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COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 3

Close Loss Does Not Satisfy Bulldogs

College football: No moral victory seen in a defeat that leaves the Fresno State players underwhelmed by Bruin talent.

September 10, 2000|SCOTT HOWARD-COOPER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Fresno State's frustration was obvious in the aftermath of the three-point loss to UCLA on Saturday night, a tough setback after a fourth-quarter flurry, and after closing the gap on the Bruins in more ways than that.

The Bulldogs lost by 24 points in 1995 at the Rose Bowl and by 14 last season, and had the chance to win or at least force overtime in this meeting before fumbling away a final possession at the Bruin 43-yard line with 1:17 remaining. It became a 24-21 defeat, and a great disappointment.

Several players stomped their feet at the missed opportunity, others angrily took off their helmets as the game clock drained to 0:00. Another, safety Devon Banks, jawed at UCLA flanker Freddie Mitchell as their paths crossed on the way to the locker room.

"He was saying he doesn't respect us," Mitchell said. "I was like, 'OK. You've got to go to Fresno and I get to stay here.' Hands down, that's a good team, but we won."

For the sixth time in as many tries and the fourth time since 1987.

"If not for the fumble at the end, we would still be playing," Bulldog Coach Pat Hill said.

"I want to continue to play these types of games [against top programs], but these games are difficult for us to get. This is a lot easier trip for us to make than the trip to Ohio State [last week]. I would love to play [UCLA] in Fresno. I would love that game."

It won't happen. At least not for a long time--the Bruins don't have an opening for a road game until 2010.

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