PASADENA, Calif. – The growing pains continued last week for Oregon State, which lost another heartbreaker in the final seconds to Stanford. The Beavers fell to 1-18 in its last 19 conference games but hope to get untracked Saturday against host UCLA, which could be without starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network. LINE: UCLA -5.5
Oregon State quarterback Jake Luton threw for 337 yards and a touchdown and Artavis Pierce rushed for 141 yards and two scores in last week's 31-28 defeat to Stanford as the Beavers lost for the 24th time in their last 28 games. "It's real tough," Pierce told reporters. "I feel like it's part of us growing as a team, learning how to win those close games. I feel like it'll pay off in the end. We've just got to keep fighting, stay together and put together a full game." The Beavers' best remaining chance for a Pac-12 win could come against UCLA, which followed its wild 67-63 win over Washington State with a 20-17 loss to Arizona last week. Thompson-Robinson suffered an apparent ankle injury in the third quarter against the Wildcats and was replaced by redshirt sophomore Austin Burton, who could make his first career start on Saturday.
ABOUT OREGON STATE (1-3, 0-1 Pac-12)
Isaiah Hodgins leads the Pac-12 in receiving yards (509) and is second in touchdowns (six) for a Beavers offense that boasts a 55.6 percent success rate on third-down conversions but has battled inconsistency through its first four games. Pierce has earned regular carries next to Jermar Jefferson, who has been limited due to an ankle injury. Outside linebacker Hamilcar Rashed has 7.5 tackles-for-loss and five sacks to lead the defense, which allowed just 353 total yards in last week's loss to Stanford and appears to be trending upward under coordinator Tim Tibesar.
ABOUT UCLA (1-4, 1-1)
The Bruins rank 10th in the Pac-12 in rushing yards per game (120.2) and last in average time of possession (26:36), but they may have turned a corner after rushing for a season-high 217 yards against Arizona. Joshua Kelley ran for 127 yards, but the offense struggled in the second half without Thompson-Robinson, who had a school-record 564 yards of offense while recording seven touchdowns against Washington State. Linebacker Krys Barnes has 42 tackles to lead a defense that allowed Arizona freshman quarterback Grant Gunnell to throw for 352 yards and a touchdown in his first career start.
1. UCLA has won the last two meetings against Oregon State and holds a 43-16-4 advantage in the all-time series.
2. Oregon State and Iowa are the only two teams nationally who have committed just one turnover this season.
3. UCLA kicker J.J. Molson has missed three of his five field-goal attempts.
PREDICTION: UCLA 27, Oregon State 23