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UCLA Stands Firmly

College football: Bruin defense comes up with big plays in 28-16 victory over Cal.

October 25, 1998|SCOTT HOWARD-COOPER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

BERKELEY — The UCLA coaches were out of mental maneuvering. If the defense was going to make a stand Saturday afternoon, it would have to come from the players.

Going for the real good impression, the Bruins made two, one at the end of the first half that made sure the momentum didn't change and one late in the third quarter that made sure the season didn't change. The streak of wins, at six for the season and 16 overall after the 28-16 victory over California at Memorial Coliseum, is still alive.

Kenyon Coleman in the opening minutes made the first sack by a UCLA lineman all season, then added another later.

That's nothing. Did you hear the one about how the defense won the game?

"The goal-line stands," said Terry Tumey, the defensive line coach. "Kenyon Coleman produced 2 1/2 sacks. It's all a compliment to these kids. They had always been trying to contribute. Today was a day when we contributed a little more than we had before."

Maybe even a lot more.

The oft-maligned part of the oft-praised Bruins had not been without its bright moments--a week earlier, linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo got two sacks and cornerback Ryan Roques got an interception on the same Oregon overtime possession to silence a potent offense--but this went beyond anything that had come before.

UCLA is still ranked second in the nation and on course for a Pacific 10 Conference championship because its defense was first rate.

The damage by the Cal offense? The Bears' opening score came with a drive that started on the UCLA two-yard line, after Cade McNown had fumbled. Saleem Muhammad went in from there on the first play.

The Bruins fumbled again the next time they touched the ball, when Jermaine Lewis coughed up the ensuing kickoff. However, Cal, last in the conference in scoring, could not capitalize.

The Bears scored early in the second quarter . . . on a safety. Fullback Durell Price was tackled in the end zone by Sekou Sanyika, and the Bruins led, 14-9, because of their offense and in spite of their offense.

Cal got another touchdown with 36 seconds left in the third quarter, a two-yard toss from Justin Vedder to Joel Young, wide open in the back of the end zone to culminate a 52-yard drive. They became the only points that could truly be pinned on the UCLA defense.

"They may be one of the worst offenses in the Pac-10," Coleman said, "but our defense still came up big."

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