Advertisement

ROSE BOWL NOTES

Oregon's Eddie Pleasant is chasing elusive victory

Senior defensive back from La Palma Kennedy High has played in two Bowl Championship Series games, both losses, including one in which he was burned on a crucial play.

December 28, 2011|By Gary Klein
  • Oregon's Eddie Pleasant is determined to leave college with a bowl game victory to his name after last season's disappointing loss in the BCS title game.
Oregon's Eddie Pleasant is determined to leave college with a bowl… (Jason Redmond / Associated…)

Oregon defensive back Eddie Pleasant is looking forward to a pleasant memory of his final Bowl Championship Series game.

The first two did not end well, Oregon losing to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl two years ago and to Auburn in the BCS title game in January.

Pleasant, a former La Palma Kennedy High standout, played a regrettable but unforgettable role in the championship game loss, though he appeared to do nearly everything right on the game's pivotal play.

Late in the fourth quarter, Auburn running back Michael Dyer carried the ball for a short gain before Pleasant pulled him toward the turf for an apparent tackle. Dyer landed on top of Pleasant, who released the running back because he believed the play was over — as did many other players on the field and nearly everybody watching.

Officials, however, had not whistled the play dead. At the urging of the Auburn sideline, Dyer kept running for a 37-yard gain.

Upon replay review, officials ruled that neither Dyer's wrist nor knee touched the ground while in Pleasant's grasp.

The play helped set up the game-winning field goal in Auburn's 22-19 victory.

"I used to think about it a lot more back then," Pleasant said Wednesday. "Once the season started, I [didn't] think about it.

"He made a great play. It is what it is. They won and feel pretty good. I guess I got the short end of the stick."

Pleasant, a senior, had a solid final season for the Ducks, intercepting three passes and making 60 tackles in 12 games.

Now, he intends to finish his career with an elusive BCS bowl victory.

"It's weighing on me a lot," he said. "I feel like we accomplished everything here but [winning] a BCS game, so that's one thing I feel like we really need to get done."

No distraction

Paul Chryst, Wisconsin's offensive coordinator, said he was grateful for the opportunity to finish what he started with the Badgers before moving on to become head coach at Pittsburgh.

Chryst was hired last week to replace Todd Graham, who is replacing Dennis Erickson at Arizona State.

Chryst oversees a Badgers offense that has averaged 44.6 points and 467 yards per game.

The unit includes running back Montee Ball, a Heisman Trophy finalist, and quarterback Russell Wilson, a transfer from North Carolina State. Both players said Chryst has not been distracted.

"There's challenges with it," Chryst said, when asked about juggling responsibilities to two programs during bowl preparations. "I think you do the best you can with that. But it felt from both ends that they wanted me to do this. And you appreciate that, and you just want to make sure that you do the best you can, that you finish the season out right."

Quick hits

Wisconsin center Peter Konz, sidelined for three games because of an ankle injury, said he would play against Oregon. … Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti when asked about USC quarterback Matt Barkley's decision to forgo the NFL draft and return for the 2012 season: "It's obviously great for USC and great for the Pac-12 and great for college football." Pausing, he laughed before adding, "[It's] probably not great for defensive coordinators."

gary.klein@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesklein

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|