QB Pat Cowan completed 17 of 30
passes for 147 yards and one touchdown and RB Chris Markey ran for 193
yards and one touchdown to lead UCLA to a 44-31 win over the Washington
Huskies at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
UCLA left the LA Coliseum in 1982, but forgot to take the lions with
them, leaving the prideful Trojans to do all the mauling back at the old
Under Karl Dorrell (32-22), however, the Bruins are now 22-5 at the Rose
Bowl. Lions at heart, about to battle incoming gladiators in a raucous
environment, Bruin captains at midfield don't shake hands, instead they point thumbs down, meaning
show no mercy and take no prisoners. Think Taylor Barton.
Also, think Patrick Cowan.
No rap on QB Ben Olson who started
the first three games for the Bruins, but Cowan, son of former Husky
quarterback Tim Cowan, is better suited than Olson for running the Walsh offense --
the variation of the West Coast Offense that head coach Karl Dorrell has
installed at UCLA.
He proved that against Washington.
Cowan is mobile, athletic, and has
the quick release best suited for a dunk-and-dink-and-run-after-catch offense.
Olson is a strong-armed, pocket
passer who likes to throw the long ball. A concussion suffered at Utah
last week forced him to give way to Cowan as the starter against the
that was bad news for the Dawgs as we commented earlier on last week.
(See Mulling it over with Mal).
Also, remember that Cowan led UCLA
to that upset victory over USC last
Cowan broke a first half 10-10 tie
in the third quarter by orchestrating a 71-yard, 13-play drive to give
the Bruins a 17-10 lead. It was vintage Bill Walsh, who perfected his
offense when he coached the San Francisco 49ers. (The West Coast
Offense, a generic term for a pass-oriented offense, was developed by
Don Coryell and Sid Gilman).
Dennis Keyes' 60-yard interception
return off Jake Locker made it 24-10 for the Blue going into the
Locker responded with a 20-yard
touchdown pass to bring the Dawgs within 7 points at 24-17 with 13:10 to
go in the game.
Then the teams exchanged big-plays
that went for scores, Chris Markey bolting up the middle for 72 yards
and Anthony Russo hauling in a 63-yard pass-catch-run from Locker to
close within 7 points again, 31-24.
However, Washington's special teams
faltered on the ensuing kickoff, allowing Matt Slater to take it 88
yards to the house. With the Bruins leading 38-24 with 9:33 to go, the
Dawgs still had a chance to win.
But Kai Forbath's 39-yard field
goal gave UCLA a 41-24 lead with 5:35 remaining.
After the field goal, the teams
closed out the scoring with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Locker to
Corey Williams and a 30-yard field goal from Forbath.
Cowan left the game early in the
fourth quarter with a sprained right knee. After Cowan's injury, Dorrell
was reluctant to have his walk-on replacement, McLeod Bethel-Thompson,
throw a pass, instead content to let him hand the ball off to his
running backs. At that time the Bruins clung to a 24-17 lead.
Lowlights for the Huskies:
-- With 11:44 to go, the UW defense,
bunched together in virtually an eleven-man front knowing that UCLA was stuck with a ground game the rest of the way, Markey found a
small seam in the defense and rammed the ball up the gut on a 72-yard run to
the house. That killed the momentum UW seemingly enjoyed after Cowan's
-- Meanwhile Jake Locker needs some
help. He can't do it all alone. Locker ran 15 times for 92 yards. His
supporting cast accumulated a paltry 32 yards rushing on 17 carries.
-- Likewise, running back Louis
Rankin can't do it all alone. Losing RB James Montgomery to Cal is
turning out to be the moldy bread left over from the 2006 recruiting
class's cupboard. Where are J. R. Hasty and the freshmen running backs?
-- The Huskies' defense gave up 537
total yards and 333 yards on the ground. Washington's offense posted 340
total yards. In its first three games, UW (2-2, 0-1 Pac-10) averaged 377
total yards per game, a number that ranked last in the Pac-10.
-- For much of three quarters,
Washington's offense sputtered like a hydroplane dying in the water on
Lake Washington. Plain and simply put, Washington's defense was on the
field too long and tired badly in the second half, especially in the
fourth quarter. After UCLA's defense wilted in the fourth quarter, Locker began
-- Young Locker locks onto his
primary receiver too much, global positioning the coordinates of his
throw's end point. Some of his long
passes sail on him. He has a tendency to throw to his left too much, a
predilection the Bruins keyed on.
-- Offensive coordinator's Tim
Lappano's spread-coast offense is too much spread and not enough west
coast (or Walsh). Locker needs to throw more of the dink-and-dunk-run-after-catch variety. Also the tight ends need to get
into the action more. Robert Lewis caught a 7-yard pass for the sum of
the tight-end's contributions, pass-wise.
-- Handling the punting and
kickoffs, Jared Ballman seemed to tire in the fourth quarter. Perhaps
Ryan Perkins should handle the punting chores, as well as field goal
tries and PATs? What's happened to kicker
Eric Folk? Is he still suffering from back spasms?
-- Too many big plays allowed by
special teams and the defense.
-- This criticism is not meant for
Molly Yanity or Bob Condotta, the nice guy I am. But...A few of
the local media had their usual
post-game diatribe working for them, this time putting defensive
coordinator Kent Baer on the spot. Baer can't say that Lappano's
sputtering offense kept his defense on the field too long, this for much
of three quarters. That would be ragging on one of his good buddies. Baer's defense was
clearly worn out going into the fourth quarter.
Also, obvious, is an overall lack of depth on the squad. Unethical
questioning -- like when did you stop beating your wife -- is why Coach
Willingham limits the media's access to his team, and for good reason.
Like Baer's dilemma, Willingham can't say that asking "unethical
questions" is one of his reasons for limiting the media's access to his
team -- so I'll say it for him. ;-)
-- Locker's pass efficiency on
the game,123.18, was remarkable considering the Bruins were keying on
him, knowing they were facing a one-dimensional offense: Jake Locker.
-- Locker has the potential to be
the greatest quarterback in Husky history. Willingham is certain to
build a team around him. That's why he was smiling -- so
uncharacteristically of him -- and so much during the
-- After being thrashed for three
quarters, the fact the Huskies were still in the game going into the
fourth quarter. Credit Coach Willingham for instilling within his
players the character, competitiveness and motivation needed to stay in
a mismatch to the very end.
-- For the most part, Washington's
pass receivers played a good game. But what happens next year, when most
of them are gone?
Karl Dorrell's job:
Cowan and company may have hushed
Karl Dorrell's critics for the time being.
The rap on Dorrell has been that his only consistency is his inconsistency.
So, it was a win-one-for-the-Gipper atmosphere, this one for the
Add to that the fact the Rose Bowl is a tough venue for a visiting
UW hasnít won at UCLA since 1995. Of all the current venues in the
Pac-10, the Bruinsí faithful energize their players as much or more than
any other team in the conference. Once the Bruins are on a roll, they
are hard to stop, although Washington made it close two years ago,
losing 21-17 at the Rose Bowl. The sluggish Bruins never got on a roll.