LOS ANGELES -- Ben Olson waited nearly five years to become
a starting college quarterback. Now, the 23-year-old UCLA sophomore
will miss the toughest portion of the Bruins' schedule because of a knee injury.
Olson sprained his knee in the first quarter of Saturday's 27-7
victory over Arizona at the Rose Bowl when his left leg was rolled
on after a pass.
He had an MRI on Monday, which showed a torn medial collateral
ligament. Olson will be sidelined four to six weeks, UCLA spokesman
Marc Dellins said.
Earlier Monday, coach Karl Dorrell had said Olson wouldn't play
Patrick Cowan, effective after Olson went out, will get his
first start Saturday when the Bruins visit No. 18 Oregon.
"It's unfortunate it had to happen like this," Cowan said
following the Arizona game.
The Bruins (4-1, 2-1 Pac-10) and Ducks (4-1, 2-1) are tied for
third in the Pac-10, along with Washington and Washington State.
"We need another week of improvement going up to Eugene,"
Dorrell said. "We still aren't quite at our potential yet."
After Oregon, the Bruins play at No. 9 Notre Dame, and visit No.
10 California on Nov. 4.
Olson's injury will force him to miss a key stretch of the
season. He could possibly return in time for the final three games -- Oregon State on Nov. 11, Arizona State on Nov. 18 and rival
Southern California on Dec. 2.
Olson and Cowan competed for the starting job in training camp,
with Olson emerging as the starter after spending a redshirt season
at BYU, two years on a Mormon mission in Canada and one season as a
reserve in Westwood.
Cowan's résumé was equally spotty.
The sophomore made a single brief appearance last season, and
had not attempted a pass until Saturday. But he proved an able
replacement against the Wildcats, completing 20 of 29 passes for
201 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.
"Our team will rally around him," Dorrell said. "As the
starter, Ben got 70 percent of the reps. He [Cowan] watched and
always registered what to do. He stays involved in the game plan."
The Bruins didn't practice Monday, and Cowan and Olson weren't
available to reporters.