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COLLEGE FOOTBALL / DAILY REPORT : UCLA : The One That Got Away

September 07, 1993|JIM HODGES

With 23 seconds remaining in UCLA's 27-25 loss to California on Saturday night, the Bruins had the ball on Cal's 28 when Wayne Cook dropped back to pass.

"On the play, J.J. (Stokes) could have gone either way, to the corner or the post," Cook said Monday. "He ran by the linebacker and settled down. He thought he was wide open, and I thought he was open, too. We thought the linebacker had gone to the flat."

Instead, the linebacker, Eric Zomalt, was lurking nearby. "I didn't see the guy," Cook said. "Then he popped up from behind a lineman.

"From there, everything was in slow motion. The ball seemed to take an hour to get there."

Zomalt's interception finished off UCLA's rally and Cal's victory.

"If I had just thrown an incomplete pass, we would have kicked on the next play," Cook said. "It would have been 40-something yards for a field goal and (Bjorn Merten) has the leg for it."

Cook finished with 19 completions of 36 passes for 230 yards and a touchdown in his first complete game since 1988, his senior season at Newberry Park High.

Three knee operations and a long recovery period were distant memories.

"I wasn't that tired in the fourth quarter, and I expected to be because I had missed a lot of practice," he said. "I had been nervous early in the first half, and on one of the first pass plays I had to scramble. I ran into two tacklers and then, suddenly, it was just football. It was the same game I played when I was 13 years old."

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