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COLLEGE FOOTBALL / WEEK 11 | NOTES

These Teams Certainly Had Their Moments

November 05, 2000|BILL DWYRE | TIMES SPORTS EDITOR

There were at least two moments that got the blood pumping for UCLA and Stanford fans in the Rose Bowl crowd of 64,039 Saturday, and both were crucial.

First, there was the fumble that turned out not to be.

With 4 minutes 11 seconds to play, and Stanford riding high after marching 80 yards to cut UCLA's lead to 37-35, freshman Tab Perry of the Bruins took the Cardinal kickoff two yards deep in the end zone and elected to run it out. He met a wall of tacklers at the 15, tried to squirm away and, in so doing, saw the ball pop loose.

Stanford pounced on it but the officials ruled, apparently, that Perry's forward progress had been stopped and so UCLA retained possession. The Bruin sigh of relief sounded like a jet stream.

Luke Powell, Stanford's star receiver in this game with 149 yards on four catches, said there had been some discussion about that call in the Cardinal locker room afterward. What he likely meant was yelling and screaming.

"Seemed like he was still squirming for yardage, so the play didn't seem over," Powell said. "But then, you can't put the game on the refs. We had lots of other plays and chances. It was a tough one, though, that call."

But Perry, a freshman from Milpitas, Calif., indicated he didn't think there was much chance of the officials calling it a fumble, and added that it didn't matter, because "our guys got the ball, anyway."

Nope. Stanford's guys did.

But then Powell came around, showing that he did get it.

"It sure would have been tough going back to the sidelines," he said.

The second moment came six plays later when, with second and long from its own 32, UCLA tried an ill-advised alley-oop pass. As it turned out, the Cory Paus-to-Freddie Mitchell bomb wasn't supposed to be.

"When I saw him throw that ball," Coach Bob Toledo said, "my heart went up into my throat."

Toledo had called for Paus to roll left and keep the ball. Paus rolled left all right, but then said he saw Mitchell wide open, so he stopped and threw. The ball fluttered and floated and gave Stanford defender Aaron Focht time to get back and get an arm tangled with Mitchell's. Somehow, Mitchell made the catch, one-handed, and UCLA, with less that two minutes left, had the field position needed to clinch the victory.

"Wish I would have had a little more on that pass," Paus said, likely preparing himself for Monday's chat with Toledo.

*

The smile was especially wide on the face of Jason Zdenek. The free safety has been overshadowed in the secondary by Marques Anderson and Ricky Manning, but that was Zdenek intercepting a pass from Stanford's Randy Fasano and returning it 56 yards for a touchdown.

"It was overwhelming," Zdenek said. "It looked like it was sitting in the air forever, and then it was just wide open for me."

This was the first career interception and first career touchdown for Zdenek, a senior who played 17 defensive snaps in his first three seasons before winning a starting job this season. After he returned to the sideline after the touchdown, his teammates mobbed him.

"They were complimenting me on my speed," Zdenek said. "Nobody knew I was that fast."

*

DeShaun Foster was back to his old self, or close enough. He ran for 159 yards, his first 100-yard effort since rushing for 187 and 140 yards in the first two games. In between, he suffered a broken right hand. Saturday, in his third game since the injury, the protective wrapping was cut to a minimum, and he carried the ball freely in both hands.

Staff Writer Bill Shaikin contributed to this story.

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