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Bruins go to backup plan they seldom use

Blowout victory allows UCLA coaches to give playing time to many who normally never leave the sidelines.

November 14, 2009|By Chris Foster

Reporting from Pullman, Wash. — There are many ways to describe how completely UCLA dominated in a 43-7 victory over Washington State on Saturday.

Nick Crissman, the Bruins' fourth-string quarterback, got in the game for the first time ever. Walk-on punter Danny Rees was allowed to kick, another first. And guard Jeff Baca was already thinking about his stomach before he entered the locker room, spying the postgame feed and squealing, "ooooh, smoothies."

But nothing showed how much fun the Bruins were having at Martin Stadium than senior linebacker Reggie Carter's rebellion when he refused to leave the field with the game in hand early in the fourth quarter, forcing the Bruins to call a timeout.

"That was the first time since I have been at UCLA that we have been ahead by so much that they were taking me out of the game," Carter said. "I told them, 'No, let me stay.' Then coach told me he didn't want me to get hurt. So I apologize, but I just wanted to enjoy the moment."

There were many who felt the same after the Bruins followed in the footsteps of nearly every other Washington State opponent this season, allowing them to clear the bench, "a luxury that we don't overlook," Coach Rick Neuheisel said.

Quarterback Kevin Prince threw for 314 yards and was the Bruins' leading rusher with 76 yards. Fullback Chane Moline scored on three touchdown runs. The Bruins held the Cougars to 181 yards, while amassing 556 yards themselves.

"I told the defense, regardless how bad they are, or how bad people think they are, let's not let that alter our game," Carter said. "Let's try to beat them like they have never been beat before."

Unfortunately for the Cougars, they have experienced such moments already this season.

There may be better days ahead for Washington State fans -- Jay Leno plays the university Dec. 4 -- but a victory over the Cougars seems the only guarantee in a season so topsy-turvy in the Pacific 10 Conference that the Bruins rolled to a 36-point victory on the same day USC was routed by 34 points.

The Bruins (5-5 overall, 2-5 in conference play) have surpassed last season's victory total and are again spinning dreams of postseason play. Victories over Arizona State and USC in the final two games could make a bowl game -- a remote possibility at the end of a winless October -- possible.

"We can say, 'Hey, nice win,' but now we got to move forward," tight end Logan Paulsen said.

Neuheisel was way ahead of him. In fact, Prince was severely admonished on the sidelines in the second quarter, even though he had thrown the touchdown pass to Taylor Embree, raced 68 yards for a touchdown and had built a 23-0 lead.

"When you're enjoying this kind of success, it's almost like going down the cafeteria line and trying to grab everything," Neuheisel said. "You have to maintain your patience. I thought Kevin tried to make throws down the field instead of taking what they were giving him underneath."

Prince completed 27 of 40 passes, as Neuheisel, said, "I thought he did a nice job getting back to the scheme." Practice-like corrections made possible by the scout-team-like defense Washington State offered.

The Cougars (1-9, 0-7) won the coin toss. Things went downhill from there.

"I wanted to be out there first," said safety Rahim Moore, who had his nation-leading ninth interception. "That's how you find out if the other team is good or not."

The answer was "not."

Quarterback Marshall Lobbestael threw in the flat on the third play and linebacker Akeem Ayers was waiting for the first of his two interceptions. On the next play, Prince found a wide-open Embree in the end zone.

The Cougars kept on giving. Lobbestael had three of his first four passes intercepted. A bad snap led to a safety, when Sean Westgate blocked a punt out of the end zone.

And, in the second quarter, Prince took off after being unable to find a receiver. As he sprinted up field, linebacker Myron Beck continued with his pass coverage on Terrence Austin, even as Prince ran past on his way to a 68-yard touchdown and a 21-0 lead.

"That was crazy," Carter said. "I mean, literally almost everybody who traveled saw the field. But, you know, that's a good thing."

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