It might just as well have been 60-6. UCLA had not gained a dime's worth since Mel Farr broke for 49 yards and a momentary 6-0 Bruin lead in the first quarter. For the next 40 minutes the Uclans were held to one first down. They ran exactly seven offensive plays in the second quarter and, backs to the wall, punted three times on third down. In the third they ran only 11 plays, and Beban had two passes intercepted.
But there was something McKay had said a week before the game that was to prove omniscient. Speaking only half in jest, he said, "It takes us eight minutes to go 60 yards. UCLA goes 60 yards in one clip."
Using all sorts of minutes, USC drove 76 yards in 14 plays in the first quarter and Garrett fumbled the ball away at the UCLA one-yard line. A fumble at the 26 killed another drive in the second quarter, and some mismanagement of their time-outs caught the Trojans short of a touchdown at half time after they had reached the UCLA seven.
In the third quarter Garrett fumbled away again at the UCLA 17, and later, on third and goal at the UCLA three, Winslow's pass was grabbed away from Upton by the newly alerted, ever-irrepressible Stiles in the UCLA end zone. Thus, in three quarters of painstaking offense, USC had six chances to score—and wasted all but one.
Now it was down to those last four minutes and practically over. After absorbing two 15-yard penalties, the Trojans were back on their own 23 and trying to run two more plays before punting. "At that moment," said Prothro, "my confidence was not overwhelming."
But on second down, after first breaking free, Winslow fumbled the ball to UCLA's Erwin Dutcher on the USC 23, and back in came Beban with the offense, somehow undisturbed by what until then had been his worst day of the year. "I wasn't thinking about 95,000 people," he said later. "All I could think of was that the defense had done a job."
UCLA had not tried to beat USC's deep defenders on a pass since the second quarter, and it seemed folly to try now, since McKay's deep men, instructed to give Beban the 12- to 15-yarders but guard with their lives against the long throws, had done just that. But Trojan Halfback Nate Shaw went for the UCLA left end, who had delayed and then slanted toward the sideline, and this exposed the left side to Wingback Dick Witcher, who ran right past Shaw, curved left and caught Beban's perfect spiral just behind the frantic dive of Safety Man Mike Hunter, trying too late to cover on the play.
Now, after a two-point conversion pass, it was 16-14, and a UCLA man said the way things were going this unbelievably delightful season you just knew the Bruins would recover an onside kick, and that is exactly what Dallas Grider did on the USC 49. After a first down, however, Beban got trapped on a pass attempt and UCLA's situation was again critical: third down, 24 yards to go at the UCLA 48 and everybody from San Diego to Seattle knowing Beban had to throw long. Everybody except the unfortunate Shaw, who happens to be McKay's best defensive halfback. Beban rolled to his right, then set up to throw back to the left to Farr, who was running a swing pattern behind End Kurt Altenberg. Altenberg was supposed to run straight down the field to lure Shaw out of Farr's area. But Shaw moved in to pick up Farr—and, too late, realized that Altenberg was winging toward the goal. Beban naturally abandoned plans to throw to Farr—"I admired his individuality," said Prothro afterward—and hit Altenberg for the winning touchdown.
No further dramatics were necessary. It was 20-16 UCLA, and since Winslow does not throw a good long pass there would be no retribution. In moments the game was over, and UCLA fans flooded the field and tore down the goal posts and Prothro made a speech to the student body that nobody heard over the noise. In the UCLA dressing room coaches unashamedly hugged one another and did little dances and Ron Siegrist, who came to UCLA with Prothro, said it exactly the way it happened:
"They were too big for us, and too strong, and they turned us every way but loose, except three times—and those three times we burned 'em. For touchdowns, brother, and they can't take a one away from us."