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UCLA running back Derrick Coleman accounted for 185 of UCLA's 437 rushing yards against Washington St, and he scored three touchdowns. This week the Bruins take their pistol offense to Cal, who has already been thrashed by Nevada's pistol offense to the tune of 316 rushing yards. Photo by Jason Lewis
By Christian Lewis
Sentinel Sports Writer
The Bruins will meet the Cal Bears on Saturday, Oct. 9 at Berkeley, a 12:30 p.m.
Coach Rick Neuheisel's Bruins (3-2 overall, 1-1 Pac-10) have won three consecutive games. After losing to Kansas State, 31-22, in their season opener and destroyed by Stanford 35-0 the following week, UCLA found its footing in Texas and made national headlines blowing out a Longhorns team that played in the BCS title game last year. The Bruins also toppled then-No. 23 Houston 31-13 and ended the season of Houston’s Quarterbacks including Casey Keenum who, was on the Heisman watch list.
However, all last week coach Neuheisel’s was wary of a let down against Washington State, and rightfully so, as the Bruins were down to the Cougars early in the second half.
So which UCLA team will show up this weekend? Will we get the Texas two step or the Stanford stomp?
Coach Jeff Tedford will be wondering the same thing about his Cal squad as it comes off a bye week. The Golden Bears (2-2, 0-1) started off by defeating UC Davis 52-3 and Colorado 52-7, but suffered an upsetting 52-31 loss at Nevada. They stepped up defensively the following week at No. 14 Arizona, but their offense never got going in a 10-9 defeat.
This game will be exciting as UCLA is favored by seven points on the road for the first time in a while. Although UCLA leads the series 49-30-1, the Bears won the last two meetings, scoring a ton in the process. The Bears won 45-26 last season and 41-20 in 2008.
The Bruins, though, are in their first year running a pistol offense, the same type of attack Nevada utilized to dismantle Cal earlier this season. UCLA is rushing like crazy, averaging 262.4 yards per game on the ground. The recent roll has raised its scoring average to 25.8 points per game.
Nevada’s pistol offense ran up 316 yards of offense on Cal during a 52-31 drubbing earlier this year.
But the Bruin’s passing game is still non-existent, managing only 91 yards per contest. Despite passing 96 times, they've only thrown five interceptions and have allowed only 11 sacks. Quarterback Kevin Prince has shown yet again that he has a Frankenstein body and can barley go two weeks without an injury that causes him to miss time under center.
Running back Johnathan Franklin has gained 625 yards and five touchdowns on 6.3 yards per rush. Derrick Coleman has added 331 yards and four touchdowns, and Prince has run for 142 yards and three scores in four games but has paid the price each game and suffered an injury.
Prince, who sat out the Washington State game because of a knee ailment, has completed only 29 of 63 passes for 282 yards, with two touchdowns against four interceptions. Richard Brehaut, who was solid filling in at quarterback last week, is 17-for-32, for 170 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception.
The Bruins receivers have not aided their quarterbacks much at all , only scoring a few touchdowns and being used only between the 20’s.Nelson Rosario leads the receivers with 14 catches for 137 yards. Red shirt freshman Ricky Marvray has team-high two TD receptions among his seven catches.
UCLA is averaging 35.7 points over its past three games. The Bruins and Bears in recent years have always had a shootout to determine the winner. Home or away both teams have managed to put up huge numbers against each other.
Cal’s offense is averaging 36 points and 409.2 yards during their roller coaster season. The Bears were able to move the ball well during their early victories and managed 502 yards vs. Nevada, but were held to 262 yards by Arizona. Quarterback Kevin Riley has been less consistent this year, giving up four interceptions. But he's completed 60.7 percent of his passes for 848 yards and eight touchdowns.
Cal’s most confident and trusted offensive player has been Shane Vereen, who's rushed for 426 yards and six TDs. The junior also has two touchdown receptions on the season.
The team that makes the least mistakes this Saturday will win the game, as both teams are extremely inconsistent. Both teams still have an opportunity to make something happen this year even though Oregon and Stanford are clear favorites to win the Pac-10.