WASHINGTON STATE 41
THE SITUATION: Trying to keep pace with top-ranked USC in the Pac-10, undefeated UCLA trailed Washington State 38--31 and faced third-and-three at the Cougars' nine with less than a minute left.
THE FINISH: Sophomore wideout Marcus Everett (above) picked a fine time to haul in the first touchdown pass of his college career, a leaping reception in the back of the end zone with 44 seconds left. ( UCLA would win in overtime on Maurice Drew's one-yard TD run, following a Cougars field goal.) Everett's catch capped a 17-point fourth-quarter rally. Drew Olson completed 13 of 16 passes for 132 yards in the period and led drives covering 80 and 96 yards for the last two touchdowns. Criticized last season for an inability to make plays, the senior has led UCLA on game-winning drives for three straight weeks. Olson, for one, is underwhelmed by it all. "I'll tell you what," he said after the game. "I do not like playing from behind at all. It's something we've gotten good at, I guess, but it's not something we enjoy."
NEXT UP: UCLA returns to the Rose Bowl for a matchup with Oregon State, which surprised Cal last Saturday.
WISCONSIN 38 MINNESOTA 34
THE SITUATION: In a matchup of Big Ten rivals with one loss each, Minnesota led Wisconsin 34--31 with 38 seconds left in the battle for the Paul Bunyan Axe.
THE FINISH: With Minnesota forced to punt from its 17, Wisconsin special teams coach Brian Murphy asked coach Barry Alvarez, "What do you think?" For the first time this season, Alvarez called for the Zebra Block: Three players from the left side of the eight-man line--Jonathan Casillas, Zach Hampton and Ben Strickland--would go for the block while the other five would set up for a return. But there would be no return. Gophers punter Justin Kucek dropped the snap, recovered and rolled right in an attempt to make the kick. Of course, that meant he was moving into the teeth of the rush. Casillas, a reserve freshman linebacker, blocked the punt. The ball bounced across the goal line and was dangerously close to going out of the end zone (which would have resulted in only a safety) before it was recovered in a wild scramble by Casillas's roommate on the road, Strickland (above).
NEXT UP: Wisconsin faces Purdue in Madison. Minnesota is off until an Oct. 29 home game against Ohio State.
WEST VIRGINIA 46