and will be tested by the Bruins.

Lucky for the Bulldogs, an expected 20,000 Red Wavers will make the trip to Pasadena.

In the first two games, the Bulldog defense gave up an average of 10 points per game and looked strong in every situation. But against Toledo, the defense gave up 54 points and 297 yards on the ground.

Coach Pat Hill said the Bruins will look to run the ball on the Bulldogs following their poor defensive performance at Toledo.

Ben Jacobs will be a key for the Bulldogs run defense and should have another big week.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Bulldogs finally got things rolling last week and will look to keep their momentum going into the Rose Bowl.

Ryan Mathews has been relatively quiet since the first week at Rutgers and the Bulldogs will look to him to exploit the Bruin defense.

Coming into the season, the expectations were sky high for Fresno State, but a 3-1 start will be respectable and a strong start before conference play.

Breakdown: Bruins

UCLA started the season on a high note with a big upset over then-No.18 Tennessee at the Rose Bowl — and it has been all downhill ever since.

The Bruins have only scored 10 points in their last two games and their defense has surrendered 80 points in both games combined.

First-year coach Rick Neuheisel wants to revive the UCLA program but thus far has been unsuccessful.
The injury bug has been part of the problem for UCLA.

Starting quarterback Ben Olson went down with a foot injury during fall camp and Neuheisel has placed the offense in the unsure hands of quarterback Kevin Craft.

Craft, a junior college transfer, has thrown one touchdown pass and four interceptions.
The running attack hasn’t been able to bail Craft out, either.

In the first three games, the Bruins have only rushed for 153 yards. But this weekend they will have tailback Kahlil Bell back.

Bell led the team in rushing last season with 817 yards and five touchdowns.

Since the UCLA student body is back on campus this week, the Rose Bowl will be filled with its share of gold and baby blue.


Steve K. Zylius / Orange County Register

L.A. Confidential…

UCLA Player to Watch:
Terrance Austin, Wide Receiver

Wins against: No. 18 Tennessee (27-24 in OT) in week one
Losses to: BYU (59-0) in week three and Arizona (31-10) in week four
Head coach: Rick Nueheisel (First season, 1-2)
Offense: Multiple Sets
Defense: 4-3
Key players: RB Kahlil Bell, LB Reggie Carter, CB Alterraun Verner
Series record: UCLA leads 6-1
Last meeting: Fresno State beat UCLA, 17-9, in the 2003 Silicon Valley Football Classic
Point Spread: Fresno State favored by seven points.

Keys to Victory

1. Get defense back on track.
Last weekend against Toledo, the Bulldogs gave up 54 points. Fresno State won’t win many games if it gives up points like that.

2. Force Craft to be the hero.
UCLA quarterback Kevin Craft was impressive in the second half of the team’s season opener and that’s about it. The passing game has failed to take form under his leadership.

3. Play like a ranked team.
Fresno State needs to come out with a sense of urgency and play up to its ability as a Top 25 team.


Joseph Edgecomb / The Collegian

Position match ups

Fresno State Player to Watch:
Ben Jacobs, Linebacker

When Fresno State runs:
Advantage - Fresno State
The Bruins have given up 472 yards rushing this season in only three games. Look for Ryan Mathews to have a big game on the ground.

When UCLA runs:
Advantage – UCLA
The Bulldogs gave up 298 yards rushing last weekend and allowed two different backs to rush for more than 100 yards. UCLA’s Kahlil Bell is back and should make an impact.

When Fresno State passes:
Advantage – Fresno State
Tom Brandstater threw for four touchdowns last weekend and is starting to get hot. The Bruins have allowed 748 yards through the air.

When UCLA passes:
Advantage – Fresno State
An unproven Kevin Craft plus a stalwart Bulldog secondary equals a tough day for the Bruins.

Special teams:
Advantage – Fresno State
The Bulldogs struggled in the first few games in this area, but kick returner A.J. Jefferson and kicker Kevin Goessling had strong performances last week.

By Jimmy Graben and Logan Hopkins

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