Nov. 9, 2001
By JOHN NADEL
AP Sports Writer
PASADENA, Calif. - One week, it's the Onterrio Smith-led ground game rolling up an Oregon-record 446 yards. The next, it's Joey Harrington tying his own school standard by throwing six touchdown passes.
So, what can be done to stop the Ducks?
"I'm not going to tell you, I really don't know," Harrington said. "We have the ability to do a lot of good things, a lot of different things. I think we're able to play different styles."
Evidently, and that presents a big problem for struggling UCLA when No. 7 Oregon visits the Rose Bowl on Saturday and tries to remain in the national championship picture.
The Ducks (8-1, 5-1 Pac-10) have scored 42 or more points four times, and are averaging 37.3 points, while the 17th-ranked Bruins (6-2, 3-2) have allowed only 16.9 points per game.
"If there is a team that's built to play us, it's probably UCLA," Harrington said. "As a collective group, it's the most talented defense we've seen."
Oregon coach Mike Bellotti agrees, saying: "UCLA is as good a defense, as fast a defense, as impressive a defense as I hope to see this year. It's scary how good they are."
A crowd of more than 80,000 is expected as UCLA tries to end its two-game losing streak and Oregon goes for its second perfect road record since 1963. The Ducks, 4-0 away from home, went 5-0 on the road in 1995.
As if the challenge didn't figure to be difficult enough, the Bruins will be playing without DeShaun Foster, a Heisman Trophy candidate.
Foster, a senior who leads the Pac-10 in rushing with 1,109 yards and in touchdowns with 13, was declared ineligible Wednesday after the NCAA made the UCLA aware of a possible extra benefits violation that will keep the nation's third-leading rusher on the sideline for at least one game.
"I think it's too bad," Bellotti said. "Obviously, you hate to see those things happen. There's a certain part of me that says we want to play and take on their best. It takes something away from the game."
Sophomore Akil Harris will start in Foster's place, and redshirt freshman Manuel White will also play.
"I've been ready all year," Harris said. "I'm excited that I'm going to have the chance to step in and show what I've got."
Harris has gained 144 yards on 19 carries and White has rushed for 153 yards on 30 attempts.
Cory Paus, hampered by a jammed thumb on his throwing hand, has completed 80 of 157 passes for 1,374 yards and eight touchdowns with four interceptions, but is just 12-of-35 for 212 yards and no touchdowns with all four of the interceptions in the last two games.
Paus didn't start because of his thumb at Washington State last weekend, instead relieving Ryan McCann in the second quarter, but Bruins coach Bob Toledo announced he'd go with the fourth-year junior against Oregon at the beginning of the week.
"He gives us as good a chance as anyone at this point," Toledo said.
UCLA should get a boost with the return of Brian Poli-Dixon, the school's fifth-leading career receiver who missed three games because of a separated left shoulder, but Tab Perry, the leading receiver this season, won't play after breaking four ribs at Washington State.
Two weeks ago, the Bruins were talking national championship. Now, they're on the verge of a three-game losing streak.
"Oregon is an excellent team, I'm more concerned about us," Toledo said. "We have to readjust our goals. The first goal is to win this week."
Harrington, who passed for 319 yards and six TDS in Oregon's 42-24 victory over Arizona State last weekend, is 162 of 277 for 2,115 yards and 22 touchdowns with five interceptions this season.
Smith, who gained a school-record 285 yards in a 24-17 win at Washington State two weeks ago, has rushed for 933 yards on 138 carries, and Maurice Morris, expected to play after missing the ASU game with a strained hamstring, has picked up 729 yards on 140 carries.