Rick Neuheisel said earlier this week he will be certain of two things bringing his UCLA squad to Seattle:
1, Jake Locker will play (yes!).
2, It will rain (yes, 2-for-2).
I am certain about one thing, too - the Bruins will stay committed to the inside run with Johnathan Franklin, Derrick Coleman and whoever else they line up in the backfield.
So ... that makes the likes of defensive tackles Alameda Ta'amu, Sione Potoa'e, and middle linebacker Cort Dennison very vital Thursday night in trying to stop them.
Here is how the matchup sizes up:
UCLA (4-5, 2-3 Pac-10 at Washington (3-6, 2-4)Kickoff: 5 p.m. PDT, Husky Stadium, Seattle.
TV: ESPN. Radio: 950-AM.
The series: UCLA leads, 38-29-2, and has won 11 of the past 13 meetings, including a 24-23 triumph last season at The Rose Bowl. The UW’s last win came in 2008 – 29-19 in Seattle, but the Bruins have won three of their past four games at Husky Stadium.
What to watch: Is ex-UW coach Rick Neuheisel still a villain in these parts? He’s 2-0 at UCLA against his former team, which hasn’t gone to a bowl game since he was abruptly dismissed in the summer of 2003. “It’s been seven years. … There’s been ample time to fix things,” he said. … How is the Bruins’ run game different from Oregon’s? For one, the UW won’t be rushing to the line of scrimmage for quick snaps – UCLA takes its time. And the Bruins will test the belly of the defense with running back Johnathan Franklin, which is a trademark of the pistol offense. … Will Jake Locker be in full working order for the Huskies? Cleared by doctors Tuesday, he will likely take all the snaps, and has moved around fine in practice. … Youthful exuberance on display tonight? The UW has played a record-most 14 true freshmen this season; UCLA 10.
What’s at stake: It’s simple for the Huskies – win to stay alive for bowl eligibility, or lose and stay home from the postseason for an eighth consecutive season.
TNT pick: Huskies, 28-23.
PRIME NUMBERSUCLANo. Name (position) Ht./Wt. Year03 Rahim Moore (FS) 6-1/196 JuniorMotivating? Says he’ll quit football if Bruins don’t make a bowl this season.12 Richard Brehaut (QB) 6-2/222 SophomoreUW has faced its share of mobile quarterbacks in 2010 – this will be No. 8.23 Johnathan Franklin (RB) 5-10/198 SophomorePistol offense has given him new life – and lots of rushing yards (892).25 Kai Forbath (PK) 6-0/191 SeniorHas 83 career field goals; just four short of the NCAA record of 87.94 Oawmagbe Odighizuwa (DE) 6-4/240 FreshmanDidn’t take long for this 2010 ‘Northwest Nugget’ to land a starting spot.
WashingtonNo. Name (position) Ht./Wt. Year10 Jake Locker (QB) 6-3/230 SeniorCleared to play (rib); will fight like mad to get a win on ‘Senior Night.’24 Jesse Callier (RB/KR) 5-10/205 FreshmanBig emphasis on special teams during bye week; let’s see if he hits jackpot.30 Zach Fogerson (FB) 6-0/238 FreshmanOne of these days, UW will unleash him as top short-yardage running back.40 Mason Foster (OLB) 6-2/242 SeniorCould NCAA leader in solo tackles (78) get 20 or more stops tonight?74 Alameda Ta’amu (DT) 6-3/330 JuniorStopped Oregon’s dive play last time out; plenty more inside runs coming.