SAN DIEGO — Somewhere down the line, somebody had to pay for UCLA's embarrassing loss at Oklahoma.
San Diego State happened to be the first in line Saturday night. Now the Aztecs know the feeling of getting pounded into submission.
UCLA's revenge came in the form of a 45-14 victory over SDSU before 50,338 fans--the third-largest home crowd in Aztec history.
What will the fans remember about this one?
Some will undoubtedly remember that Todd Santos passed for 151 yards to surpass Brian Sipe as SDSU's all-time passing leader. Santos has passed for 5,727 career yards, 20 more than Sipe.
But most of all, fans will remember how UCLA gained revenge for its 38-3 whipping by Oklahoma two weeks ago.
"With the bye last week, it seems like it has been an eternity since we played," Bruin Coach Terry Donahue said. "It was just good to get a win. I thought we dominated both lines of scrimmage."
Indeed, the Bruins were dominant in two phases of the game--offense and defense.
Both teams ran 67 plays from scrimmage, but UCLA netted more than twice as many yards. The Bruins had 381 yards and SDSU had 172.
"They're a whole lot better than we are," Aztec Coach Denny Stolz said.
UCLA tailback Gaston Green was the offensive star, rushing 16 times for 131 yards and 3 touchdowns.
However, Green's performance may have been outdone by the UCLA defensive front. The Bruins recorded 10 quarterback sacks for 60 yards.
"We couldn't protect the passer early," Stolz said. "Todd was under a lot more pressure than he is used to."
When Santos did have time to pass, he completed 15 of 29 attempts for 151 yards and a touchdown. UCLA's Matt Stevens, who suffered 5 interceptions against Oklahoma, completed 4 of 12 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown. Neither starter was intercepted, but SDSU's Jim Plum suffered an interception late in the game.
The Aztecs had started the season with two victories for the first time since 1981, beating Cal State Long Beach (27-24) and Utah (37-30). Neither of those teams will be mistaken for Oklahoma in 1986.
The first time that UCLA had possession against the Aztecs it established the game's tempo.
On the Bruins' second play, Green went 63 yards untouched off left tackle for a touchdown.
Midway through the quarter, UCLA's Darryl Henley returned a punt 36 yards to the Aztec 20-yard line. SDSU's defense finally toughened, causing Stevens to throw consecutive incomplete passes on second and third down from the eight.
Dave Franey kicked a 25-yard field goal, giving the Bruins a 10-0 lead with 4:59 remaining in the first quarter.
The Aztecs, meanwhile, were sorely in need of an offensive tuneup. They did not record a first down until 10 1/2 minutes into the game on an 11-yard pass from Santos to Robert Awalt.
SDSU netted 17 yards in 16 plays the first quarter. It did not cross midfield until one minute into the second quarter.
At that point, the Aztec offense opened up. Santos threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Awalt, who was just beyond UCLA's Craig Rutledge when he caught the ball at the five.
SDSU then trailed, 10-7, with 13:07 left in the half.
The Aztecs should have left for the locker room because UCLA dominated the remainder of the half. The Bruins scored 21 unanswered points, taking a 31-7 halftime lead.
Just 1:34 after Awalt's touchdown, UCLA rebounded to score on a two-yard run by Green.
The touchdown was set up on a 50-yard Stevens to Willie Anderson pass. Anderson beat freshman cornerback Lyndon Earley, who playing in place of the injured Clarence Nunn (twisted left ankle).
It only got worse from there for SDSU.
Henley returned the next Aztec punt to SDSU's 48, then SDSU was penalized 15 yards for a late hit. UCLA covered 33 yards in 4 plays, scoring on Eric Ball's 13-yard run with 8:48 left in the half.
Ball, who scored four touchdowns against SDSU last year, was not supposed to play because of knee and hamstring injuries. He said earlier in the week that it would have taken a wheelchair to keep him sidelined. The Aztecs posted the quote in their locker room for motivation, but Ball appeared to be more motivated than SDSU.
After Ball's touchdown, Santos was like the target in a shooting gallery when SDSU regained possession. He was sacked twice in one drive by Mike Lodish, giving UCLA 4 sacks for 38 yards in the half.
The drive concluded with the Aztecs facing fourth and eight at UCLA's 34. Kevin Rahill came on to attempt a 51-yard field goal, which was low and wide left. Before the miss, SDSU kickers had succeeded on 22 straight field-goal attempts at home since Chris O'Brien missed a 44-yard try against UCLA in 1984.
As if the Aztec offense and defense weren't playing poorly enough, the special teams jumped into the act.
Late in the half, SDSU was penalized for roughing the punter after finally holding the Bruins for a series.
UCLA promptly scored on a 40-yard pass from Stevens to Anderson with 13 seconds left in the half.
"That probably was the most crucial play," Stolz said. "It kept us out of (the game) in the second half."