UCLA tailback Maurice Drew might be ready for his closeup. The 5-foot-8 pinball of a runner is eighth in the nation in all-purpose yards (181 yards per game). He's scored three rushing touchdowns, another two on punt returns and averages 9.5 yards per carry. He's starting to draw not unreasonable comparisons to another multi-talented super-athlete residing in L.A. -- USC's Reggie Bush. "He is of that caliber," coach Karl Dorrell said. Quarterback Drew Olson took it one better: "I think he's the best tailback in the Pac-10."
UCLA's players and coaches know that Oklahoma's visit to the Rose Bowl on Saturday represents a significant opportunity to prove the program is ready to return to the nation's elite. "This is a big test for us to showcase what we can do against one of the top programs in the country," said Dorrell, who can hush his myriad critics with a marquee victory.
Dorrell figures the game will be decided up front on both sides of the line of scrimmage, an area in which the Sooners figure to be significantly superior. The Bruins' run defense was terrible a year ago, and tackle Kevin Brown's preseason injury didn't help. With the Sooners' passing game struggling, it's like they will run right at UCLA, whether or not super-soph tailback Adrian Peterson starts or not. "[UCLA's run defense] is definitely improved but Saturday will be a big test against one of the best backs in the country," Dorrell said.