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NOTES

Walter Hurt; Moore Plays 'OK'

October 26, 2003|Robyn Norwood | Times Staff Writer

If anyone ever considered it a problem UCLA has two quarterbacks good enough to start, they can rethink that now.

Consider Arizona State.

After star quarterback Andrew Walter left the game because of a right ankle injury in the first half, Arizona State was left with freshman Sam Keller, who had thrown only 12 passes in his career.

"It was unfortunate for Arizona State to lose their starting quarterback," UCLA Coach Karl Dorrell said. "I have been there when we lost ours."

Saturday was the night the quarterback UCLA picked to start the season returned.

Matt Moore, making his first start since he suffered a severe leg bruise in the first game, completed 14 of 28 passes for a career-high 190 yards and one touchdown but threw two interceptions and had only four yards passing in the run-oriented second half.

Moore opened the game with a 52-yard pass to Craig Bragg, and had his moments, good and bad, as he took over for Drew Olson, who started the last six games.

"He's rusty," Dorrell said. "That's part of the process whenever you miss a lot of time and you assume the role of starter again. We knew that he wasn't going to be just flawless out there.

"He made some nice throws the early part of the game. He got a little bit frustrated and made some mistakes with the football in the middle part of the game. I think he'll correct that next time around."

Moore said his return went "OK."

"A little shaky, but we played all right," he said. "We came through."

Arizona State couldn't say the same after Keller passed for 79 yards and was sacked three times, but he was the Sun Devils' only real option.

"Andrew tried to come back in the second half," Coach Dirk Koetter said. "He tried to push off, but he had no mobility. We had to make a decision that was best for us in the long term."

Walter said he thinks he will be back quickly.

"I don't think it's serious," said Walter, who passed for 724 yards in the two games before Saturday.

"It hurts, but I will be OK.

"I gave it a shot at halftime. Last year, I played with three cracked vertebrae. I tried, but I couldn't get back in. It just wasn't happening."

*

UCLA was hit by injuries as well.

The Bruins lost workhorse running back Manuel White, who is out for the season after fracturing his right shoulder blade.

Defensive tackle Rodney Leisle, determined to play despite a bruised left collarbone, started the game only to suffer another injury in the first five minutes.

Leisle limped off the field on the second defensive possession with a sprained left ankle and is out indefinitely.

*

In a strikingly quick conversion, Bruin freshman Kevin Brown -- a defensive lineman until last week -- started at right guard ahead of junior Paul Mociler.

Brown reluctantly made the switch to offensive line only last week after Dorrell requested he make the move for the team with Mociler struggling.

Dorrell said Thursday that Mociler probably would start, but Brown took the field first. He was whistled for a false start on the first series, and shared time with Mociler.

*

With 118 yards on five receptions, Bragg recorded the seventh 100-yard receiving game of his career and moved into ninth place on the UCLA career yardage list with 1,988. Bragg's 128 catches tie him for sixth with Mike Sherrard.

*

This week's bowl representatives in the press box were from the Holiday Bowl. The Holiday has the second choice among Pac-10 teams after the Rose Bowl, assuming no Pac-10 team qualifies for the national championship. ... The Bruins had only 14 first downs despite 403 yards of offense.

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