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COLLEGE FOOTBALL : White Has Big Day in Titan Win

October 18, 1987|ROBYN NORWOOD | Times Staff Writer

Cal State Fullerton wide receiver Todd White is a player of such versatile ability that in his years as a Titan he has thrown passes, carried the ball on the reverse, returned punts and kickoffs, held for field goals and played a bit role in Fullerton's "forgotten tee" fake field goal play.

But Saturday, he did what he does best--catch the ball--and did it better than he ever has before, catching a school-record 12 passes for a school-record 203 yards and a school-record tying 3 touchdowns.

All of which played a major role in Fullerton's 28-14 victory over Nevada Las Vegas in a Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. game before 6,019 at Santa Ana Stadium.

Ronnie Barber, the Fullerton quarterback, completed 19 of 27 passes for 279 yards--a career- high--with 1 interception and the 3 touchdown passes to White. He also scored the other Titan touchdown.

Fullerton (3-4 overall, 3-1 in the PCAA) was not without the sort of mistakes it has made often this season--there were 3 lost fumbles and 92 yards of penalties. But for a team that last week was pummeled, 65-0, by Florida, all that seemed secondary with a victory in hand.

"After standing on the sidelines watching the clock against Florida and saying, 'Move, move,' . . . When you get humiliated like that, it takes more than being able to block and tackle to come back and win," said Gene Murphy, Fullerton coach.

Even the victory over a rival such as UNLV--a team the Titans had not beaten since 1972--took a bit of a backseat.

"You never know what to expect after a loss like we had at Florida," said White, a fifth-year senior. "I'm pretty happy about my record and beating UNLV, but I'm most happy that we won."

In spite of the success Fullerton had passing, the Titan offense had to be bailed out by the defense several times, most notably in the second half, after Fullerton fumbled on its 28-yard line while trying to protect a 21-14 lead.

Richard Williams, who had just directed UNLV (2-3, 1-1) to a touchdown after replacing starter Scott Sims--who threw three interceptions while passing for only 27 yards--drove the Rebels to a first-and-goal at the six-yard line. But on the next play, Fullerton's Sean Fernandes intercepted a pass in the end zone, preserving the lead. It was the first of two interceptions in the game by Fernandes, a walk-on who has intercepted five passes this season.

"Our defense played as well as it can play," Murphy said.

The Fullerton secondary, led by Mike Schaffel's 12 tackles, held the Rebels' leading receiver, George Thomas, to 3 receptions for 23 yards. A week ago in a victory over Utah State, Thomas caught 9 passes.

Fullerton took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on Barber's four-yard pass to White. It became 14-0 in the second quarter when Barber scored on a one-yard sneak on a drive keyed by Jim Thornton's 31-yard reception.

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