Ducks Beat Bruins, Remain Unbeaten
Oct 12, 2002
PASADENA, Calif. - Oregon and UCLA played yet another game that wasn't decided until the fourth quarter. And for the second consecutive year, Bruins kicker Chris Griffith came up short.
Jason Fife threw two touchdowns, including the winning one on the first play of the fourth quarter, as the seventh-ranked Ducks rallied to beat the Bruins 31-30 Saturday.
'Everybody thought we had not been tested all year, until now. This was great for our program,' said Oregon tailback Onterrio Smith, who had 152 yards on 25 carries.
'Everybody thought we had not been tested all year, until now. This was great for our program.'
--Oregon tailback Onterrio Smith
The Ducks (6-0, 2-0 Pac-10) have beaten UCLA (4-2, 1-1 Pac-10) three straight times, and four of the last five games have been decided by five points or fewer.
Trailing 31-30, Griffith attempted a 46-yard field goal that sailed wide left with 1:54 remaining. Last season, his 50-yard try on the game's final play was short and wide, sealing Oregon's 21-20 victory.
'We knew they didn't have a very strong field-goal kicker,' Oregon middle linebacker David Moretti said. 'If we kept them around the 40, we knew we were safe.'
'I'm surprised it came down to the same as last year,' Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said. 'Fife's ability to scramble was the difference in this game.'
Fife was 14-of-18 for 202 yards.
The teams put on an offensive show in front of 68,882 at the Rose Bowl. A week after racking up 605 yards in a win at Oregon State, the Bruins gained 477; Oregon had 383.
'Dogfight, as usual,' Moretti said. 'It takes every second of every game to beat these guys.'
UCLA quarterback Cory Paus was 17-of-31 for 316 yards and three touchdowns, but he also threw three interceptions. Sophomore Craig Bragg scored three touchdowns and had nine catches for 230 yards.
'It's tough,' Paus said. 'I hate losing, especially losing like that.'
Bruin freshman Tyler Ebell gained 119 yards on 26 carries in his first start. Last week, Ebell ran for 203 yards and a TD in three quarters.
'It's hard to believe this game came down to one point,' UCLA coach Bob Toledo said.
The Bruins tied the game at 24 on a 37-yard field goal by Griffith early the third quarter. On the previous play, Paus was sacked and fumbled, but the Bruins recovered.
Paus and Bragg connected to give UCLA a 30-24 lead with 7:28 left in the third. Bragg made a spectacular one-handed catch at the line of scrimmage and ran 46 yards for the touchdown. But Griffith's extra-point attempt was blocked.
'You just throw your paw up there and hope you snag it,' Bragg said.
The Bruins had fourth-and-15 at the Oregon 28-yard line, and Griffith lined up for a 45-yard field goal. But UCLA faked it, and holder Garrett Lepisto's pass to Marcedes Lewis was short of the first down.
'When a trick play doesn't work, I'm open to criticism,' Toledo said.
Oregon tied the game at 30 with 14:46 remaining in the fourth. Scrambling to get off a pass, Fife hit Keenan Howry, who ran 74 yards for the score. Jared Siegel's extra point proved the difference, giving the Ducks a 31-30 lead that held up.
'I looked over at Jason, and when he looked at me, I knew he was going to throw it to me. I just caught it and took off,' Howry said. 'Up to now, our passing game has not been needed. We executed our running game early, and it opened up the pass.'
Siegel kicked a school-record 59-yard field goal as time expired to give Oregon a 24-21 halftime lead. The only one he's missed in 13 attempts this season was blocked. The kick also tied a Pac-10 record set by Stanford's Rod Garcia against Southern California in 1973.
The previous longest in Oregon history was a 57-yarder by Roy Geiger against Washington State in 1977.
'Fifty-nine yards is the very end of my range,' Siegel said. 'It took a while for the coach to decide to give it a go. I just kept my mechanics in line, and it went.'
The Ducks took their first lead, 21-14, on Howry's 79-yard punt return in the second quarter.
The Bruins answered right back, with Paus finding Bragg near the sideline for a 71-yard TD pass that tied the game at 21.
By BETH HARRIS
AP Sports Writer