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NOTES

Manning Relieved by Victory

September 15, 2002|STEVE HENSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

STILLWATER, Okla. — Ricky Manning forced a smile. His team was victorious and he shared in the elation.

But his much-ballyhooed matchup against Oklahoma State receiver Rashaun Woods did not go as well. In fact, Manning seemed lost in the woods during much of UCLA's 38-24 win.

"I had a long night," he said. "I'm happy we won, at least I saved face."

In the first quarter Woods was used solely as a decoy, but in the second he had three catches for 86 yards and Manning twice was called for pass interference. One penalty negated an interception by safety Matt Ware with 1:19 left in the half.

In the third quarter, Woods out-jumped Manning in the end zone on a fade route for a seven-yard touchdown that cut UCLA's lead to 31-17.

It got no easier for the Bruin senior in the fourth quarter. Woods made a catch for 39 yards despite Manning again getting called for pass interference, setting up a touchdown that made the score, 38-24.

And a few minutes later he was flagged again for interference on a pass that was thrown several yards over Woods' head.

"Some of those [penalties] were not good calls," Manning said. "But that's the way it goes."

Manning got a measure of retribution with about nine minutes left and Oklahoma State driving, making two plays that forced a punt. He tackled John Lewis for a four-yard loss on second down and broke up a pass intended for Billy Bajema on third down.

Even then, Manning felt out of sorts.

"I was about to die I was so tired," he said. "I had to go to the sideline and lie down."

*

Bob Toledo gave Drew Olson another tough assignment, and it did not turn out as well as it did last week against Colorado State, when the freshman quarterback led UCLA on a pivotal 52-yard scoring drive in the fourth quarter.

Olson came on early in the second quarter with UCLA ahead, 17-10, and beginning a possession at its four-yard line. He handed off to Akil Harris for a three-yard gain then nervously threw two incomplete passes from the end zone and the Bruins punted.

The second throw was nearly a fumble. The ball slipped from Olson's hand like a watermelon seed as he threw it and fell near his feet. An Oklahoma State defender pounced on it in the end zone, but the official ruled that Olson's arm was moving forward.

"It just slipped out," he said. "It's happened to me before. I let go too early. I have to fix the problem and move on."

That was all Toledo needed to see. He wasn't going to put Olson back in unless the game was a blowout.

"I wanted him to play again in the second half, but it was too close," he said.

*

Oklahoma State guard Corey Curtis drew gasps when he lay motionless on the field for nearly 10 minutes with 1:28 left in the first half. He was taken off on a stretcher but was diagnosed with a stinger and has full movement in his arms and legs.

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