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UCLA FYI

Hill will not have pity for Bruins

September 23, 2008|Chris Foster | Times Staff Writer

Pat Hill and about 20,000 of his friends will drop by the Rose Bowl on Saturday, and the Fresno State football coach won't have any sympathy for a UCLA team that has been outscored 90-10 the last two games.

"There is no reason to feel sorry for UCLA," Hill said. "They have very, very good players on their roster. There is not one guy on that roster that would take a [recruiting] visit to Fresno State. We know they've got great players."

While one might wonder whether Hill has seen game film of the Bruins' 59-0 debacle against Brigham Young or their 31-10 loss to Arizona, Hill can be forgiven if he's a little edgy.

The Bulldogs anyone-anywhere scheduling philosophy has earned them loads of frequent-flier miles this month. They opened the season by beating Rutgers in New Jersey, then, after an intense 13-10 home loss to No. 9 Wisconsin, played a double-overtime thriller at Toledo, winning 55-54.

"It's not easy getting home at 5 a.m. after two of our first three games, then going right to work and get the team going again," Hill said. "For us to travel three times zones twice in 21 days is a lot, but it's what we have to go through to get these type of games."

Hill said he expects "20-25,000" Fresno fans to be at the Rose Bowl. While the Bruins may lose some home-field advantage, Coach Rick Neuheisel may have gained an edge in the shuffling of this game.

The Bruins were scheduled to open the season against the Bulldogs, but moved the game to this weekend so they could play Tennessee on national television on Labor Day. So, instead of having a month to prepare for the Bruins, the Bulldogs have a week on the heels of three emotional games.

"I can see where you can make that argument, but sometimes you're a better team three weeks into the season," Neuheisel said. "I think Fresno will be playing this game like they played the Wisconsin game in terms of high intensity. I know Pat well enough that he loves playing against the BCS schools. When he thinks he has somebody on the ropes, as we appear to look, he will come after them."

Neuheisel is selling that to his players as well.

"It's important that we understand the mentality of our opponent, that they're street tough," Neuheisel said. "We have to rise up and fight like that, we'll have a chance to be in the game and make it a good game. If we don't, then we're going to get reminded again that we are not playing for the big prizes yet."

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Injury report

Fresno State will be without starting defensive tackles Jon Monga (knee) and Cornell Banks (ankle) this week. In their places will be sophomore Mark Roberts and freshmen Logan Harrell and Chase McEntee. UCLA will be without linebacker Kyle Bosworth (knee) and wide receiver Marcus Everett (toe). Tight end Cory Harkey is unlikely to play because of an ankle injury. Tailback Kahlil Bell is expected to play, Neuheisel said.

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On guard

Late during Saturday's loss to Arizona, a Rose Bowl security guard in charge of keeping people on the sidelines behind a yellow dotted line walked up to a man whose right shoe tip was slightly over the line and sternly motioned for him to move back.

The culprit was UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero.

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chris.foster@latimes.com

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UP NEXT

vs. Fresno State (2-1)

Saturday at the Rose Bowl

12:30 p.m., Channel 7

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