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Cal Slaps UCLA With a Low Five : College football: Everything goes wrong for Bruins in 26-7 loss, even after Bear quarterback Barr suffers a broken collarbone.

October 09, 1994|JIM HODGES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

BERKELEY — It's a case of buzzard luck: nothing dead and nothing dying.

You sack the opposing quarterback, knocking him from the game, and his replacement beats you. You replace your quarterback and the sub throws two interceptions. Then his replacement throws one.

You run a reverse on a punt return. It loses five yards.

You run a flanker reverse that loses one yard, and you're penalized for holding. The player you held made the tackle.

When California's fans started the "five more years" chant with 4:39 to play in a 26-7 victory over UCLA on Saturday, it merely added insult to injury. No Bruin senior has beaten Cal. No Bear senior has lost to UCLA. Cal has never before beaten UCLA five times in a row.

Five more years? How about four weeks? That's how long since UCLA (2-4, 0-3 in the Pacific 10) has won a game.

"It's very disheartening to see us play as poorly as we did," UCLA Coach Terry Donahue said. "Our team right now just doesn't make any plays on offense or defense. It's very frustrating for the coach and players because nothing ever happens that's exciting or emotional in terms of getting your team excited."

It showed in things such as the pass rush.

Cal quarterback Dave Barr had all day to go to tight end Tony Gonzalez, who was open and waving in the end zone, ready to score his first college touchdown and the Bears' first of the day for a 7-0 lead.

When Barr had time, he shredded the Bruin defense. When he didn't, he was ineffective.

UCLA sacked him twice for 14 yards. The second hit, by Donnie Edwards in the second quarter, broke Barr's left collarbone. He will be sidelined four to six weeks.

Enter Kerry McGonigal, his replacement for three years and a favorite whipping boy of critics who say Cal (3-2, 2-0) won't win without Barr.

"I'd hate to say it, because you don't like to see people hurt, but I kind of thought that it was a break for us," Bruin linebacker Rod Smalley said.

Wrong. McGonigal completed both of his passes on his first series, a 60-yard scoring drive that ended with a 20-yard pass to Iheanyi Uwaezuoke for a 19-7 halftime lead.

From there, the game became a holding action, Cal playing stout defense and UCLA, well, holding. The Bruins, who had been penalized fewer times than any other Pac-10 team, had nine for 96 yards. They were assessed 15 yards for a personal foul on the opening kickoff, another 15 for a personal foul after Daron Washington's 26-yard touchdown run and 10 yards for holding Cal's Jerod Cherry while trying to protect Jim McElroy on a flanker reverse.

Cherry made the tackle for a loss of a yard.

"We just accumulated a lot of penalties," Donahue said. "I can't account for it. It's very upsetting. . . . We just made a lot of bad decisions in terms of blocking in the back, in terms of holding."

McGonigal was undaunted by the previous criticism. His job was not to win the game for Cal, but to keep from losing it.

"At halftime, they told us to take care of the football," he said. "No stupid penalties. Manage the running game. Make good decisions in the passing game. No mistakes. We knew at halftime if UCLA doesn't score 11 (actually 12 more) points, they don't win this game. They didn't score any."

It was worse than that.

While the Bears were sorting out their quarterback situation, UCLA was having its own problems at the position.

Cal's first touchdown had come after Artis Houston intercepted a pass from Wayne Cook and returned it 52 yards to the Bruin 11. Cook overthrew Kevin Jordan, who had turned the wrong direction on the play.

The Bruins made the score 7-7 on Washington's 26-yard run. Cal got a 38-yard field goal from Ryan Longwell on the play after Barr was injured, then two more points two plays later when Bear defensive back Ricky Spears came in on Cook, unimpeded by a blocker. Cook fumbled and various recovery efforts by both teams pushed it into the end zone, where UCLA guard Chad Sauter fell on it for the safety.

"I think that series of plays there before the end of the first half was huge in determining the outcome of the game," Donahue said. "When you're a team like we are right now, that's struggling so badly, when a series of bad things like that happens to you, you tend to not have the same response that a team on a roll does."

UCLA's first possession of the third quarter gave an indication that everything was falling apart. The Bruins called time out on the fifth play because a player failed to go on the field when his formation was called, then called another timeout two plays later when a play was called from the sideline that couldn't be run with the players who were on the field.

When things got no better, Donahue pulled Cook, replacing him with Ryan Fien with 30 seconds to play in the third quarter.

"When you're not making plays, the focal point becomes the quarterback," Donahue said. "I wanted to see if a change would help us. Obviously, it didn't have much impact.

"We're just kind of groping for answers."

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