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COLLEGE FOOTBALL : Bruins Won't Soon Forget This : Pacific 10: UCLA had its sights set on a bowl, not the ball, and perhaps both got away from them.

November 05, 1995|THOMAS BONK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

TEMPE, Ariz. — So that's what UCLA was doing.

The Bruins were simply studying their bowl geography.

With Pasadena (Rose Bowl) already pretty much out of the question, the Bruins came to Arizona hoping to go to Dallas (Cotton Bowl) and left wondering if they're going anywhere at all.

Right now, the best they can probably hope for might be the Aloha Bowl in Honolulu.

If so, those welcoming the Bruins at the airport should make sure to hang the usual flowers around their necks. Otherwise the Bruins probably would drop them. The same way they did the football at Sun Devil Stadium Saturday.

The Bruins played as if they needed a boxing announcer: "Let's get ready to fumble!"

No matter how you look at it, UCLA's 37-33 defeat was one monumental fumble, a colossal turnaround from a 27-10 first-half lead to a 27-0 splurge from Arizona State.

The second half was one of UCLA's all-time clunkers. In one four-possession stretch, the Bruins fumbled three times and were tackled in the end zone for a safety.

Don't think that the Sun Devils didn't notice what was going on.

"It kind of seemed like they folded," said defensive tackle Jason Reynolds. "You could see it in their eyes. And their hits lost their pop."

It was ugly for UCLA. The turning point came for the Bruins when they left their locker room for the start of the second half.

Meanwhile, in the Arizona State locker room, there were some big plans being made at halftime.

"It may sound sound silly, but I told them how we were going to win the ballgame," Sun Devil Coach Bruce Snyder said. "I told them we were going to take the ball and put it in the end zone. Then we were going to get it again and put it in the end zone again.

"That's really all I said. I wasn't in any kind of panic or anything. Let's just go out and play. It was real simple."

Maybe for the Sun Devils it was. The way the Bruins were playing, it was very, very difficult. Jake Plummer, the Arizona quarterback, said the four Bruin turnovers were caused by the Sun Devil defense.

"We lighted a fire with them," Plummer said. "Everybody makes a big deal out of points off turnovers. Well, we got some tonight.

"Winning is awesome."

Losing stinks, which was the UCLA way of looking at the situation Saturday night. The Bruins must hope there is no more of it waiting for them, even with games against Washington and USC in the next two weeks.

Lose either one of those two and the Bruins can forget Hawaii.

As for the Sun Devils, well, they're 5-4 and not particularly choosy what bowl game they might get invited to.

"All I know is we play Cal next week," Plummer said. "That's all I can worry about now. But I do know that this is a big one and we'll celebrate a little."

All it took was a 27-point flurry in the second half. As for the UCLA defense, the Sun Devils weren't too worried about the second half.

"We knew we could score on them," said offensive tackle Juan Roque. "That wasn't an issue."

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