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Turnovers Help UCLA, USC Turn Up Victories on Road : Eight Interceptions Give Bruins 49-0 Win Over Oregon State

November 02, 1986|THOMAS BONK | Times Staff Writer

PORTLAND, Ore. — Every pass was an adventure Saturday for the Oregon State Beavers, who threw 57 of them, although 8 went to the wrong team, which in this case was the UCLA Bruins.

What a remarkable weapon, the forward pass. Until the Beavers started passing the way they did in their 49-0 loss to the Bruins, the pass play had always been considered to be part of the team throwing the ball.

That is what made the Bruins' lopsided victory seem so strange. It was a stunning reversal of roles. It made no sense.

"It was a very strange game," Bruin Coach Terry Donahue said.

\o7 The UCLA Bruins used the passing attack of Oregon State to shut out the Beavers, 49-0, Saturday in a Pacific 10 game.

Beaver quarterback Erik Wilhelm threw touchdown passes to Bruin defenders Craig Rutledge and Alan Dial. He also passed four other times to UCLA players and personally deposited the so-called Air Express in the dead-letter file.\f7

And so it went for the Bruins, who improved their Pac-10 record to 4-1 and overall mark to 6-2 by leapfrogging over the Beavers in what turned out to be one of the biggest mismatches since . . . since . . . actually, since last season, when UCLA paddled the Beavers, 41-0.

The stars of this game were the Bruin secondary, especially Rutledge and Darryl Henley, who tied school records with three interceptions apiece, and also Dial, who picked off one of Wilhelm's passes and ran it back 100 yards.

"He threw it right to me," Dial said. "I was staring right into the quarterback's eyes. I just got the ball and I was gone."

No one touched Dial. Then again, no one placed a hand on Rutledge, either, in the third quarter when he intercepted a pass thrown by Wilhelm and ran 45 yards for a touchdown.

If there had been any lingering doubts about the new, improved Beavers that Donahue spoke so much about early in the week, Rutledge's interception return ended them. At that point, the Bruins led, 35-0.

So what happened to the Beavers, whose record dropped to 1-4 in the conference, 2-6 overall?

"They kind of self-destructed and blew up," Donahue said.

The explosions were numerous. When Dial got his touchdown, the score became 42-0, and there was still 6:38 left in the third quarter.

But as spectacular as Dial's return was, Henley said he was equally impressed by Rutledge's interception return for a touchdown, especially his speed.

"I think Craig had lead boots on," Henley said. "He was not exactly Marcus Allen out there. But, hey, he got to the end zone."

This interception thing is a new addition to the UCLA attack. Before Saturday, the Bruins had stolen only seven passes from other teams all season. Then they pick off eight in one afternoon, six courtesy of Wilhelm, the other two by his backup, Dave McLaughlin.

All right. Go figure it. Eric Smith?

"We are a better team," Smith said. "We have better athletes, better coaches and better players than they do."

There. The secret is out. The only mystery remaining is why Donahue spent so much time building up the Beavers, who certainly didn't deserve it.

In the first half alone, Oregon State had three passes intercepted, had its quarterback sacked twice, fumbled twice and missed a field goal.

Both of those fumbles led directly to UCLA touchdowns, and one of them was of epically comic proportions.

The first one was sort of routine, but it set the tone for the day. Randy Beverly landed on a ball let loose by Roland Hawkins on the Beaver 13, and on the next play, fullback Mel Farr Jr. ran for a touchdown.

That was the first of the Bruins' touchdowns, and it was followed quickly by the first of two scoring runs by James Primus. Primus put UCLA up, 14-0, in the first quarter with a 24-yard touchdown run on which he broke three tackles.

"Our offensive line has improved so much," said Primus, who would close out the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. "It all starts up front for us. We had holes all day."

Primus' first touchdown ended a 97-yard drive, the Bruins' longest of the season, which began, of course, with an interception by Henley.

By halftime, UCLA had shot off to a 21-0 lead with another touchdown for which the defense was entirely responsible. Smith scored it, falling on a fumble in the Beaver end zone on a play that actually began on the Oregon State 35-yard line.

Center Dave Ondorff snapped the ball over the head of Wilhelm, who was in a shotgun formation. After that, it looked like a Mack Sennett film. Wilhelm chased the ball as it bounced back toward the goal, but every time he leaned over to grab it, he kicked it farther away.

Wilhelm booted the ball three times, chased by Terry Tumey, before he finally fell flat, and Smith jumped on the ball in the end zone. Smith credited two players for his touchdown.

"First, I had a very helpful snap from the center," Smith said. "Also, Terry Tumey was right in the quarterback's face. He said I owe him $100. I was just there to sweep up the gravy at the end."

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