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"I saw that they were playing man-to-man in the secondary," McDonald said, "and probably were coming with a blitz, so why not go for it and go for the big score?"
The second pass came on a play put in especially for the game—nothing very tricky, just something USC used to keep from being too predictable. McDonald started to roll out to his right, then stopped and hit Williams crossing right to left in the end zone. Previously, Williams had always gone to the right corner on that play.
UCLA's fine pair of runners, Owens and Theotis Brown, who had a pinched nerve in his neck, were stopped cold by the Trojan defensive line, and in fact, the good-run, no-pass Bruins never did keep a drive going, gaining only 118 yards rushing but losing 56 for a measly net of 62 yards. And when they finally got a break in the third quarter, they blew it.
After recovering a Cain fumble on the USC six, UCLA fought to a third and goal on the two. Owens then bolted in, only to have the touchdown nullified by a man-in-motion penalty. And if that hadn't halted the Bruins, something else would have—they had 12 men on the field, including two split ends, when Owens crossed the goal line. UCLA settled for Peter Boermeester's 22-yard field goal to make the score 17-3.
The botch-up perhaps cost UCLA a tie or a victory, because in the fourth quarter Quarterback Rick Bashore, who is 12th in Pac-10 passing, connected with Severn Reece on an 81-yard touchdown play. Boermeester's PAT made it 17-10 and UCLA seemed to have plenty of time-to score again with another lightning bolt. Bashore and his offensive teammates anxiously waited on the sideline "to get the ball back and get our clock options going." But they never got possession after kicking off. White was the ballcarrier on eight of the next nine plays, seven of them in a row. Behind determined blocking it was student body right ("28 pitch"), a burst up the middle, student body left—and then that third-down 11-yard run around the left side that set the records and clinched USC's 22nd Rose Bowl appearance.
"When you've got a guy like that, why not go to him?" said McDonald. "He'll get the yards for you and doesn't make many mistakes."
White finished with 145 yards on 33 carries to give him a career total of 3,739. McDonald hit seven of 10 passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns, and he now has not thrown an interception in his last 94 passes. As an assistant and head coach at USC, Robinson hasn't lost to UCLA in six games. The defense allowed but nine first downs, and one of those came on a penalty.
Too bad the Trojans can't sit back and savor all those impressive stats. But after consecutive tough games against California, Stanford. Washington and UCLA, who should USC have to play this Saturday but old rival Notre Dame, winner of eight straight.
Mention of the Irish seemed to excite Robinson more than worry him. He has convinced himself and his players that grappling on the grass weekend after weekend with the likes of Alabama and Notre Dame is more fun than being a weevil in a cracker barrel.
"Many people said, 'Hey, you can't make it through that schedule.' They say our schedule's a man-killer. Well, we've got some men that it couldn't kill." Besides, the Notre Dame game and a season-closing laugher against Hawaii give the Trojans something to do until the Second Season begins and ends in Pasadena on Jan. 1.