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Rasshan Waiting for His Chance

Times Staff Writer

Redshirt freshman quarterback Osaar Rasshan has not played a down this season, but he knows that he’s one injury away from playing for UCLA today against Oregon.

“I’m real confident if I get my chance,” said Rasshan, a former standout at Pomona Garey High. “With preparation, I feel that I would be ready to go in there and run our offense.”

At the start of the season, Rasshan rarely got a chance to work with UCLA’s first-team offense in practice. Ben Olson and Patrick Cowan took nearly all the snaps. But that changed after Olson suffered a knee injury in last week’s 27-7 victory over Arizona.

With Cowan taking over as starter, Rasshan received a crash course in practice this week as the new top backup.

“It’s now a matter of getting in there and playing,” Rasshan said. “You can only do so much looking at a playbook.

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“Getting a chance to do it in practice helps, which gets you ready for games.”

Coach Karl Dorrell had a chance to give Rasshan some playing time late in the game against Arizona but decided to give Cowan more work. Rasshan understands the decision, but says he would have liked to play.

“Anyone that doesn’t want to play in a game shouldn’t be playing,” he said. “I would have loved to get in there, but Coach Dorrell wanted to keep me out. I just know that I’m more prepared now.”

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Oregon, which lost for the first time this season last week at California, hopes to run the ball better against UCLA than it did against the Bears. The Ducks’ Jonathan Stewart, the fourth-leading rusher in the Pacific 10 Conference, was held to 25 yards in 18 carries.

“We had one bad game,” Oregon center Enoka Lucas told the Portland Tribune. “When we’re clicking, we’re hard to stop. We’re hoping to get Jonathan a 100-yard game. It’s really important for us -- mentally too.”

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UCLA middle linebacker Christian Taylor has been slowed because of an ankle injury and his availability will be a game-time decision. Sophomore Kyle Bosworth is expected to make his first career start in place of Taylor.

“Kyle is ready to go and he’s getting the majority of the reps or almost all the reps,” Dorrell said. “And, we are also putting Reggie Carter back there too.”

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Oregon has the best rushing offense in the Pac-10, averaging 197 yards a game. UCLA has the league’s best defense against the run, giving up 50 yards a game.... Oregon and UCLA have the Pac-10’s top-ranked defenses against the pass. The Ducks give up an average of 154 yards passing; the Bruins’ average is 171.6. Both have given up six touchdown passes.... Oregon is 10th in the conference in time of possession, averaging 27 minutes 15 seconds a game; UCLA is No. 2 at 31:58.... Oregon senior linebacker Blair Phillips leads the Pac-10 in tackles, averaging 9.6.


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