UCLA's victory over Cal Saturday evening was total and absolute.
A crowd of 61,530 peered through the smog at the Rose Bowl and watched UCLA record its 14th straight victory over Cal in unconditional fashion.
The 34-7 score tells it all.
The yardage totals (UCLA 468, Cal 191) add a convincing postscript. And the postgame interviews give it the finishing touch. A little color commentary.
Cal Coach Joe Kapp put it this way: "UCLA is a very, very good football team. They have the best athletes and the best team in our conference. I cannot understand how they lost to Washington.
"I'll be surprised if anyone else beats them."
UCLA Coach Terry Donahue called the victory exciting and "doubly special" because Stanford gave them an assist in the Rose Bowl race by beating Arizona.
Arizona was the last unbeaten team in the Pac-10 race. Now five teams--UCLA, Arizona, Washington, Arizona State and USC all have one conference loss.
UCLA's record improved to 6-1-1 overall, 4-1 in the conference. Cal dropped to 3-5 overall, 1-5 in the Pac-10.
"The offensive line will probably be angry that I said this, but I didn't think that we started to dominate the line of scrimmage until late in the second period," Donahue said. "As the game went on, we did control the game, physically."
And fullback Mel Farr, Jr., who broke the game open and put UCLA in the lead when he scored on a surprising 45-yard pass play from quarterback David Norrie, observed: "We just kepting hitting them and hitting them. We put some quick points on the board and after a while, it was like they didn't want to play any more. It's like in boxing when you keep hitting the guy and wear him down.
"I had the feeling they just quit."
Cal came out strong, taking the opening kickoff and driving 76 yards to score on a 17-yard pass from starting quarterback Brian Bedford to flanker Vincent Delgado.
Three times that drive was kept alive on late-down and long-yardage situations when Bedford scrambled for the first down against the Bruins' nickel defensive team.
The defensive team changed some stunts inside to contain Bedford after that, and Cal freshman Marc Hicks subsequently got to do some punting.
It was midway through the second period (just one minute of game time after Farr had turned a short-yardage pass play into a stunning touchdown run) with Bedford facing a third-and-18 from the Bruin 11, that the Bruin defense added the second half of the crushing 1-2 punch.
Marcus Turner, a redshirt freshman who comes in on the nickel team, stepped in front of Bedford's pass to wide receiver Wendell Peoples at the Cal 21 and returned the interception for a touchdown to put UCLA ahead, 17-7.
Cal's next series ended when, on third down, Bedford was sacked by Terry Tumey and the Bears had to punt. In the last minute of the half, UCLA drove to the Cal 12 and John Lee kicked a 29-yard field goal to make it 20-7 at the half.
Lee had opened UCLA 's scoring with a 46-yard field goal.
Lee had 10 points against Cal to give him 329 for his career and put him in seventh place on the NCAA list of all-time scorers. He is a perfect 16 for 16 on field goals this season and 24 for 24 on extra points.
Nothing happened during halftime to change the momentum. UCLA took the opening kickoff and went 80 yards to score less than three minutes into the second half. Most of that yardage came on a 46-yard pass play from Norrie to flanker Karl Dorrell that had everyone in the stadium anticipating a touchdown--including the official who threw his arms in the air, signaling a touchdown, as Dorrell was tackled and slid across the five-yard line. The ball was downed at the Cal 3, and Norrie carried it in for the touchdown that put UCLA ahead, 27-7.
The Bruins looked likely to score again as the fourth period opened. They had moved from their own 40 to the Cal 5. But, on third down, Norrie rolled left, looking to pass, forgot about his option to run, and finally put up a pass that ended up in the hands of Cal cornerback Gary Hein.
Junior quarterback Matt Stevens took over on the Bruins' next series and, in five plays, put the Bruins back on the scoreboard. Stevens launched a pass from the Cal 38 to the back of the end zone, leading flanker Al Wilson on a chase for a football that would either be his score or would be in the cheap seats.
Breaking into a big smile, Wilson said, "Matt really put it out there, didn't he? As soon as I saw it release from his hand, I knew I really had to run to catch up with it. The Lord was helping me and giving me that little bit extra on that one.
"Matt Stevens has one of the strongest arms in college football, if not the strongest. I was happy for him that he got the chance to show it on that play."
In Donahue's estimation, it was that Stevens-to-Wilson pass play that put the game out of reach.
UCLA tailback Gaston Green, who missed four games and played very little in a fifth after injurying his knee in practice, did not start against Cal, but he came in to gain 86 yards after starter James Primus went out with an injured shoulder.
Eric Ball, who has been sharing time at tailback with Primus, gained 101 yards.
Once again, UCLA had a very balanced offensive attack, gaining 239 yards on the ground and 229 yards through the air.
UCLA has a bye next week, giving the Bruins two weeks to prepare for their game at Arizona.
"Generally speaking, I prefer not to have a bye during the season," Donahue said. "I'd rather stay sharp. But this team has had a rough schedule so far. We've played a lot of very good teams on the road.
"Right now, I'm glad we have the bye. I welcome it with open arms."