LOS ANGELES (AP) -After playing their best game of the year, the UCLA Bruins' next challenge is to make sure they don't have a lapse like they did against Utah and Notre Dame.
The Bruins used a determined, opportunistic defense, a well-balanced offense and mostly solid special teams play to beat California 30-21 over the weekend.
Those were the same Golden Bears that were ranked No. 2 before losing to Oregon State the previous game.
Still perfect in Pac-10 play, the Bruins (5-2, 4-0) travel to Pullman to face Washington State (2-5, 0-4) on Saturday.
``Especially with the goal to win the conference and knowing that our fate lies in our hands right now, we definitely don't want to let it slip away,'' UCLA safety Dennis Keyes said Monday.
``We're making sure that we stay really sharp and focused on Washington State. They have a really potent offense and they're a better team than their record shows.''
UCLA's two losses were in non-conference play: a stunning 44-6 thumping at Utah when the Bruins were No. 10, and a 20-6 defeat by otherwise winless Notre Dame.
``This still can be a great year, and that's what we're anticipating it to be as we move forward,'' Karl Dorrell said. ``The mistakes we've made in the past, we can't really do anything about those things right now. We continue to move forward.''
The Bruins will be favored against the Cougars and are determined not to stumble again.
Asked about the possibility of losing another ``gimme,'' Dorrell said: ``I don't think anything is a gimme, and you can ask almost anyone in college football this year whether there are any gimme games out there.''
Keyes, a fifth-year senior, said the older Bruins are trying to make sure the team doesn't take the Cougars or anyone else lightly.
``We definitely don't want any slip-ups, but I don't think that's going to be a problem,'' Keyes said. ``The seniors on this team are making sure that everybody's staying focused.''
The Bruins had a bye between the Notre Dame and Cal games, which gave quarterback Patrick Cowan time to come back from a knee injury. Regular quarterback Ben Olson went out in the first quarter against the Irish and, with Cowan already sidelined, third-stringer McLeod Bethel-Thompson struggled mightily after replacing Olson.
Dorrell said the week off was a big plus for the Bruins.
``It allowed our quarterback to come back; he wasn't 100 percent but he was close and he played well,'' the coach said. ``And it allowed us to improve in a lot of different areas that allowed for a big, big victory for us.
``It was the first game I felt the team had a complete team effort.''
UCLA's defense held the Golden Bears to 67 yards on the ground, and Alterraun Verner returned his second interception off Nate Longshore 76 yards for a score to seal the victory with 1:33 remaining.
Kahlil Bell gained 142 yards on 22 carries for the Bruins, and Cowan went 18-of-27 for 161 yards and a touchdown, threw no interceptions and was sacked just once.
Dorrell noted that Washington State and UCLA have some recent similarities, including the Cougars' being off last week.
``It's big this weekend, going to Pullman and playing against a team that's coming off of a bye themselves and getting ready to get themselves going in the right direction,'' Dorrell said.

Recent NCAAF Discussions

Advertisement

NCAAF Headlines

NCAAF Top Stories

Thumbnail Army vs. Navy Pick As tradition in college football, the final regular season game will be played between Army and Navy this Saturday. Will the game be high-scoring?
Thumbnail CFB Bowl Game Las Vegas Odds The College Football Bowl Season is upon us. Here is a look at what Las Vegas thinks of this year’s games.
Thumbnail Heisman Trophy Odds   Another Heisman Trophy winner will be announced on Saturday. Here is a look at the odds to take home the trophy.
Thumbnail College Football Bowl Game Odds With the entire 2016-17 Bowl Schedule set, here is a look at the opening odds for each of the postseason games.
Thumbnail Updated Playoff Championship Odds Which of the four teams will emerge as the winner of the College Football Playoffs? Here is a look at the latest odds.

NCAAF Team Pages