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Bruins survive 5 turnovers to "eek" out win
Powder-blue's defense was key to victory
Malamute, 7 November 2009

FS Rahim Moore intercepted a deflected pass to end a late Washington drive, and UCLA hung on narrowly to win, 24-23, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

To welcome the Huskies, the sky went from Santa Ana blue to costal gray on Friday. But Blue prevailed on Saturday under the light gray sky.

Although the Bruins committed five turnovers, their defense held Washington to just 13 points off the miscues; the Bruins held the Dawgs to four field-goal attempts after the Huskies had penetrated their red zone.

Late in the first half, UCLA lost its starting quarterback Kevin Prince on a helmet-to-helmet collision, which resulted in a personal foul penalty. Some déjà vu here for you old timers? (*)

His replacement, Kevin Craft, brought UCLA back from a nine-point deficit to take a 24-23 lead at the 14:43 mark in the fourth quarter.

In that stanza, behind QB Jake Locker -- his Elway drive in full gear -- Washington mounted a 11-play, 43-yard drive that carried to the UCLA 20-yard line. From there, kicker Erik Folk missed a 38-yard field goal, yanking it to the left, which would have given UW a 26-24 lead.

On the next series, Washington stopped a Bruin drive that carried to the Huskies' 31-yard line when Mason Foster sacked Bruins' quarterback Kevin Craft back on the Huskies' 41. Jeff Locke punted the ball to the Washington 10, and the Dawgs got the ball back with 4:21 remaining on the clock.

Then Locker and company mounted their last-ditch drive that ended in an interception by the opportunistic Moore, his eighth of the season. With 54 seconds left, the Bruins ran out the clock.

The Washington Huskies haven't won in the Rose Bowl since 1995, and have lost 11-straight on the road.

After a heart-breaking loss, it's of little consolation to remind fans that,  going into the game, UCLA had the better defense on paper and it was its defense that won the game, holding the Huskies to just 13 points off five turnovers. Really, that was the bottom line of the game, even though the Huskies certainly had their chances to win.

Although the Dawgs won the turnover battle, 1 against 5, outrushed the Blue, 152 yards to 85, and committed fewer penalties, 4 against 6, their defense gave up 455 yards, while UCLA limited the Dawgs to 387 yards. Prince (PE, 188.87) and Craft (PE, 176.11) combined for a passing efficiency of 183.11. In contrast, Locker had a so-so rating of 118.35. Once again, Washington's pass rush was woefully lacking, giving Prince and Craft too much time to throw.

Some highlights for UW:

Washington tailback Chris Polk rushed for 132 yards, averaging 8.8 yards per carry. Devin Aguilar caught six passes for 56 yards, and Jermaine Kearse caught seven passes for 114 yards.

The dogged Will Mahan averaged a nifty 41.5 yards on four punts.

Nathan Fellner recovered a fumbled kickoff that was forced by Vonzell McDowell; Desmond Trufant intercepted a Prince pass; Donald Butler forced a fumble that was recovered by Darrion Jones; Jason Wells intercepted Craft. Daniel Te'o-Nesheim forced a Richard Brehaut fumble that was recovered by De'Shon Mathews.


(*) Known back in 1967 at the "gutty little Bruins," UCLA wore retro-uniforms to honor its 1967 team led by Heisman trophy winner QB Gary Beban.

Although the result of an unintentional helmet-to-helmet collision, the injury to Prince brought back some old memories when, in a 1967 game played between Washington and UCLA, a Washington player pounced on top of Beban who lay helplessly prostrate on the ground after a sack. Later in the season, with resulting torn rib cartilage and in pain, Beban went on to pass for 300 yards and two touchdowns in a dramatic 21-20 loss to number two-ranked USC at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

These are quotes taken from Bob Condotta's blog (The Seattle Times); see the following:

"I'm all for protecting quarterbacks and all that, but the kid (Prince) wasn't sliding," coach Steve Sarkisian said. " The guy's coming in low, but he's not sliding or diving, so we have to tackle him."

And UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel also indicated he didn't think the UW player was at fault.

"It was a tough play," he said. "The NCAA is trying to crack down on helmet-to-helmet contact. But when you are going full speed, it's a tough deal. ... Those are bang-bang calls and you can't get mad at anybody. I don't think there is any need for discipline. Kevin made a great decision to run on that play but we'll have to work on that slide."

-- The fourth quarter had more than enough drama to last Husky fans a full season, this piled on top of a season that already has had more than its share of dramatic moments, with, for example, the Arizona State game decided by a last-gasp Hail Mary and the Notre Dame game carried to overtime. Both games ended in Washington losses, but wins over USC and Arizona were also decided by late fourth-quarter histrionics as well. 

-- Former Washington coach Rick Neuheisel is 3-0 against the Dawgs, having beaten them last year in Seattle and in the 1996 Holiday Bowl when he coached Colorado.

-- Ironically, the Huskies last beat UCLA in 2006, with 35 of Neuheisel's recruits on the roster. That year the 5-7 Huskies were a Lisfranc injury away from going to a bowl, QB Isaiah Stanback having suffered that season-ending foot injury in the seventh game of the season against Oregon State. With a 4-2 record going into the game with OSU, Washington finished out the season going 1-5 the rest of the way.

-- "Eek" is a shriek in our headline, a pun on the word eke.

Team 1 2 3 4 Total
Washington 10 6 7 0 23
UCLA 14 0 7 3 24

Time Team How Player (s) Score
1st qtr        
10:16 UCLA TD Kevin Prince 1-yard pass to Corey Harkey. Kai Forbath kick. UCLA, 7-0
8:26 UW TD Jake Locker 17-yard pass to Jermaine Kearse. Erik Folk kick. T, 7-7
6:14 UW FG Erik Folk 30-yarder. UW, 10-7
1:49 UCLA TD Chane Moline 1-yard run; Forbath kick. UCLA, 14-10
2nd qtr
11:26 UW FG Folk 20-yard boot. UCLA, 14-13
9:27 UW FG Folk 33-yard kick. UW, 16-14
3rd qtr
11:52 UW TD Locker 34-yard pass to Kearse. Folk PAT. UW, 23-14
10:53 UCLA TD Kevin Craft 29-yard pass to Terrance Austin; Forbath kick. UW, 23-21
4th qtr
14:53 UCLA FG Forbath 27-yard boot. UCLA, 24-23


Statistic UW UCLA
Total First Downs 21 23
  Rushing 8 5
  Passing 13 17
  Penalty 0 1
Total Net Yards 387 455
Net Yards Passing 235 371
Net Yards Rushing 152 84
Completions-att-int 23-40-1 23-31-2
Punts, yards, average 4-166, 41.5 2-75, 37.5
Sacks by (number, yards) 2-15 2-13
Kickoff Returns: number, yds, tds 4-115-0 4-121-0
Punt returns: number, yds, tds 0-0-0 1-6-0
Kickoff Yards 6-393 5-335
Net Yards per kickoff 38.7 40.0
Average yards per kickoff 65.5 67.0
Touchbacks (kickoffs) 2 1
Third-down conversions 6-14 8-13
Interception returns: no., yds, tds 2-13-0 1-6-0
Penalties, no., Yards 4-30 6-60
Fumbles; number/lost 0-0 6-3
Time of Possession  28:19 31:41

Passing cmp att yds tds int
Kevin Prince (188.87) 13 17 212 1 1
Kevin Craft (176.11) 10 14 159 1 1
Richard Brehaut (0.00 0 0 0 0  
Jake Locker (118.35) 23 40 235 2 1
UCLA Rushing No. yds tds long  
Derrick Colman 13 49 0 9  
Milton Knox 7 35 0 13  
Kevin Prince 1 8 0 8  
Damien Thigpen 3 6 0 7  
Jonathan Franklin 7 4 0 11  
Chane Moline 2 3 1 2  
Team 1 -1 0 0  
Richard Brehaut 1 -7 0 0  
Kevin Craft 5 -13 0 13  
Washington Rushing No. yds tds long
Jake Locker 7 23 0 14  
Chris Polk 15 132 0 34  
Demitrius Bronson 2 -1 0 2  
Team 1 -2 0 0  
Bruins' Pass Receiving No. yds tds long
Nelson Rosario 7 111 0 33  
Terrence Austin 5 88 1 29  
Taylor Embree 3 55 0 23  
Chane Moline 2 17 0 10  
Logan Paulsen 1 56 0 56  
Gavin Ketchum 1 16 0 16  
Ryan Moya 1 13 0 13  
Damien Thigpen 1 8 0 8  
Derrick Coleman 1 6 0 6  
Cory Harkey 1 1 1 1  
Washington Pass Rec. No. yds tds long
James Johnson 1 18 0 18  
Kavario Middleton 1 7 0 7  
Devin Aguilar 6 56 0 23  
Chris Polk 4 13 0 7  
Jorhi Fogerson 4 27 0 11  
Jermaine Kearse 7 114 2 34  
UCLA No. yds avg long tb
Jeff Locke 2 75 37.5 44 0
Will Mahan 4 166 41.5 48 1
Attendance: 72,924          

Richard Linde, aka Malamute can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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