Football Falls to No. 4 Bruins, 49-17
October 3, 1998
PASADENA, Calif. - No. 4 UCLA forced three first-quarter turnovers to spark 28 unanswered points en route to a 49-17 routing of WSU in front of 67,210 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
The win extended the Bruins' record 13-game winning streak dating back to the 1997 season and moved them to a perfect 3-0 in 1998, 1-0 in Pac-10 play, while dropping the Cougars to 3-2 on the season, 0-2 in conference play. WSU looked ready to fight early in the rematch of 1997's Pac-10 co-champions, but after driving 33 yards into Bruin territory, DeJuan Gilmore dropped the handoff from Steve Birnbaum and UCLA's Pete Holland recovered near midfield to give the Bruins' potent offense spectacular field position.
Six snaps later, Jermaine Lewis drove his way through the Cougar defense for a five yard score and the early lead. After forcing a WSU punt, the Bruins needed only four snaps to extend that lead when Keith Brown carried the football 10 yards to paydirt.
Ahead 14-0, UCLA had only begun to fight. Just 16 seconds later the Bruin offense was back on the field after Ryan Roques intercepted Paul Mencke's pass in relief of a shaken Birnbaum. Cade McNown carried the load on UCLA's third straight scoring drive, completing three passes for 51 yards and elevating over two Cougar defenders for his first rushing touchdown of the season.
While the Cougar defense finally managed to stop UCLA on its next possession, it could not hold off the Bruins for long. Three minutes into the second quarter, UCLA scored its fourth unanswered touchdown on a 6-yard run from Lewis. Down 28-0, the Cougars finally answered the Bruin challenge with seven minutes to play in the first half when Kevin Brown dodged defenders on his 19-yard trek into the endzone.
UCLA supported its national ranking on the following possession, driving 52 yards in five plays, including a two-yard endzone plunge by Brown, to regain a 28 point advantage, 35-7. The Cougars would chip away at the UCLA advantage before the end of the second quarter with a 34-yard field goal by Rian Lindell that brought the score to 35-10 at halftime.
Second half action was not as explosive as the first, but saw the Bruins increase their lead to 39 points. An eight-play, 65-yard drive ended in a seven-yard touchdown pass from McNown to Brian Poli-Dixson to put UCLA up 42-10 at the end of the third quarter.
Backup quarterback Drew Bennett joined the action in the fourth quarter, throwing a 12-yard touchdown pass to Randy Hakes with 4:47 to play. Before the final minutes ticked away, Birnbaum dialed up a long-distance touchdown to Adam Davis prevent the WSU offense from going scoreless in the second half. The 68-yard strike was the third longest of the season for Birnbaum, who threw a 97-yard touchdown pass to Taylor and a 75-yarder to Leaford Hackett in earlier games.
WASHINGTON STATE 0 10 0 7 17 UCLA 21 14 7 7 49
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