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November 8, 2005

Bruins try to bounce back

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LOS ANGELES - Among the adjectives UCLA coach Karl Dorrell used to describe the Bruins' lopsided loss to Arizona were humiliating and embarrassing.

But with an opportunity for redemption in short order.

"Those types of things happen in college sports. The great thing is that you can line up one more time and play again this week to get the bad taste out of your mouth," said Dorrell, upbeat Monday despite the Bruins' 52-14 loss at Arizona on Saturday.

"We're anxious to get off the ground, dust our pants off and find another time to fight."

Asked about the long afternoon at Arizona, Dorrell said: "We ran into a buzz saw. We had a great week of preparation and felt good about ourselves. It was just a point in time in the season, probably, that things weren't going to click for us as well as in the past. We saw some things that were uncharacteristic of how we've been playing all season."

What things?

"So many things that we don't have time to discuss them all," Dorrell said, smiling and shaking his head.

The loss, stunning mostly because UCLA was so thoroughly dominated, knocked the Bruins (8-1, 5-1 Pac-10) from the unbeaten ranks and dropped them seven slots to No. 14 in the national rankings.

The defeat also raised the question of whether the Bruins, who had won four of their last five with late comebacks, were doing it with smoke and mirrors all along.

Are they as good as they played on their way to eight consecutive victories, or were they just living on borrowed time?

Dorrell expects the Bruins to come charging back Saturday when they entertain Arizona State (5-4, 3-3) at the Rose Bowl.

"We've bounced back many times this season. We've been down for the count a lot of times in the fourth quarter and have been able to come back," the coach said. "This team's not going to quit, I can tell you that right now.

"The sun came up again this morning, and we're anxious about getting back to doing the positive things we've been doing. These guys have been showing their character all season long. They've performed under pressure, and they're going to perform again."

Tailback-returner Maurice Drew, a key in UCLA's surge this season, was scheduled to undergo an MRI on his sore right knee.

"We don't anticipate anything, but we want to make sure he's in good shape," Dorrell said.

Drew, who has emerged as a Heisman Trophy candidate, injured his knee against Stanford on Oct. 29. He played at Arizona, but was held to 41 yards on 12 carries and had no kick returns.

Spencer Havner, a senior linebacker who is one of the Bruins' top defenders, echoed his coach's positive outlook for the rest of the season.

"I like having the pressure. You think about it all week and you're raring to go on Saturday. This game has a lot of implications and impact on the program, so we need to play well," Havner said.

He said there was a bit of an emotional hangover on Sunday after the loss, but that it didn't linger.

"Everyone was down and just trying to be together and wondering what's going on," he said. "We talked about it, watched the film, players talked, Drew (quarterback Drew Olson) talked to us in the weight room and stuff.

"We have a lot to play for. Everything's still intact for us. We realize this (ASU) is probably the biggest game of our lives so far. We obviously feel terrible about what happened, and we need to bring it back to where we were the week before."

The Bruins need to win out against the Sun Devils this weekend and top-ranked USC on Dec. 3 to have a shot at the Pac-10 title. They also would need Oregon to lose a game.

For more coverage of the UCLA Bruins, check out BruinBlitz.com.

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