How to account for the Bruins' sorry Saturday?
First, let it be said that Rodney Peete was magnificent. Put an S on his chest, mark him down as the favorite for next year's Heisman Trophy. He looked like Joe Montana in the Cotton Bowl. He crushed Troy Aikman.
Despite his talents as a tackler, Rodney doesn't play defense. So what stopped the Bruin offense?
Did UCLA look just a tad slower last Saturday? Something like figures moving underwater, men stepping on eggs? Did their offense look tentative, hesitant, mechanical? Did you get the feeling, as the drama unfolded, that one team was confidently letting it all hang out, having fun, while the other was just slowly waiting to see how the ax would fall?
There are all kinds of words to describe it: Tight, tense, off day, flat are some of the nicer ones. The more malicious would use choke or no heart. The old psychologizer, Terry Donahue, said: "You get to the point where you're trying so hard that you're fighting yourself." You choose your words according to your style, but we all understand.