<
>

Cowan, not Olson, to start at quarterback vs. USC

LOS ANGELES -- Patrick Cowan, who has started UCLA's last
six games at quarterback, will get the call Saturday against No. 2
Southern California at the Rose Bowl.

Bruins coach Karl Dorrell made the announcement after practice
Wednesday -- two days after saying Ben Olson would start against the
Trojans if he showed he was "able and capable both mentally and
physically."

Olson, another sophomore who beat out Cowan for the starting job
in preseason practice, hasn't played since tearing a ligament in
his left knee Oct. 7 in UCLA's 27-7 victory over Arizona.

"Ben's timing and his decision-making are getting better, but
that's the part that's just a little behind," Dorrell said. "We
need to make sure that we play as well as we can early, and Pat
gives us the best opportunity to do that."

Cowan took over when Olson was injured, and the Bruins lost his
first four starts before a 25-7 win over Oregon State -- which
earlier upset USC -- and a 24-12 victory over Arizona State.

Olson has completed 79-of-124 passes for 822 yards with five
touchdowns and five interceptions. Cowan is 118-of-219 for 1,428
yards and nine TDs with seven interceptions.

"I talked with both Ben and Pat, and Ben understood that Pat
has a little more seasoning with playing the last few weeks,"
Dorrell said. "Ben's ready to go if the circumstances in the game
call for it, but Pat is our guy this week.

"This doesn't say anything about the long-term quarterback
situation. It's just what the best situation is for us this week."

The Bruins (6-5, 4-4 Pac-10) have lost seven straight games to
USC including a 66-19 drubbing at the Coliseum a year ago. The
Trojans (10-1, 7-1) have already clinched the Pac-10 title and can
lock up a berth in the BCS title game with a victory.