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COLLEGE FOOTBALL / WEEK 6

Paus Is for Effect for UCLA

College football: Quarterback, playing for first time since season opener, leads Bruins from 21-0 deficit in 38-31 win over Arizona State.

October 01, 2000|ERIC SONDHEIMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Standing tall, sturdy and unshakable, a healthy Cory Paus of UCLA showed Saturday night what can happen when he finishes a game.

Paus completed 17 of 30 passes for 267 yards and two touchdowns while helping orchestrate a 21-point comeback in UCLA's 38-31 victory over Arizona State in a Pacific 10 Conference game before 68,113 at the Rose Bowl.

UCLA, 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the Pac-10, fell behind, 21-0, in the second quarter and played most of the last three quarters without tailback DeShaun Foster, who left the game because of a broken right hand.

But Paus, making his first appearance since suffering a separated right shoulder in the opener against Alabama, kept competing and got a lift from two unsung reserves, running backs Jermaine Lewis and Akil Harris.

Lewis rushed for 104 yards in 17 carries with one touchdown and Harris, a redshirt freshman who had carried the ball only once for UCLA before Saturday, gained 100 yards in 13 carries and scored two touchdowns.

"We had a nice comeback tonight, and we're going into a bye week with a 4-1 record," Coach Bob Toledo said. "A lot of people didn't think we'd be 4-1 right now. A lot of the big teams have already gone down."

The second half was one of those entertaining Pac-10 shootouts that make fans scream and coaches squirm.

Among the zany happenings:

* Lewis ran 57 yards for a touchdown on the opening play of the third quarter.

* Griffin Goodman, a third-string walk-on quarterback who came off the bench last year to defeat UCLA with a 49-yard touchdown pass in the final seconds of a 28-27 victory, was brought in after starter Ryan Kealy suffered a sprained knee early in the third quarter. On his first pass, he threw a 60-yard touchdown to Richard Williams, tying the score at 28-28.

* If there was any doubt about the physical condition of Paus, it vanished when he twice received late hits by Arizona State defenders for 15-yard penalties and never left the field. Then came his 80-yard touchdown pass to Freddie Mitchell with 1:31 to play in the third quarter, giving UCLA a 35-28 lead.

* Mike Barth of Arizona State kicked a 49-yard field goal, making the score 35-31. Chris Griffith of UCLA kicked a 46-yard field goal, making the score 38-31.

Goodman was given a chance to pull off another last-second comeback, but his long pass was batted down near the end zone as time ran out.

"In the first half, we just stopped ourselves," Paus said. "We'd have some great drives then lose the ball. Thank God we came back, but we didn't play any differently in the second half. We just didn't have any turnovers."

UCLA has trailed in each of its five games, but the first quarter Saturday was the Bruins' worst performance. There were fumbles by Foster and Brian Poli-Dixon, an interception, two sacks, two dropped passes by Poli-Dixon and defensive backs who looked like they'd never before covered receivers.

It didn't get much better in the second quarter. Punter Nate Fikse hurried a pass on a fake punt and it fell incomplete. Lewis, Foster's backup at tailback, fumbled on the Arizona State 20.

When Mike Williams ran five yards for a touchdown with 11:54 to play in the second quarter, it gave the Sun Devils (3-1, 0-1) a 21-0 lead.

Sensing the confusion and seizing every opportunity was Kealy, who wouldn't have been starting at quarterback if Jeff Krohn had not been diagnosed with mononucleosis last week.

Despite having brittle knees from five surgeries in his career, Kealy twice completed passes while Bruin defenders had him within their grasp and moved around enough to burn the Bruins with pass plays of 34, 38 and 27 yards.

It wasn't only Kealy causing UCLA problems. Williams, a freshman, rushed for 95 yards in nine carries in the first half and scored two touchdowns.

UCLA went into the locker room at halftime down, 21-7, but with one ray of hope: the play of Paus.

He had failed to finish four of the eight games he started over the last two seasons because of injuries. But Paus showed the kind of toughness and determination badly needed at a time when nothing seemed to be going right.

He guided the Bruins on a 95-yard, seven-play scoring drive at the end of the second quarter, with Harris scoring his first college touchdown on a 23-yard run. Paus completed a critical 17-yard pass to Poli-Dixon on third and 11 from the four to keep the drive alive. And he endured a hit to his right shoulder that resulted in a roughing-the-passer penalty against linebacker Eric Fields.

"I needed to see if I could get hit," Paus said. "After that first sack, it was good to see I could get back up."

Said Mitchell: "I was really wondering what would he do after this first hit. Is he going to get back up or lay down? I was proud of him. His arm is stronger than ever."

Goodman performed well in relief of Kealy, completing 11 of 23 passes for 166 yards.

With starting strong safety Marques Anderson sidelined after surgery for an undisclosed injury, the Sun Devils tried to take advantage by looking to all-conference tight end Todd Heap. He beat Audie Attar on a 38-yard reception and finished the half with three catches for 77 yards. Kealy was 13 of 22 for 199 yards.

The win was crucial for UCLA after losing to Oregon last week in its conference opener.

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