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Headed for Davy Jones' Locker...
Unless Jake gets some help running the ball
Malamute, 23 September 2007

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 arena.

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 Huskies. And 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 season.

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 fourth quarter.

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 injury.

-- 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 to shine.

-- 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. ;-)

Husky highlights:

--  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 game.

-- 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 ailing Dorrell.

Add to that the fact the Rose Bowl is a tough venue for a visiting team.

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.

Team 1 2 3 4 Total
UW 0 10 0 21 31
UCLA 3 7 14 20 44

Time Team How Player (s) Score
1st qtr        
5:32 UCLA FG Kai Forbath 47-yard kick. UCLA, 3-0
2nd qtr
9:17 UW TD Jake Locker 4-yard pass to Marcel Reece. Ryan Perkins kick. UW, 7-3
7:29 UCLA TD Pat Cowan 2-yard pass to Dominique Johnson. Forbath kick. UCLA, 10-7
4:31 UW FG Perkins 35-yard kick. Tie, 10-10
3rd qtr
10:43 UCLA TD Kahlil Bell 8-yard run. Forbath kick. UCLA, 17-10
1:31 UCLA TD Dennis Keyes 60-yard interception return; Forbath kick. UCLA, 24-10
4th qtr
13:10 UW TD Locker 20-yard pass to Anthony Russo; Perkins kick. UCLA, 24-17
11:14 UCLA TD Chris Markey 72-yard run; Forbath kick. UCLA, 31-17
9:44 UW TD Locker 63-yard pass to Anthony Russo; Perkins kick. UCLA, 31-24
9:33 UCLA TD Matt Slater 85-yard kickoff return; Forbath kick. UCLA, 38-24
5:35 UCLA FG Forbath 39-yard kick. UCLA,  41-24
4:30 UW TD Locker 11-yard pass to Corey Williams; Perkins kick. UCLA, 41-31
2:10 UCLA FG Forbath 30-yard kick. UCLA, 44-31

Statistic UW UCLA
Total First Downs 16 24
  Rushing 4 14
  Passing 9 9
  Penalty 3 1
Total Net Yards 340 537
Net Yards Passing 216 204
Net Yards Rushing 124 333
Completions-att-int 17-37-2 18-33-1
Punts, yards, average 9-327, 36.3 3-158, 52.7
Sacks By (number, yards) 1-4 2-7
Kickoff Returns: number, yds, tds 7-91-0 5-170-1
Punt returns: number, yds, tds 2-40-0 14-16-0
Kickoff Yards 6-335 9-522
Interception returns: no., yds, tds 1-15-0 2-60-1
Penalties Yards 3-30 10-88
Fumbles: number/lost 6-0 4-1
Time of Possession  25:39 34:21

Passing cmp att yds tds int
Pattrick Cowan 17 30 147 1 1
Kahlil Bell 0 1 0 0 0
Branden Breazell 1 1 57 0 0
Jake Locker 17 36 216 4 2
Louis Rankin 0 1 0 0  
UCLA Rushing No. Yds tds long  
Chris Markey 14 193 1 72  
Kahlil Bell 27 116 1 24  
Patrick Cowan 5 16 0 12  
Chane Moline 3 8 0 4  
Terrance Austin 1 8 0 8  
Christi Ramirez 1 5 0 5  
Washington Rushing No. yds tds long
Louis Rankin 14 42 0 8  
Jake Locker 15 92 0 92  
Luke Kravitz 2 -2 0 0  
Team 1 -8 0 0  
UCLA Pass Receiving No. yds tds long
Dominque Johnson 5 32 1 11
Brandon Breazell 4 30 0 8  
Joe Cowan 3 28 0 13  
Gavin Ketchum 2 32 0 23  
Kahlil Bell 2 20 0 13  
Terrance Austin 1 57 0 57  
Chris Markey 1 5 0 5  
Washington Pass Rec. No. yds tds long
Marcel Reece 4 61 1 34  
Anthony Russo 5 106 2 63  
Quintin Daniels 3 18 0 7  
Robert Lewis 1 7 0 7  
Corey Williams 2 18 1 11  
Paul Homer 1 7 0 7  
Louis Rankin 1 -1 0 0  
Punting punts yds long Avg
Aaron Perez 3 158 57 52.7
Jared Ballman 9 327 53 36.3  
Attendance: 72,124          

Richard Linde (a.k.a., Malamute) can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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