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November 30, 2007
LOS ANGELES - Patrick Cowan, who hasn't played since suffering a concussion and slight collapse of his right lung Nov. 3, will start at quarterback for UCLA against No. 8 Southern California on Saturday.
UCLA coach Karl Dorrell made the announcement after practice Thursday, saying Cowan would get the nod because of his mobility. Dorrell also said it's possible that Ben Olson and Osaar Rasshan would see action at quarterback as well against the Trojans.
Rasshan was 0-for-7 with one interception while playing the first half of UCLA's 16-0 victory over No. 18 Oregon last weekend. Olson played the second half - his first action since injuring his left knee Oct. 6 - and was 4-of-10 for 64 yards with one interception. Olson's knee is still bothering him.
Dorrell gave a hint of what was to come on Wednesday, saying: "This is a pretty fast defense. Whoever is playing has to have his mobility. That's a concern with Ben, given his injury and his recovery from the injury."
Cowan was cleared to practice just this week, but has taken most of the snaps with the first team. He completed 12 of 21 passes for 114 yards and gained 55 yards on 10 carries in UCLA's 13-9 upset of USC last season, knocking the Trojans out of the BCS championship game and snapping their seven-game winning streak against the Bruins.
Cowan was 7-of-18 for 65 yards and a touchdown before being injured on the opening series of the second half during UCLA's 34-27 loss at Arizona nearly four weeks ago. He has played in four games this season, completing 59-of-111 for 540 yards and three TDs with one interception.
USC coach Pete Carroll said earlier in the week he expected Cowan to start.
"I think when Patrick Cowan is playing they have looked really good and we anticipate he's playing in this game and they will be at their very best they can be coming into our matchup," Carroll said. "They have all three of their quarterbacks now, ready to go."
USC (9-2, 6-2 Pac-10) can clinch its sixth straight conference championship and a berth in the Rose Bowl by beating its crosstown rival. UCLA (6-5, 5-3) will play in Pasadena on New Year's Day with a victory over the Trojans and an Arizona win at No. 13 Arizona State.