From Pauper to Prince

By Jon Gold
Staff Writer

This was the Kevin Prince that UCLA fans kept waiting to see.

This was the Prince that UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel and offensive coordinator Norm Chow kept waiting to see.

Above all, this was the Prince that Bruins wide receivers kept waiting to see.

After a middling 45 minutes, the redshirt freshman quarterback transformed from pauper to, well…

Two touchdowns, 198 yards and a 69-percent completion percentage in the fourth quarter, a princely effort in the team’s 26-19 loss at Oregon State on Saturday.

“The fourth quarter, Prince found confidence in the receivers, that’s what it was,” said UCLA sophomore wideout Taylor Embree, who caught one of those fourth-quarter touchdowns, a seven-yard grab that brought the Bruins to within two. “He’s not the kind of quarterback who doesn’t have confidence in himself, he definitely does. But I think we needed drives like we had at the end of the game for him to realize that just because there’s a defender close by or someone on us, if he just puts the ball up, we have the weapons to make the plays.”

Either UCLA did not appear to have those weapons early, or Prince was not willing to take those chances.

As the game progressed though, and an Oregon State lead grew from three points to six points to 13 and ultimately 16 points, Prince needed to take those chances.

Perhaps he needed to take them to save his job.

With true freshman quarterback Richard Brehaut breathing down his neck – Neuheisel insisted throughout the week that Brehaut would play in the first half, and he did, for one series – Prince finally let it all hang loose.

“I was kind of forced to do it in the fourth quarter there,” Prince said. “If we don’t make plays downfield – we weren’t gonna run the ball. Everybody in the stadium knew we weren’t gonna run the ball. It was up to me to make plays. I just put the ball up and let them go make plays.”

Now, Neuheisel wants him to do it earlier.

He shut down any talk of a quarterback controversy quickly – “He was not not my guy,” Neuheisel said – but he also talked about the need for Prince to be his assertive self more consistently.

“He certainly made some good throws, and it looked like he started to calm down,” Neuheisel said. “He made some plays when we had to have plays. This hopefully is a precursor to more consistent play as we go forward.”

Bumps and Bruises
UCLA sophomore center Kai Maiava suffered a hyper-extended elbow, but remained in the game. … Freshman guard Stanley Hasiak did not make the trip, for what UCLA officials deemed “personal health issues.”

News and Notes
UCLA is in the midst of its worst losing streak since closing 2003 with five straight losses, and it’s the first time the team is 0-5 in conference play since 1994. … Nelson Rosario’s touchdown catch with 8 minutes, 39 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter was the team’s first offensive touchdown since 9:36 in the second quarter against Cal in Week 6, a span of more than 150 minutes.

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  • Billy

    What happened to Brehaut’s significant playing time? Prince didn’t do crap in the first half and Brehaut was in a total of three plays. I want to see the guy. Prince seemed to do better in the second half but he may have been helped by several ridiculous catches and the end result was another loss so let’s see what Brehaut can do.

  • Encinitas Bruin

    Say it ain’t so, AV… I realize that we put ourselves in a hole, and no one person can be blamed for a loss. But wow, Al makes that pick and game over.

    I think that’s the first time I’ve had real EXCITEMENT watching the Bruins since the Tennessee game. What a rare feeling to be jumping up and down in my living room.

    I hate moral victories, so I won’t go there. But, Prince looked as good as we’ve ever seen him. Let’s bottle that 4th quarter and let it out again next Saturday.

    At least the Trojans got their butts kicked.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not going to accept any moral victory. Period. Completely possible, Prince can come out next week, throw 4 picks and fall asleep. Unless he shows the fire ALL of next game (aka 60 minutes), today’s 4th quarter surge is meaningless.

    I suppose finding these little perks are the only things keeping us as Bruin faithful sane, but I’m sick of coming up just short. We need to win next week. I can’t even explain how necessary it is for our program (both the remainder of this season and the coming ones).

  • Coach Thom

    What are Hasiak’s ‘personal health issues’? Doesn’t want to play for a losing team anymore?

  • edob3017

    Looked like Rodgers cut infront of ATV for a split second. Although he knew the pass was coming, he might have lost the path of the ball for a second. How else can you explain it?

    I know you can’t blame one player or one play for the loss, but ATV is going to have a tough time sleeping tonight without nightmares of that play in his dreams. Hope he bounces back next week.

    Moral victory? Five years from now when people look in the record books it’s still a big fat capital “L”.

  • Reformed Droog

    Kind of a big fan of anaphora, Jon?

  • theuclan

    Well time for breakfast and the trip home after yet another disappointing loss. It would be nice if these trips were less expensive to compensate for the disappointing play of our team!

    I want to thank NC for once again sowing us why he has failed miserably at getting a head coaching job in the past. Heck I’m not so sure he deserves to the off cord!

    I cant wait for the news conf so we can hear CRN tell us how happy he is with the direction of the program or how we must be patient since the team is so young.

    Stanford-Ore-Cal- Az-Ore St. all winnable games with the right coaching and the ability to develop talent!

    I love CRN and hope he has a great 20 year run – but were not getting better!

    oh and last but not least – i want to thank the beaver fans who felt it necessary to yell expletives at my young boys for four quarters last night. real class!!!

  • HAHA, yeah just a little bit, Droog. HAHA, yeah, just a little bit.

  • Blue Bruin

    Did Prince show us something to provide at least a glimmer of hope? Yeah, maybe. But don’t forget that if Oregon State didn’t extend the drive with a penalty on the punt, none of this would have ever happened! Nobody would be talking about Prince (positively), right?

    So the bigger issue is, why can’t Prince, the offense in general, and Norm Chow give this kind of effort 60 minutes every week? Not only will UCLA presumably score more, but the defense will improve because the other teams offense won’t be on the field so gosh-darned much.

  • cv

    The game this week is a toss up, why can UCLA run the football?