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The Scouting Report

November 08, 2003|Mike DiGiovanna

UCLA (6-3, 4-1) at No. 12 WASHINGTON ST. (7-2, 4-1)

Today, 4 p.m. PST

Martin Stadium, Pullman, Wash.

TV -- Channel 7

Radio -- XTRA (1150/690)

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WHEN UCLA HAS THE BALL

One way to neutralize the blitz is to establish an effective running game, but that will be difficult for the Bruins because the Cougars have given up an average of 85.2 yards rushing a game. In addition, tailback Tyler Ebell has been weakened by flu-like symptoms, leaving much of the work for freshman Maurice Drew. Quarterback Matt Moore, who was sacked eight times last week against Stanford, probably will look to complete more short, quick passes to wideouts Craig Bragg and Junior Taylor and tight end Marcedes Lewis, and the Bruins could spread four receivers wide at times in an effort to prevent safety blitzes.

WHEN WASHINGTON ST. HAS THE BALL

Nothing against Cougar quarterback Matt Kegel, but the Bruins wouldn't mind if his injured right knee limits his mobility and effectiveness. Kegel has accumulated almost as many yards passing (2,522) this season as UCLA has total yards (2,684). The Cougars like to spread the offense, and Kegel has talented receivers, six of whom have caught 20 passes or more. Topping the list is junior flanker Devard Darling, who has 38 receptions for 656 yards and five touchdowns. The team's leading rusher is senior Jonathan Smith, the former Narbonne High and Pasadena City College star who has 131 carries for 535 yards and five touchdowns.

KEYS TO UCLA VICTORY

Neutralize the blitz: The Bruin offensive line, as well as the running backs, must do a much better job protecting the quarterback, and Drew needs to have a big game rushing -- mixing speedy bursts around the outside with bruising runs up the middle -- to take heat off Moore.

Get creative on offense: Whether it's adding more draws, delays or pitch plays, quick-hitting pass routes or something a little unorthodox, Coach Karl Dorrell and offensive coordinator Steve Axman need to find a different strategy to offset the blitz, because what they used against Stanford did not work.

Make the Cougars work for their points: Washington State has a potent offense that not even a superb defense such as UCLA's should be expected to shut down, but the Bruins can't give up big plays that lead to easy scores.

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HOW THEY COMPARE

*--* UCLA WASH. ST. 21.2 Scoring 31.3 19.9 Points Allowed 19.8 199.0 Passing Offense 300.6 99.2 Rushing Offense 103.0 298.2 Total Offense 403.6 199.4 Passing Defense 233.2 116.7 Rushing Defense 85.2 316.1 Total Defense 318.4

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