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GAME DAY

He's Rah-Rah About Rallies

UCLA SCOUTING REPORT: UCLA (6-3, 3-3) at No. 7 Washington (8-1, 5-1)

November 11, 2000|BILL SHAIKIN

The topic of the day was great comeback victories, and the speaker was Washington Coach Rick Neuheisel. No surprise there, since Neuheisel's Huskies have come from behind in seven of their eight victories. But the memory that popped into Neuheisel's mind had nothing to do with Washington.

In 1992, when he was an assistant coach at UCLA, Neuheisel watched in amazement as seldom-used senior quarterback John Barnes led the unranked Bruins to a 38-37 victory over 15th-ranked USC, overcoming a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit in the process.

"That was a remarkable game, for us to keep coming back with a fourth-string quarterback," Neuheisel said.

To this day, Neuheisel said, he implores his players never to assume a game is lost. As a head coach, he can't scream too much these days, wearing a headset and all.

But, as a UCLA assistant, he said, he ran up and down the sidelines whenever the Bruins trailed, urging players to believe in victory no matter how great the deficit. Of course, the Bruins did not come back every time, so he said not everyone appreciated his constant enthusiasm.

"They got tired of me doing that at UCLA," he said.

*

During a week in which he worried about how to contain Washington quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo, UCLA defensive coordinator Bob Field paused for a moment to reminisce. Tuiasosopo is the son of Manu Tuiasosopo, who played for the Bruins during Field's first season an assistant coach, in 1978.

The Bruins that year featured Tuiasosopo at nose guard, Jerry Robinson at inside linebacker and Kenny Easley at free safety. All were selected in the first round of the NFL draft and all enjoyed long pro careers.

"It was kind of like they say in baseball," Field said. "If you're strong up the middle, you're pretty good."

The 1978 Bruins finished 8-3-1. They started 8-1, then lost to Oregon State and USC and tied Arkansas in the Fiesta Bowl.

*

* Time: 4 p.m.

* Site: Husky Stadium, Seattle.

* TV: Channel 7.

* Radio: KXTA (1150).

* When UCLA has the ball: Quarterback Cory Paus has thrown for more than 300 yards in three of his last four games--328 last week against Stanford--but the Huskies rank second in the Pacific 10 Conference in pass defense. They rush the passer well, but have intercepted only four passes. So Paus may have a greater margin for error should he repeat his occasional tendency to force a pass instead of taking a sack. Tailback DeShaun Foster rejoined the 100-yard club last week and could repeat against a Washington defense that has given up 445 yards rushing over the last two games. Arizona's Leo Mills ran for 185 last week. Washington defensive linemen Marcus Robinson and Larry Triplett have 11 sacks between them.

* When Washington has the ball: There may be no bigger headache for Pac-10 defenses than quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo, who runs and passes with equal flair. He has passed for more than 300 yards once in 23 starts, and his 11 interceptions this season are exceeded in the Pac-10 by only USC's Carson Palmer, but he ranks among national leaders by averaging 242 yards in total offense. He has more yards rushing, 331, than tailback Willie Hurst, who ran for 116 yards last week. Hurst and Rich Alexis split time at tailback. In pass coverage, the UCLA linebackers have struggled to cover running backs and tight ends, so the Huskies figure to look to tight end Jerramy Stevens, who caught eight passes for 93 yards last week. John Anderson kicked field goals of 50 and 56 yards against UCLA last season.

* Key to the game: On a Big Ten kind of day--raw and blustery, with high temperatures forecast in the 40s--the Bruins need a Big Ten attack to quiet perhaps the loudest crowd in the Pac-10. If the UCLA offensive line opens enough holes for Foster to repeat his numbers from last week--33 carries, 159 yards--the Bruins can silence the masses, and win.

* Fast fact: Of the eight one-loss teams besides Washington ranked in the top 10, the Huskies have handed the lone loss to two--No. 2 Miami and No. 10 Oregon State. The Huskies' lone loss came at No. 6 Oregon.

* The line: Washington by 7.

HOW THEY COMPARE

UCLA and Washington

30.0 Scoring 29.7

30.4 Points allowed 23.9

261.0 Passing 206.3

104.9 Rushing 182.7

365.9 Total offense 389.0

224.7 Passing defense 207.4

165.6 Rushing defense 155.3

390.3 Total defense 362.7

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