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SPORTS WEEKEND | COLLEGE FOOTBALL / DAILY REPORT :
UCLA

Beating Longhorns Was a Snap for Him

September 19, 1997|JIM HODGES

Texas was relatively easy for UCLA center Shawn Stuart.

It was a no-needle day, and it was about time.

While coaches have rolled reserve guards and tackles in and out of the Bruin lineup, the constant has been Stuart, a junior who played all 82 offensive downs at Washington State, all 75 against Tennessee and finally got a break when backup Matt Phelan got his first playing time in the 66-3 thrashing at Texas.

Stuart's day in Austin was so easy, he came home without a punctured arm.

"At Washington State, coming off the field I couldn't walk up stairs because I was cramping up so bad," Stuart said Thursday.

That was fixed with some intravenous fluids.

"Once I had that, I didn't cramp up the whole night," Stuart said, shuddering at the memory of a needle search in a thick-skinned arm with collapsing veins.

The IV was administered at halftime during the Tennessee game, played in 100 degrees at the Rose Bowl.

That game left him with an infected finger on his right--or snapping--hand after he cut it on a helmet, and it also left him with a separated shoulder that has cost some practice time.

Then came Texas, and only 62 plays and an unpunctured arm.

The closest he has come to asking for rest was at Washington State, Stuart said, and guard Andy Meyers wouldn't let him.

Both hamstrings cramped, as did his calf.

"Andy looked over at me and said, 'You're not going out,' " Stuart said. "It's become almost like a pride thing with us."

*

UCLA has caused 15 turnovers in three games and turned them into 62 points--eight touchdowns, two field goals and eight extra points. In 11 games last season, the Bruins converted 22 turnovers into 74 points. . . . Fourteen Bruins have caught passes in three games. The leading receiver is Jim McElroy with 15 catches for 235 yards and two touchdowns.

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