Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

COLLEGE FOOTBALL / WEEK 7

UCLA Uses Finishing Kick

College football: Sailer's field goal in overtime caps UCLA's 41-38 victory over Oregon in shootout at Rose Bowl.

October 18, 1998|SCOTT HOWARD-COOPER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Cade McNown got sick, in the middle of the field, in the middle of the game, fortunate only in that it came between plays. DeShaun Foster got hurt. Kenyon Coleman, back from an injury, and Jermaine Lewis, back from a suspension, got to play for the first time in what seemed like forever.

Chris Sailer got another chance. Thus, it was a victory that the Bruins will savor for some time.

If their wildest dreams--or their wildest plans--come true in the months ahead, the UCLA Bruins will always have this day to look back on. Their wildest of victories, on a sun-drenched Saturday afternoon before 75,367 at the Rose Bowl when the No. 2 team in the nation won an overtime shootout against No. 11 Oregon, 41-38, and remained undefeated even though the final bullet in the chamber was more like a BB.

Seventy-nine points and 985 yards in offense--547 by the Bruins, 438 by the Ducks--culminated in what should have seemed like nothing, a 24-yard field goal by Sailer, the All-America candidate. Except that it came one UCLA possession after he had missed wide left on what likewise would have been considered a gimme, a 21-yarder at the end of regulation.

Which came one play after backup quarterback Drew Bennett caught a 53-yard pass from McNown.

Which came just after the Ducks had capped their comeback from a 24-7 second-quarter deficit to earn a 38-38 tie with 28 seconds to play.

Which came after McNown completed a 60-yard touchdown pass to Danny Farmer that capitalized on Reuben Droughns' fumble, a sequence that spotlighted Farmer as a big-play receiver and that turned what could have been a great day for Droughns in his return to Southern California sour.

All of which left the Bruins 5-0 overall and atop the Pacific 10 Conference--and left the Ducks in shock.

Droughns, the Anaheim High product who came in averaging 163 yards a game and rushed for 172 in 25 carries against UCLA, remained on the bench after the conclusion, head in hands, all but motionless except for when a teammate or member of the Oregon staff came by to console him. Cornerback Rashad Bauman, guard Jim Adams, quarterback Akili Smith and receivers Damon Griffin and Bobby Nero also stayed put, staring out to the field, a close loss against a highly ranked team of little consolation.

"We are tired of proving stuff," Smith said after completing 15 of 37 passes for 221 yards. "We want victories. We're tired or proving ourselves. We wanted this victory bad. We wanted to show the world that we're national-championship contenders."

The comeback--after UCLA had scored on its first four possessions, with a Sailer field goal and touchdowns on a run by Foster and passes from McNown to Foster and Farmer--nearly provided the Ducks the opportunity. They had the chance, and then had the nearly miraculous opportunity to capitalize when Sailer missed the 21-yarder.

Of course, that had come only after they helped put UCLA in position to win in regulation, proving they truly were more lucky than good on that final drive of the fourth quarter. Not wanting to give the Bruins the chance for a long return, even though Foster had been out since 9:09 remained in the second quarter because of a strained ligament in his left knee, Oregon kicked to up man Randy Hakes, who returned the ball 19 yards to the UCLA 42.

Twenty-two seconds still remained. McNown then threw to Bennett for a 53-yard gain, down to the Oregon four. The Ducks had been saved from themselves only by Sailer's miss.

That got them to overtime. UCLA won the toss and deferred, giving Oregon the ball at the 25. The first play ended with linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo sacking Smith for a loss of nine. So did the second play, this time for a three-yard loss. The Bruin defense, oft-maligned all season, had made a stand.

"You could tell we stepped it up a whole another level in the overtime," Ayanbadejo said.

On third down and 22 from the 37, Smith's pass was incomplete. On fourth down, his pass was intercepted by cornerback Ryan Roques, his fourth in the last four games. UCLA got the ball, and the comforting notion that a failure to score would only have meant a second overtime, not defeat.

The Bruins didn't need the fallback. Starting from the opponent's 25, as all teams do in the extra periods, Keith Brown went off right tackle for a six-yard gain, then again for seven yards, part of the 101 yards that came in his second consecutive start. First down.

UCLA ran three more plays, all conservative: Craig Walendy up the middle, Brown up the middle, Walendy up the middle. It was fourth and four from the six, and time for Sailer.

"I'm just glad they gave me another chance," Sailer said.

He wasn't alone. One foot--his right one--and 24 yards later, the Bruins had survived. Sailer got redemption, and they got a victory. Proving that at least one thing went according to their original plan.

*

MORE ON UCLA

CHRIS DUFRESNE

It was another thrilling Pac-10 game--and this time a large TV audience was able to see it. Page 8

* FOSTER HURT

Bruin tailback DeShaun Foster was sidelined because of a sprained knee ligament. Page 8

* BUTTERFINGERS

Oregon's Reuben Droughns returned to the Southland--and lost three fumbles. Page 9

*

ELSEWHERE

Georgia Tech (25) 41, Virginia Tech (7) 38

A touchdown with 4:40 left gave the Yellow Jackets the ACC lead. Page 4

Arkansas 41, South Carolina28

The Razorbacks (6-0) wonder what they must do to gain the respect of anyone outside the state. Page 5

Spotlight: Page 4

Rose Bowl: Page 6

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|