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A Drew Story

Tailback has UCLA records of 322 yards rushing and five touchdowns, and Washington comes up just short of the goal line at the finish, 37-31

September 19, 2004|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

SEATTLE — UCLA sophomore running back Maurice Drew turned in a performance worthy of a Heisman Trophy candidate Saturday against Washington, but it almost wasn't good enough for a victory.

All Drew did was rush for a school-record 322 yards and equal the Pacific 10 Conference mark of five rushing touchdowns. But despite Drew's effort, UCLA still needed a last-minute defensive stand to win, 37-31, with the Huskies two yards from the potential winning touchdown when the game ended.

"This was a hostile environment that we got to play in and we did great things," said Drew, who scored on touchdown runs of 47 and 62 yards the first two times he carried the ball and had 235 yards and four touchdowns in 13 carries by halftime.

"It wasn't all me. I would rather just accept that the whole team won the game."

In a contest that had more twists and turns than a skateboard ride down Mulholland Drive, the Bruins (2-1) spotted Washington a 24-7 lead and then rode Drew's legs to victory in the Pac-10 opener for both teams before a raucous crowd of 65,235 at Husky Stadium.

"There's no doubt about it, Mo set the tempo for the game," UCLA wide receiver Junior Taylor said about Drew, who shattered DeShaun Foster's school record of 301 yards set against Washington in 2001. "It was just amazing watching him play.... He did some great things out there today and I'm just glad that I was one of the guys who got to block for him."

Drew, whose previous best rushing day had been 176 yards against Arizona State last season, had to be sharp early because if he hadn't been, UCLA would have been run off the field by the Huskies (0-2).

The Bruins, who rushed for 424 yards, fell behind early, thanks to penalties and turnovers. Behind a bruising ground game, Washington took the opening kickoff and drove to the UCLA 19-yard line for a 36-yard field goal by Michael Braunstein.

But UCLA linebacker Spencer Havner wiped out the field goal when he picked up a personal foul for jumping on top of a Washington lineman to give the Huskies a first down. Four plays later, Casey Paus, younger brother of former UCLA quarterback Corey, threw a 13-yard scoring pass to Anthony Russo to give Washington a 7-0 lead.

After Drew completed a three-play UCLA drive with his first touchdown run, Washington again took advantage of a Bruin miscue to take a 14-7 lead. This time, the Huskies benefited from an offside penalty that kept alive their second drive that was capped by a 44-yard touchdown pass play from Paus to Charles Frederick.

Then things really got bad for the Bruins. On the ensuing kickoff, Drew fumbled and Washington recovered at the UCLA 33. This set up a 29-yard field goal by Braunstein to increase the Huskies' lead to 10.

The Bruins' next possession lasted only a play when quarterback Drew Olson's deflected pass was intercepted by linebacker Evan Benjamin, who returned the ball to the UCLA 12. Shelton Sampson scored on a 12-yard run on the next play to give Washington a 24-7 lead.

"When we were down, we were not worried because of our offense," cornerback Marcus Cassel said. "Things were working for them, but we just had to settle down. We just had to stop our turnovers and making mistakes."

Giving the ball to Drew was a good place to start. UCLA, which had possession for only 2 minutes 46 seconds in the first quarter compared to Washington's 12:14, rallied behind Drew, who scored touchdowns on three of his first four carries in the game, to cut the Huskies' lead to 24-20 at the end of one quarter.

Drew gave UCLA its first lead with a 15-yard run with 4:16 remaining in the half.

"Our kids really showed something about themselves in being able to come back from a huge deficit in the first half," UCLA Coach Karl Dorrell said. "They kept fighting, kept pushing through it, kept trying to come back and make plays."

The Bruins increased their lead with an impressive nine-play, 80-yard drive to start the second half. Drew's final touchdown, a 37-yard run, gave UCLA a 34-24 lead.

Kenny James had a one-yard touchdown run for Washington and Justin Medlock countered with a 20-yard field goal for the Bruins, who had a chance to run out the clock in the final minute.

UCLA did a good job running the ball with Drew and Manuel White, who finished with 89 yards in 22 carries, but on fourth down and inches from the Washington 38 with 40 seconds remaining, Olson tried to draw the Huskies offside but did not get the call. When Olson took a knee, Washington took the ball in excellent field position.

That set the stage for a dramatic finish. With time running down, Paus rallied Washington into UCLA territory with three consecutive completions. But after two incompletions, Paus' final throw to Frederick left the Huskies at the two, thanks to a gang tackle by the Bruins, led by safeties Ben Emanuel and cornerback Matt Clark.

UCLA receiver Craig Bragg dislocated his left shoulder and will be evaluated today. Linebacker Justin London injured his ankle.



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