Bruins put on Pac-10 front

first_imgCOLLEGE FOOTBALL: After losing to Notre Dame, UCLA upsets Cal to stay unbeaten atop conference. By Brian Dohn STAFF WRITER In the lower rows of sections 21 and 22, nestled in the Southwest corner of the Rose Bowl, where fans were chanting to “Fire Dorrell” two weeks ago, fans were screaming wildly, eight-clapping in delight and celebrating a first-place team. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.Dorrell’s five-year tenure at the helm of the Bruins is exemplified by UCLA’s last two games, and the latest emotions of joy and giddiness were topped with content and confidence. Behind a superb defensive effort and the workmanlike running of Kahlil Bell, UCLA pushed aside the embarrassment of losing to Notre Dame and rallied to upset No. 10 California, 30-21, in front of 83,494 Saturday at the Rose Bowl. Alterraun Verner, who grew up in Carson, returned his second interception 76 yards for a touchdown with 1:33 remaining to secure the win, and move the Bruins (5-2, 4-0) into a first-place tie with idle Arizona State in the Pacific-10 Conference. “People are probably going to think we got lucky, or Cal was still down from (losing) last week,” UCLA strong safety Chris Horton said. “But the game should show for itself, that we came out and we won the game. “That’s all that matters to me.” The standings say UCLA is a conference contender, but its losses scream otherwise. The Bruins are still trying to pull away from the awful perceptions created by a 38-point loss at Utah, and a 14-point defeat to the Irish two weeks ago. If not for those two games, the Bruins would be in the thick of the national championship race, instead of explaining why they really are serious contenders for the Pac-10 title, and a BCS berth. “The two games we lost were almost like freebies,” said Bell, who ran for 142 yards on 22 carries. “Now, it is all Pac-10 games. “Everything we play for from now on will have consequences for where we’re going to play in late December, or hopefully, January. Our coaches have done a great job of drilling it into our heads that our destiny is in our hands.” Meanwhile, Cal’s season has imploded. The Bears (5-2, 2-2) were poised to be the nation’s top-ranked team if they defeated Oregon State last week. Instead, Cal is looking at a second-tier bowl after seeing its running attack shut down and quarterback Nate Longshore, who did not play against the Beavers because of an ankle injury, intercepted three times en route to a season-low in points. “Longshore is hurt, and they didn’t want to put the game in his hands, and they didn’t,” UCLA defensive end Bruce Davis said. “We were getting after him, and his offensive line was a little shaky. I kind of took it as disrespect, they wanted to just go (with) five-man protections. “You’ve got a hurt quarterback, can’t move, and you want to go five-man protections? I don’t know. That’s on them. When they turn the film on, they’re going to wish they did seven-man the whole game.” Cal’s Justin Forsett was held to 76 yards on 25 carries, and the Bears’ passing game was limited mostly to short passes as Longshore completed 22 of 34 for 232 yards. He threw three touchdowns, but two of his three interceptions came in UCLA territory. “(Forsett) is the heart of that team,” Davis said. “He really makes them go, and if you shut him down, you shut that team down.” Whereas Verner’s first interception ended Cal’s third-quarter drive at the UCLA 23-yard line, the second one ended Cal’s chance to win the game. UCLA led, 23-21, after Kai Forbath’s 27-yard field goal with 3:08 to play, but Cal returned the kickoff to the Bruins’ 35. After two Forsett runs for five yards, Longshore attempted to connect with DeSean Jackson in the left flat, but Verner stepped in front for the interception, then raced 76 yards for a touchdown and a 30-21 lead. “We saw that route so many times in practice this week and on film,” Bruins cornerback Rodney Van said. “Verner remembered that play, when DeSean motions down he’s coming back outside 90 percent of the time. “Verner stuck with the percentages, jumped the route and made a play for the team that we needed.” UCLA quarterback Patrick Cowan was 18-for-27 for 161 yards, managed the offense well and didn’t turn the ball over. UCLA’s nicest pass came from receiver Brandon Breazell, who took a hand-off and connected on a 29-yard score with Dominique Johnson when UCLA went ahead 20-14 in the third quarter. It was Breazell’s second touchdown pass of the season. “I’m a natural quarterback,” said Breazell, who played quarterback through junior high. After the Bears took a 21-20 lead on Jackson’s 2-yard reception with 2:06 remaining in the third quarter, UCLA used its offensive line to move the ball into field-goal range. Bell, who has been bothered by a bruised right shoulder the last two games, set up UCLA’s first touchdown with a 64-yard run, but wasn’t a big factor in the fourth quarter. When the Bruins were prodding along en route to Forbath’s go-ahead kick, the carries were shared by Bell, Chris Markey and Chane Moline. “We weren’t perfect, but it was a good enough game to show what our capabilities are,” Dorrell said. “This was our best game, in terms of playing a high-caliber game.” [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img