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Sun Devils Survive Ucla Scare Plummer Spearheads Late Rally To Keep Arizona State Unbeaten

Different teams, different coaches, different system, different venue.

Same result, arrived at in the same way.

That’s why coaches under one corner of the Rose Bowl were calling for Maalox, and coaches under another, 75 or so yards away, were ready for champagne.

Arizona State, undefeated and ranked fourth in the country, showed why Saturday, getting two touchdown passes, a touchdown catch and a scoring run from quarterback Jake Plummer in the second half to beat UCLA, 42-34, before 66,107.

That’s one version of the story.

The other is UCLA, struggling for respect and an identity under a new coach, Bob Toledo. The Bruins, with new offensive and defensive systems, fumbled twice and threw an interception in the fourth quarter to blow a 13-point lead.

Again.

Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it. The Bruins blew a 17-point halftime lead a season ago in Tempe, Ariz., turning the ball over three times in losing, 37-33.

“I have a sick feeling in my stomach,” Toledo said.

Plummer will do that to you. So, apparently annually, will Toledo’s players.

He had felt a twinge early in the third quarter when Arizona State cut the UCLA lead to 28-21 with its first drive of the second half.

“I have a feeling that if you don’t let them take the first drive of the second half for a touchdown, it’s a different game,” Toledo said. “I was never comfortable with our lead because of their quarterback.”

But UCLA’s answer, by Skip Hicks from two yards out, seemed to restore order.

Ah, but it was a tease. The Bruins missed the extra point when long-snapper Chris Rubio was called for a personal foul for hitting a rushing lineman a bit low, and Bjorn Merten’s following kick, from 35 yards, sailed wide to the right. It was 34-21, haunting arithmetic.

Plummer came back with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Mitchell, over UCLA’s Andy Colbert, to make it 34-28 with 7:24 to play in the game.

A play later, Arizona State had the ball on UCLA’s 16 when Skip Hicks fumbled a handoff from quarterback Cade McNown.

Two plays after that, the Sun Devils had a 35-34 lead and the game. The fumble came when Hicks started to his left, with McNown reaching to give him the ball, and Arizona State’s Damian Richardson winding up with it.

“I don’t know what happened,” Hicks said. “I might have been wide on the play, I don’t know. I don’t remember. After the play I was kicked in the head while I was trying to get the ball.”

After the Hicks fumble, Plummer sent J.R. Redmond, the third-string tailback, into the line for no gain, then pitched out to Redmond, heading right, on second down. Redmond stopped, then threw across the field to Plummer, who came back for the ball, caught it at about his 10, swerved away from a tackle and scored.

It’s a gimmick play everybody has. UCLA used it a week ago at Oregon, throwing an incomplete pass.

Plummer was open because, “nobody covers the quarterback in pass defense,” Rocky Long, UCLA’s defensive coordinator said.

“In man-to-man coverage, who covers the quarterback?” Toledo said. And the answer is nobody.

ASU 42, UCLA 34

Arizona St. 7 7 7 21 - 42

UCLA 21 7 6 0 - 34

UCLAMcBride 11 pass from McNown (Merten kick) ASUT. Battle 99 kickoff return (Nycz kick) UCLAMcElroy 55 pass from McNown (Merten kick) UCLAS. Hicks 4 run (Merten kick) UCLAAyers 39 pass from McNown (Merten kick) ASUPoole 15 pass from Plummer (Nycz kick) ASUPoole 17 pass from Plummer (Nycz kick) UCLAS. Hicks 2 run (kick failed) ASUMitchell 23 pass from Plummer (Nycz kick) ASUPlummer 16 pass from Redmond (Nycz kick) ASUPlummer 1 run (Nycz kick) A-66,107.

ASU UCLA First downs 25 26 Rushes-yards 41-119 44-112 Passing 291 395 Comp-Att-Int 20-38-2 22-42-1 Return Yards 16 24 Punts-Avg. 6-46.2 7-38.3 Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-2 Penalties-Yards 7-51 9-44 Time of Possession 26:57 33:03 Individual statistics RUSHINGArizona St., Redmond 15-45, Plummer 14-34, Paulk 2-20, T.Battle 8-16, Martin 2-4. UCLA, S. Hicks 22-114, Walendy 3-7, Price 11-7, McNown 8-(minus 16).

PASSINGArizona St., Plummer 19-36-1-275, Boyer 0-1-1-0, Redmond 1-1-0-16. UCLA, McNown 22-41-1-395, Price 0-1-0-0.

RECEIVINGArizona St., Poole 7-112, Boyer 6-57, L.Jackson 5-83, Mitchell 1-23, Plummer 1-16. UCLA, Farmer 4-43, Clark 3-65, Ayers 3-60, Scott 3-49, McBride 3-27, McElroy 2-105, S. Hicks 1-18, Caldwell 1-13, Grieb 1-8, Walendy 1-7.


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