Sept. 22, 2007
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) - The Washington Huskies will try to bounce back from a disappointing defeat on Saturday. So will the UCLA Bruins.
Only one will succeed.
Coming off a second-half collapse at Utah, the Bruins will face the frustrated Huskies, who had a similar meltdown in their game against No. 8 Ohio State.
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Ben Olson, who took a beating in the loss at Utah, won't be available against the Huskies. He had recurring headaches and missed practices this week.
"I'm pretty confident that we're going to turn things around," UCLA coach Karl Dorrell said. "And it starts with what's right before us -- it's Washington this week."
The Bruins (2-1, 1-0 Pac-10) meet the Huskies (2-1) on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl, with Washington playing its conference opener.
The heavily favored Bruins collapsed on most all fronts, particularly on offense, in last weekend's 44-6 loss to the Utes. The defeat dropped UCLA, which trailed just 7-6 late in the first half, from No. 11 to out of the Top 25.
Mired in mistakes that included five turnovers, five sacks of Olson and 10 penalties, the Bruins failed to score a touchdown for the first time in four years.
"We're not going to panic," Dorrell said. "It was game 3 of a 12-game season."
Game 4 should be telling.
"It's definitely gut-check time," UCLA safety Chris Horton said.
Ditto for the Huskies. They led Ohio State 7-3 early in the third quarter before they came unraveled and lost 33-14.
"We obviously made a lot of mistakes against a very good football team, and you're not going to win if you do that," said quarterback Jake Locker, who threw two interceptions.
Washington coach Tyrone Willingham believes both the Huskies and the Bruins will have plenty of motivation.
"I think they will be very upset, very angry about their loss," Willingham said. "But why shouldn't we be angry about our loss?"
Cowan might be rusty. He injured a hamstring in August, and didn't return to full practices until this week.
A redshirt junior, Cowan started the final eight games last year after Olson went out with a knee injury. Cowan completed 145 of 276 for 1,782 yards and 11 touchdowns with nine interceptions. The Bruins went 3-5 in those eight games including a 44-27 loss to Florida State in the Emerald Bowl.
Cowan is a threat to run, but the Huskies' Locker is considerably more dangerous when he tucks the ball and takes off.
A 6-foot-3, 225-pound sophomore, Locker leads Washington in rushing with 269 yards, averaging 6.7 yards a carry and 89.7 yards a game. He's also completed 43 of 77 passes for 488 yards.
"Their quarterback is a tremendous player," Dorrell said. "He's a big strong kid, has an excellent arm. He can flat run. He has a great command of his offense. He's strong, so he breaks tackles."
The Bruins feature a tailback tandem of Chris Markey and Kahlil Bell. Brandon Breazell leads their receivers with 16 catches for 267 yards.
The Bruins have a 35-29-2 edge in the series, which dates to 1932. The Huskies won last year's game in Seattle, rallying from a 16-0 deficit to take a 29-19 victory.