OSU-UCLA Preview

Oct. 17, 2000

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Oregon State plays at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, and the Beavers are hopingto stay on track to make another visit there.

The 19th-ranked Beavers (5-1, 2-1 Pac-10) continue their quest to earn aRose Bowl berth and a return trip to Pasadena on New Year's Day when they faceNo. 23 UCLA (4-2, 1-2).

In addition to postseason ramifications, the game is the first between theschools with both ranked in the Top 25. A win by the Beavers would also qualifythem for a bowl game for the second straight season, which would be a first.

Oregon State continued its best start in 36 years with a 38-6 win overStanford last Saturday. The 1964 Beavers also started 5-1, earning a Rose Bowlberth for just the second time in school history.

Quarterback Jonathan Smith threw for 324 yards and three touchdowns and KenSimonton rushed for 87 yards and one TD as Oregon State rebounded from a lossto Washington the previous week.

Despite the strong start, coach Dennis Erickson knows that the road for apossible return to Pasadena will not be easy.

'Obviously we are still in the thick of the Rose Bowl race right now and wemust continue to play like we've been playing,' Erickson said. 'UCLA slippedagainst California and we know that we will be running into a buzzsaw goingdown to play them.'

Simonton is bidding to become the sixth player in conference history to rushfor 1,000 yards in three seasons. With five games left, the junior tailback has162 carries for 894 yards and 11 touchdowns. His average of 149 yards per gameis fourth nationally and his total yardage ranks fifth.

The Bruins need a win to salvage any hopes of staying at home for a bowlgame. They dropped their second straight road game, losing 46-38 to the GoldenBears in triple overtime after falling behind for the sixth straight time thisseason.

UCLA knows it must play better against Oregon State.

'They've got an excellent quarterback. They have two really good runnersand excellent wide receivers,' coach Bob Toledo said. 'My concern at thispoint is more us than them. We are our own worst enemy.'

The Bruins will again be without tailback DeShaun Foster, who fractured thethird metacarpal on his right hand against Arizona State. Without the talentedjunior, the offense again will be forced to rely on the receiving duo ofFreddie Mitchell and Brian Poli-Dixon.

Both Mitchell and Poli-Dixon have given quarterback Cory Paus dependabletargets this season. Mitchell leads the Pac-10 with 36 receptions, and his 768yards and six touchdowns are team-highs. Poli-Dixon has 23 catches for 277yards and two touchdowns.

UCLA leads the all-time series 34-12-4. The Beavers enjoyed their biggestwin in the series last season with a 55-7 rout at home.

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