|Even Bruins amazed at possibility of winning Rose Bowl berth|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 26 November 2007 17:22|
``If everything goes right for us, we're going to be in the Rose Bowl. Who would have ever guessed that UCLA, 7-5, would be playing in the Rose Bowl?'' tailback Chris Markey said.
Bruins safety Dennis Keyes can hardly believe it.
``I think everybody counted us out after we went through our midseason slide. To be playing this game with a possible chance to go to the Rose Bowl is definitely crazy,'' he said.
``It's something we didn't envision happening this way. But our goal was to do this anyway.''
Those Bruins who lost to Utah and Notre Dame, who have a 6-5 record and 5-3 Pac-10 mark, do indeed have a shot at a Rose Bowl berth, although it's not completely in their hands. They have to beat No. 8 Southern California on Saturday at the Coliseum and have Arizona upset No. 13 Arizona State.
Keyes said he and his teammates can't be pondering all the ramifications.
``All we can think about now is SC and winning that game. The rest will take care of itself,'' he said. ``Even if Arizona wins and we come out with a loss, all that's for nothing.''
The Bruins, coming off a 16-0 victory over quarterback-depleted Oregon, are expected to be close to full strength for the first time since early in the season.
No. 1 quarterback Ben Olson, who had been out with a knee injury, played the second half against Oregon, and backup Pat Cowan, sidelined by a concussion and slight lung collapse, has been cleared to practice this week. Markey, the team's leading rusher and receiver last year, had been out with toe and ankle injuries, but he returned against the Ducks and gained 91 yards on 30 carries.
``It definitely feels like we're getting a second start, especially being in contention for the Rose Bowl,'' Keyes said.
Coach Karl Dorrell probably won't say until late in the week which quarterback will open against the Trojans (9-2, 6-2), who can clinch the Rose Bowl berth with a win.
``We'll see how (Ben) feels. We'll see how Pat works during the week as well, and Osaar (Rasshan) we're going to bring along, too. There is a possibility we might use more than one quarterback. We're going to explore anything and everything for us to have some productivity this week.''
With Olson and Cowan out, the Bruins were forced to use two inexperienced quarterbacks, Rasshan and walk-on McLeod Bethel-Thompson, in several games.
``I think other teams know what it feels like when you lose your quarterback and what you have to deal with to try to make things continue to be productive,'' Dorrell said. ``It's been that kind of year in the Pac-10.''
Markey believes all the injuries took their toll.
``This season we've had our ups and downs. We've just been an injury-prone team; a lot of our key guys have been down,'' he said. ``I think that hurt us a lot and that's why we're 6-5 now. But we keep fighting, are going to keep fighting.
``That just shows the character of this team - and for us to still have a shot at the Rose Bowl.''