The latest polls brought mixed results for the Bruins, who moved up one spot, to No. 3, in the USA Today/ESPN balloting of coaches, but remained at No. 3 in the Associated Press rankings, even though top-ranked Ohio State lost.
The bowl championship series rankings, which will eventually determine the teams that play for the national championship Jan. 4 in Tempe, Ariz., come out today. UCLA was third heading into the weekend.
"I think that should put us second in the BCS now, or whatever it's called," UCLA receiver Brian Poli-Dixon said.
The big offensive numbers reappeared Saturday as the penalties disappeared, just as the Bruins had promised.
After getting flagged 12 times each of the previous two weeks, they were called for only seven penalties in Corvallis, Ore., a major step toward scoring 41 points and piling up 523 yards in the seven-point victory over Oregon State.
"Better," Coach Bob Toledo said. "It's something we emphasized. It's a matter of focus, discipline and concentration, and we did a better job of that."
Besides, the most costly of the penalties belonged to the special teams, when Tod McBride was assessed a personal foul for hitting Oregon State's Tim Alexander out of bounds during a kickoff return. Even though that added 12 yards to the return and put the ball at the UCLA 44, becoming part of the drive that culminated in a field goal that gave the Beavers a 34-34 tie with 31 seconds to play, Toledo was not overly upset at McBride because the penalty occurred so close to the sideline.
There was no need to ask which Oregon State defensive back was out of position in the final seconds, allowing Bruin Brad Melsby to get open for the 61-yard, game-winning touchdown catch. Andrae Holland stepped forward.
"I lost the game," he said. "I blew the coverage. I can't really explain it. They ran a three-receiver set. I was supposed to be deep, and I wasn't."