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UCLA FOOTBALL

Bruins look alive but are still 0 for 5 in Pac-10

Quarterback Kevin Prince leads late rally, providing encouragement to Coach Rick Neuheisel, but in the end UCLA suffers fifth straight loss, as Oregon State scores in final minute to win, 26-19.

November 01, 2009|Chris Foster

CORVALLIS, ORE. — UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince came to the sideline, slipping past the pats on the back. He went to a red phone, talked to offensive coordinator Norm Chow, then listened to what Coach Rick Neuheisel had to say.

"It's up to you to win this game," Neuheisel shouted.

The game was put in Prince's hands with 44 seconds left -- and ended with him on the ground, unaware that his final pass had found wide receiver Taylor Embree, who was stopped well short of the goal line.

Oregon State players whooped it up after holding on for a 26-19 victory Saturday at Reser Stadium. UCLA players had that sucker-punched feeling after the team's fifth consecutive loss.

Yet, the Bruins felt something was gained.

"Kevin showed today that he is ready to be the guy," Embree said.

The Beavers had two guys -- Jacquizz and James Rodgers.

Prince threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes and connected twice on two-point conversions, enabling UCLA to tie the score, 19-19, with 2 minutes 1 second left.

The Beavers shrugged and scored. The Rodgers brothers accounted for all but 15 yards in a 70-yard drive, with James Rodgers scoring on a 17-yard run with 44 seconds to play.

Prince had the Bruins driving again but ran out of time.

"We had the momentum on our side, Kevin was playing great, and we couldn't get them off the field," defensive end Korey Bosworth said. "Man, it stinks being winless."

UCLA's season has gone from a feel-good story -- after a 3-0 start -- to the same-old, same-old. The Bruins (3-5 overall, 0-5 in Pacific 10 Conference play) continue to barrel toward a Nov. 14 showdown with Washington State (also 0-5 in conference play) to possibly decide last place.

The losing streak has left them winless after five conference games for only the third time since World War II. UCLA next plays Washington at the Rose Bowl, then is off to Pullman to face Washington State.

"I looked at the standings the other day and thought, 'We're in last place with Washington State?' " linebacker Reggie Carter said. "We can't finish last. We have to find a way these last four games. Maybe it won't be the greatest season ever, but it will be better than the one we've been having."

The UCLA silver lining outlined against a blue-gray October sky Saturday was Prince.

Oregon State (5-3, 3-2) seemed to have the game well in hand. Jacquizz Rodgers, a sophomore tailback, had 112 yards rushing, caught seven passes for 92 yards and threw a touchdown pass. James Rodgers, a junior wide receiver, caught 10 passes for 106 yards and ran for the decisive touchdown.

"Whoever raised those two guys did a good job," UCLA cornerback Alterraun Verner said. "You hit them high and they go under you. You go for the legs and they are strong enough to run through you."

Through three quarters, Jacquizz Rodgers had 163 total yards. The Bruins, as a team, had 164 and trailed, 16-3.

"Unfortunately, we've been in this situation too many times this season," Prince said. "But this time no one was panicking."

The Bruins played it conservatively through three quarters. They threw only 10 passes in the first half. Neuheisel chose to kick a field goal on the first drive of the third quarter when trailing 16-0. Prince threw an incomplete pass instead of taking advantage of a chance to scramble for two yards and a first down on the next series.

Prince threw for 198 yards in the fourth quarter, rallying the Bruins with touchdown passes of 58 yards to Nelson Rosario and seven yards to Embree.

"He calmed down and made some plays," Neuheisel said. "Hopefully, this was a precursor to more consistent play."

Prince finished having completed 22 of 34 passes for 323 yards and two touchdowns, directing an offense that had scored only two touchdowns in the previous three games.

That lack of production prompted Neuheisel to vow to play freshman Richard Brehaut this week. Brehaut played one series in the second quarter Saturday, getting sacked and fumbling on his last play.

"I intended to get Richard a series and I got him one," Neuheisel said. "I was going to start Kevin in the second half. We got clicking.

"We're not in the business of moral victories. But there were some positive signs."

--

chris.foster@latimes.com

twitter.com/cfosterlatimes

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