Nov. 2, 2001
By JOHN NADEL
AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES - UCLA's starting quarterback at Washington State could be any of three players, and coach Bob Toledo has added to the intrigue by saying he won't make a decision until Saturday.
Cory Paus, who started the Bruins' first seven games and has been the first-stringer most of the last three years when healthy, sprained his right thumb late in the first half of a 38-28 loss at Stanford last weekend.
Backup Scott McEwan was impressive in the second half in relief of Paus until spraining his right ankle in the late going.
That leaves third-stringer Ryan McCann, who led UCLA to victories over Alabama and Michigan last season, as the healthiest option at mid-week.
"All three are practicing in one way or another," school spokesman Marc Dellins said Wednesday.
Paus' thumb was so swollen he couldn't hold a football Monday, but felt better Tuesday and was able to throw in practice.
"It hurts, but it felt all right," he said. "It's getting better."
McEwan said his ankle is improved, too.
"You see him run around, but he's not healthy," Toledo said. "He's better and Paus is better, but not good enough to play."
Of course, that could change Saturday.
The ninth-ranked Bruins (6-1, 3-1 Pac-10) were not planning to conduct a walk-through at Washington State the day before the game, but Toledo scheduled one to give him a final opportunity to evaluate his quarterbacks.
"I'm not going to make a decision until game time," he said. "There's no need to make a fast decision. I want Washington State preparing for three different guys."
Paus has completed 73 of 138 passes for 1,267 yards and eight touchdowns with only one interception this season, but was just 5-of-16 for 105 yards at Stanford.
McEwan hit on 15 of 24 for 221 yards and two touchdowns in the second half at Stanford as UCLA rallied from a 31-7 deficit early in the third quarter to draw within three points before the Cardinal scored a late insurance TD.
McCann, who played the final series at Stanford, has been third string since having shoulder surgery a year ago and missing spring practice.
No. 16 Washington State (7-1, 4-1) also lost its first game of the season last weekend, being beaten 24-17 by No. 8 Oregon.
"The winner of this game is still going to be in the race," Toledo said. "The loser is out."