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ILLINOIS (1-1) at UCLA (0-1)

September 13, 2003|Mike DiGiovanna

ILLINOIS (1-1) at UCLA (0-1)

TODAY, 5 P.M., ROSE BOWL

TV -- Channel 7

Radio -- XTRA (1150/690)

WHEN UCLA HAS THE BALL

Look for the Bruins to try to establish the running game early, with Manuel White, who will back up tailback Tyler Ebell, getting more carries. That should take some heat off quarterback Drew Olson. UCLA might be forced to throw early if Illinois' physical defensive front thwarts the run, but that's not such a bad thing. If the Illini have a weakness, it's in the secondary, and Bruin tight end Marcedes Lewis, who is developing a knack for finding seams in a zone, could be a huge target. The offensive line needs to do a better job of finishing its blocks and must protect Olson all game.

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WHEN ILLINOIS HAS THE BALL

Coach Ron Turner's pro-style offense has averaged 415 yards and 30.2 points over the last four years. Jon Beutjer, a 6-5, 211-pound senior, is one of the top quarterbacks in the Big Ten, having completed 47 of 67 passes for 491 yards and five touchdowns in two games. Beutjer doesn't have a favorite target -- nine receivers have caught at least two passes in the first two games. Carey Davis is one of the nation's top fullbacks, but he will sit out tonight's game because of a staph infection.

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KEYS TO UCLA VICTORY

1. Protect the quarterback: Starter Drew Olson must avoid injury for the Bruins to have a chance, because they are extremely thin at quarterback.

2. Go on the offensive: The defense was superb last week against Colorado, but it needs to force a turnover that either scores or leads directly to a UCLA touchdown.

3. Establish the run: In order to take some heat off Olson, the Bruins need to break off some long runs and pass the 100-yard rushing mark as a team.

HOW THEY COMPARE

*--* UCLA ILLINOIS 14 Scoring 32 16 Points Allowed 22 205 Passing Offense 245.5 38 Rushing Offense 190.5 243 Total offense 436 157 Passing Defense 243.5 88 Rushing Defense 123.5 245 Total Defense 367

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-- Mike DiGiovanna

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