We will start this game day round up with a little public service annoucement from the UCLA athletics department (avoid the 110 when you are driving to the Rose Bowl):
Fans attending the UCLA-Washington State game at the Rose Bowl are encouraged to arrive at the Rose Bowl early to tailgate, visit the Fan Zone in Area H, which opens at 3:00 pm, and attend the men's water polo game against No. 2 UCLA and No. 7 Long Beach State at 4:00 pm at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center.[...]
In addition to the UCLA game, which begins at 7:15 pm, USC is playing at the L.A. Coliseum at 5:00 pm, and the Los Angeles Dodgers are hosting the Chicago Cubs in the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium at 7:00 pm. Fans going to the Rose Bowl should avoid the 110 Freeway if possible to avoid the traffic in the downtown area and plan on arriving early.
More details over here.
As for the game, we have discussed all week how tonight presents an opportunity for DeWayne Walker's unit to improve upon the effort from last three weeks. One of the things we are going to look for is what kind of pressure the D can put on WSU's QB. Dohn reports on the lack of pressure on opposing QBs so far in this young season:
The Bruins are tied for 102nd (out of 119 teams) in the nation in sacks per game (1.0). Losing all-American defensive end Bruce Davis to the NFL is a major reason for the lack of sacks, but missed assignments are also playing a significant role.
"It's been a lot of guys doing too much, and myself being one of those guys," Bosworth said as the Bruins prepared to host Washington State at the Rose Bowl tonight. "I try to over-think things. I just have to go out there and play football."
Getting pressure on Washington State quarterback Marshall Lobbestael is a goal for UCLA's defense, which not only isn't racking up sacks but is rarely pressuring opposing quarterbacks, who are completing 61.3 percent of their passes and have 12 touchdowns against just three interceptions.
Bosworth and defensive end Tom Blake each have one sack, as does reserve defensive tackle Nate Skaggs and linebacker Akeem Ayers.
"As long as we do our own techniques and handle our own assignments, and speed rush and use hand-to-hand movements and combat, I feel comfortable we're going to get some pressure on the quarterback this week," Bosworth said.
Hopefully Bosworth and all his team-mates will step up tonight and not take their opponents lightly. CRN has been preaching that message all week, while WSU coach Paul Wulff is chomping at this game as an opportunity to take a "step forward" for his beleaguered program. From the Seattle Press Intelligencer:
"We certainly are not in a place to be overlooking anybody," UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said. "Washington State may be looking at us as, 'Finally we get somebody that we can handle.' "
"I think the kids probably believe they can beat 'em," Wulff said. "They should. I think if we have enough competitors, we can do that.
"The thing about this team, and I said it at the beginning of the season: Our team wasn't going to be as good as it could be early on, and it was going to be a season of improvements that we need to make.
"We've played five games. We've had three different starting quarterbacks. We haven't had an offensive line (with the same starters consistently). We've had some kids out on defense.
"We're not a very deep team to begin with, then we've had a lot of issues on top of it. All the combinations kind of went against us. I do believe we can take a step this week."
We are not the only ones who think Bruins can't afford to look pass this Cougars team. Here is Ted Miller from WWL on the possibility of Cougars pulling out a win:
This is Washington State's best chance for a Pac-10 win, at least until the Apple Cup: UCLA should beat the Cougars. The Bruins also should have beaten the Cougars last year, but Washington State won 27-7, a game that became a significant nail in then-Bruins coach Karl Dorrell's coffin. UCLA is prone to distraction. It may look at the schedule and yawn. Moreover, the Rose Bowl is hardly a hostile environment these days, so redshirt freshman quarterback Marshall Lobbestael might not be overwhelmed in his first road start. The Cougars may, in fact, benefit from being on the road, considering they lost by an average of 56 points in their first two conference home games. This might not qualify as an upset alert, but it won't be written very often this season that Washington State actually has a shot to win.
Not sure what else can we do to hammer home the point that Bruins need to prepare for this game like they did for a high profile SEC opponent such as Tennessee. For more on today's game coverage check out the LA Times, the OC Register, and the Press Enterprise. All our games notes can be found here.
Since our game doesn't kick off till 7:15 pm PST, we will have a pre game thread up around 11:30 am PST (which you can use to comment on today's all other actions), which will be followed by our game thread that will go up about half an hour before kickoff. Let's hope our boys take care of business tonight at the Rose Bowl. Enjoy the Game Day.