Once again UCLA proved the easiest access to its backyard is through the back door. For the third time in four years, the Bruins backed into their home-field extravaganza, the Rose Bowl. This time UCLA all but put Arizona State in Pasadena by losing 17-13 to USC. Five hours later, however, Arizona upset the Sun Devils 16-13. The Wildcats' senior placekicker, Max Zendejas, provided the game winner against State for the third straight year. Zendejas connected from 57 yards to tie the score and then again from 32 with 1:43 remaining for the win.
UCLA's John Lee broke the NCAA career field-goal record set by Zendejas's brother Luis with his 79th (Max has 77), but little else went right for the Bruins. They lost three fumbles inside the USC 20, had three passes picked off and suffered three costly second-half penalties. The Trojans, meanwhile, drove 56 yards for the game-winning TD, scoring with 1:13 left. Ryan Knight gained 147 yards on 32 carries. That's nine yards more than UCLA had surrendered on the ground to an entire team all season.
Oregon whipped Oregon State 34-13, keeping Ducks coach Rich Brooks undefeated in the matchup. As a player and assistant for Oregon State, he was 8-0-1. Since taking over at Oregon, he's also 8-0-1.
Struggling Iowa State discovered the answer to its prayers blowing in the wind—15-to 25-mph gusts that swirled snow and dropped the windchill factor below zero. "This is our kind of weather," said Cyclone coach Jim Criner before his team stunned No. 8 Oklahoma State 15-10. To prepare the Cyclones for the big chill, Criner had opened the doors to the locker room in midweek, when the outside temperature was in the teens. Using an 11-man front at times, Iowa State limited Thurman Thomas, the nation's fourth-ranked rusher, to 54 yards on 21 carries and minus 10 yards on three catches. The Cyclones also forced two Thomas fumbles in the fourth quarter. Andrew Jackson, with 93 yards rushing, and Rich Frank, with three field goals, carried the load for Iowa State's offense.
Minnesota defensive end Joe Christopherson had some choice words for Iowa and its coach, Hayden Fry, before the Gophers took to the road to face the Hawkeyes. "Their fans are obnoxious, and their coach is a jerk who likes to run up scores," said Christopherson. "I still remember what Fry did to us two years ago in Iowa City. He had his starters in and was still throwing deep in the fourth quarter. A total wipeout [61-10] over Minnesota was a big feather in Hayden's hat. The only thing Iowa has going for it is its football team." That football team is going to Pasadena, thanks to a 31-9 thumping of Minnesota. (Christopherson apologized to Fry before the debacle.) The Hawkeyes' Chuck Long completed 21 of 31 passes—including several to first-stringers late in the game—for 268 yards to raise his career yardage total to a Big Ten record 10,142.
There they were in Ann Arbor, arm in arm, Bo to Bo. Could that possibly be Michigan coach Bo Schembechler posing with that big 10, Bo Derek, two days before facing Ohio State? Uh, yeah. "You see, fellas," said Schembechler to his players after swapping Derek a Wolverine jersey for a smooch, "I do know something more than just football." As for football, the Wolverines outguessed Ohio State, beating a blitz with a 77-yard touchdown pass from Jim Harbaugh to John Kolesar to cinch a 27-17 win. The Michigan D has surrendered just 75 points this season, and Harbaugh, who has completed 41 of 50 passes for 706 yards and nine TDs over the last three games, could become the Big Ten's first NCAA passing leader in 49 years. He was on target 16 of 19 times for 230 yards and three touchdowns.
Texas coach Fred Akers might have been risking his job when he chose to throw on first-and-10 from his own five while protecting a 17-10 lead over Baylor late in the fourth quarter. The Bears' Ron Francis intercepted and returned the ball 16 yards to the Texas 10, reddening the necks of some Longhorn alums who wouldn't cotton to a second straight unspectacular season. "To be honest," said quarterback Bret Stafford, "I had doubts whether we would win." Meantime, the more confident Longhorn defenders geared for their "rocket" D: The ends loop for the quarterback, while the linebackers blast straight ahead. "Everyone is asking me how often we blitzed," said defensive coordinator David McWilliams. "Just three or four times—per series." On first down, linebacker Ty Allert stopped Derrick McAdoo for a two-yard gain. On second down, Bears quarterback Tom Muecke gained two more, and on third down, under pressure, he scrambled for a yard. Fourth and five, 4:30 left. As Muecke faded back, tackle Rocky Reid grabbed him by the ankles, and end James McKinney made the sack. The 17-10 loss sent Baylor to the Liberty Bowl, with the winner of Thanksgiving Day's Texas-Texas A & M game going to the Cotton Bowl.