When second-string tailback Brian Browning came off the bench Saturday night, Cal State Long Beach suddenly--and finally--had an offense.
Browning's 21-yard touchdown run with 6:58 to play gave the 49ers a 9-6 victory over University of the Pacific in a Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. game before 9,747 at Pacific Memorial Stadium in Stockton and a national ESPN TV audience.
Browning, who replaced injured Michael Roberts, enabled the 49ers, 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the PCAA, to snap a three-game losing streak.
After the 49ers had stopped Pacific on a fourth-and-one play at the Pacific 49 midway through the last quarter, Browning became a one-man show, accounting for the entire four-play touchdown drive.
He ran for 4 yards, caught a 7-yard pass from quarterback Jeff Graham, ran for 17 more and then dashed 21 yards around the right side to the end zone.
Pacific, which dropped to 2-4 and 1-1, tried to get into position for a tying field goal, but Stacey Alexander intercepted Jay Frost's pass on the 49er 25 with 39 seconds left.
"Our defense played a whale of a game," Long Beach Coach Larry Reisbig said.
It had to because the 49ers had only 140 total yards and 8 first downs.
Pacific controlled the early part of the game with its wishbone offense and took a 3-0 lead on a 23-yard field goal by Mark Gran with 38 seconds left in the first quarter.
The field goal came after Graham lost the ball on the snap deep in his own territory.
It took Long Beach--which had minus-2 total yards in the first quarter--22 minutes to make a first down.
The 49ers, whose offensive inefficiency continued for the fourth straight game, finally sustained a long drive that reached the Pacific 14 late in the second quarter.
But they had to settle for a 31-yard field goal by Dave VanSteenkiste and a 3-3 halftime tie.
A roughing-the-kicker penalty on Long Beach provided the impetus the Tigers needed to take the lead late in the third period.
With fullback Jon Grim running on almost every play, Pacific never threatened to score a touchdown but did get another field goal by Gran, this one from 35 yards.
Long Beach never got close to scoring in the third quarter as Pacific sacked Graham twice.
But the 49ers got the break they needed when Pacific gambled and lost when Frost was stopped on a keeper just shy of his 49.
"It was a bad decision because we didn't make it," Pacific Coach Bob Cope said. "The wishbone should make a foot--always."
UNLV 28, Utah State 27--Scott Sims threw a five-yard touchdown pass and scored a two-point conversion with three seconds remaining to lift the Rebels past the Aggies at Las Vegas.
The Aggies appeared to have the game won with 39 seconds left when Kendall Smith returned a punt 77 yards for a touchdown to give Utah State a 27-20 lead. But Sims' passing led the Rebels 58 yards in five plays to win the game. The Aggies trailed by 10 points midway through the fourth quarter but rallied to tie, 20-20, with 2:54 to play after Brent Snyder's threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Pat Newman and Dene Garner kicked a 29-yard field goal.
Las Vegas is 2-2 and 1-0. Utah State is 0-5 and 0-2.
Fresno St. 35, S. Illinois 0--Junior quarterback Dave Telford threw two third-quarter touchdown passes to lead the Bulldogs to a nonconference victory at Fresno.
Telford, who completed 14 of 30 passes for 214 yards, connected with Brock Smith for a 17-yard scoring pass and, just one minute later, hit Dean Collins on a 12-yard scoring pass to highlight the Bulldogs' 23-point third quarter.
Fresno State is 3-2. Southern Illinois is 2-4.
San Jose St. 57, New Mexico St. 6--The Spartans scored 30 first-quarter points on their way to a win over the Aggies at San Jose.
The Spartans, 5-1 overall and 2-1 in conference play, outgained New Mexico State (1-4, 0-2), 509 yards to 165.