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UCLA Fades in Wash.

College football: Huskies keep Rose Bowl hopes alive when Bruin offense goes stale for most of the second half, 35-28.


SEATTLE — The defense giving up too many points, and too many yards. Quarterback Cory Paus or tailback DeShaun Foster getting injured again. The coaches calling one too many trick plays. The bus not showing up at the team hotel.

On a list of potential concerns about the Bruins, offensive hibernation would not even rank in the top 10. With Paus and Foster in the lineup, well, Points R Us.

So who would have thought it? You couldn't tell from the final score alone, but you can pin the Bruins' 35-28 loss to Washington on Saturday on an offense that stalled for virtually the entire second half.

"We kind of went into auto-pilot there for awhile," UCLA offensive coordinator Al Borges said.

The Bruins led 21-14 at halftime, then did not score again until the final two minutes. The seventh-ranked Huskies, who had scored 130 points in the fourth quarter this season, did not score in the fourth quarter Saturday and did not need to.

"They're a pretty good team," UCLA receiver Freddie Mitchell said. "But they're very beatable."

The victory kept Husky hopes alive for a bid to either the Rose Bowl, as Pacific 10 Conference champions, or to another bowl championship series game. Washington (9-1 overall, 6-1 Pac-10) trails Oregon by one game in the conference standings. UCLA is 6-4 and 3-4.

The Huskies came from behind to win for the eighth time this season.

The Bruins have allowed opponents to score first in every game this season, and so the Huskies marched 80 yards on their first drive and 79 on their second for a 14-0 lead. But UCLA scored the final 21 points of the first half, with Foster running for two touchdowns and fullback Ed Ieremia-Stansbury catching a five-yard pass from Paus for the third.

And UCLA should have had more. The Bruins forced Washington quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo to fumble twice, and they recovered both fumbles, but neither turnover led to a UCLA score. The Bruins recovered one at the Washington 11-yard-line, but Paus was intercepted in the end zone by safety Greg Carothers.

"I played the worst first half of football I've ever played, and we were winning by seven points," Paus said.

"I thought we were playing well enough to win," UCLA Coach Bob Toledo said.

So much for momentum. On the first play from scrimmage in the second half, Washington tailback Willie Hurst scampered 62 yards down the right sideline, giving the Huskies a first-and-goal at the UCLA nine-yard line. The Huskies marched 71 yards on that drive and 95 and 53 yards on their next two drives, touchdowns all, and Washington led, 35-21.

The Bruins' second-half drives? One first down, no first downs, missed field goal, one first down, one first down, before Paus engineered a too-little, too-late two-minute drill for a touchdown and was stripped on a last attempt in the final minute.

"The reason we weren't clicking is because I wasn't completing more passes," Paus said. "I lost the game."

His first-half interception was a silly throw into coverage, granted, but teammates, coaches and statistics absolved him of sole blame for the second half. Paus completed 16 of 27 passes for 175 yards in the half, without an interception. He was sacked three times and, as Toledo said, "He's got to learn not to get sacked when it's crunch time."

Foster carried 20 times for 93 yards in all, six times for 21 yards in the third quarter.

"They played hard, but they didn't throw anything at us that we weren't expecting," Foster said. "The bottom line is that we did not execute."

"We didn't run the ball very well," Borges said. The Huskies did. They ran for 202 yards in the second half and 349 overall, keeping the ball for 39 minutes to the Bruins' 21.

"One way to stop a team that has big performers is to keep them on the sideline," Washington Coach Rick Neuheisel said.

Toledo blamed the offense for the defensive struggle. Because UCLA failed to sustain drives, the Huskies could control the ball against the Bruins' weary defensive corps, in particular the injury-riddled defensive line.

"It does tend to take its toll on you, not only physically but mentally," UCLA safety Marques Anderson said. "You have to find a way to get up."

As the Bruins prepare to get up for USC this week, even Toledo could not prevent himself from thinking "what if?" Of the Bruins' four losses, one came by six points, another by seven and a third in triple overtime.

"We very easily could be 9-1," Toledo said.

And the Huskies could easily have lost every game in their six-game winning streak. They beat UCLA by seven, Arizona State by six, Stanford by three, Arizona by three and Oregon State by three. They beat California by 12, but they trailed by 11.

The Bruins could have won Saturday. In the five games since Paus returned from injury, before Saturday, they averaged 36 points.

That's one more touchdown they needed, the one they failed to score for the first 28 minutes of the second half. For want of that touchdown, the game was lost, a fact Paus still found difficult to believe after the game.

"Even when things go wrong," he said, "we put up points."



Saturday at the Rose Bowl is as close to the Rose Bowl game as USC and UCLA will get. Trojans ended Bruins' eight-game series streak last year.


Freddie Mitchell says he played the second half with a mild concussion, but there was nothing mild about the hit. D12


Rose Bowl Race



Another narrow victory by the Ducks keeps them unbeaten in the Pac-10 and in the driver's seat for Pasadena. D10



Spartans pull off yet another Big Ten upset as Duckett runs for 174 yards and Brees is picked off three times. D10


Purdue can still advance to the Rose Bowl with a victory against Indiana because of Northwestern's loss at Iowa. D10


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