Oregon State got a pass rush against UCLA last Saturday, but quarterback Richard Brehaut usually didn’t stick around long enough to see it too often.
The Bruins offense hinged on Brehaut’s improvisational skills during a 17-14 UCLA victory. That was especially true in third-down situations.
Nine times Brehaut scrambled on third down, running six times and throwing three passes.
On all six of the runs, he gained yardage, including a 21-yard gain on UCLA’s first drive, which ended in a touchdown.
“I have always prided myself that when a play breaks down I can make something happen,” Brehaut said. “I was able keep a lot of drives alive just by pulling stuff out of the hat.”
The highlight moment came when Brehaut took off on a third-and-11 play and managed to flip the ball to tight end Cory Harkey for a 12-yard gain.
On five of the nine third-down scrambles, Brehaut picked up a first down. On the Bruins’ third-quarter touchdown drive, he had the flip to Harkey and a five-yard run that became a first down when he was hit out of bounds.
“I tell the quarterbacks all the time that they are not robots and to let stuff go,” offensive coordinator Norm Chow said. “They have to understand that if no one is covering you, take off. He did a nice job of that. You have to temper that with what you’re trying to get done.”
In the past, Brehaut said, he hung onto the ball so long that he padded the sack statistics of opposing teams.
“I was focusing on, ‘This is my read and I’m going to go here, here, here.’ ” Brehaut said. “As you progress and mature, you realize that sometimes you can’t always go ‘here, here, here.’ Sometimes you have to abandon everything and make something happen with your legs.”
The feet-don’t-fail-me-now approach worked against Oregon State. Brehaut finished with 61 yards rushing.
Said Brehaut: “There is a point in your drop where you know if you’re not getting rid of the ball, you’re getting out of there because you’re about to get hit.”
Twice Thursday, tight end Joseph Fauria caught passes then groaned in pain after the whistle. He continues to struggle with a groin injury that has slowed him since August.
“The main thing has been working on my mental toughness,” said Fauria, who has one reception for seven yards this season. “Being hurt, I don’t want to complain. But the groin affects my hips, it affects my back.”
Harkey missed a second day of practice because of food poisoning, Coach Rick Neuheisel said. … Offensive lineman Stan Hasiak sat out practice after suffering a sprained ankle Wednesday.