KERRY SAYS: Expect a close game, but one Beavers should win


Desire shouldn't be a problem Saturday when Oregon State and UCLA hook up at Reser Stadium.

Both teams will be hungry - ravenous - for victory.

Oregon State needs a win to get the season on the right track after an 0-2 start.

UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel's job seems on the line in his fourth season, and a victory would be a positive step toward showing progress.

Oregon State QB Sean Mannion will be making his first career start. Tight end Joe Halahuni will play for the first time this season, and flanker James Rodgers is likely to make his 2011 debut, too.

The new-look OSU offense will have to show improvement from the unit that was pretty much punchless in a 35-0 loss at Wisconsin on Sept. 10. The opportunity is there. UCLA relinquished 38 points to Houston and 49 to Texas in its two previous road appearances.

The Beaver defense has to rise up against UCLA's run-oriented 'pistol' offense that created some problems in the Bruins' 17-14 win at the Rose Bowl last season.

And Oregon State's special teams - an eyesore in the defeat in Badger Land - must at least provide some stability.

This is a game the Beavers should win. If they are even reasonably sharp, they will.

THE PICK: Oregon State 31, UCLA 24