Oct 4, 2003
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) - Rodney Leisle scored on a fumble recovery and intercept a pass as UCLA rallied to beat No. 18 Washington 46-16 Saturday. The senior star made an impact on his very first play, after Washington's Roc Alexander took the second-half kickoff to his own 7 instead of downing the ball in the end zone.
The Huskies (3-2, 1-1 Pac-10) scored on their first three possessions and built a 16-7 halftime lead against the unranked Bruins (3-2, 1-0). But Leisle made an impact on his very first play, after Washington's Roc Alexander took the second-half kickoff to his own 7 - instead of downing the ball in the end zone.
"It was the No. 18 team in the country - and to do that to them is a compliment to everyone on the team and the coaches."
QB Drew Olson
UCLA defensive end Dave Ball then knocked the ball out of quarterback Cody Pickett's hand at the goal line as Pickett cocked his arm to throw. Leisle pounced on it for his first TD since his junior year in high school, slicing Washington's lead to 16-14.
"Dave came in from the side and did all the work. I just got the icing on the cake," Leisle said. "We were behind, and that changed the momentum. We have to have that mentality every game."
Pickett's fumble was one of four second-half turnovers UCLA converted into 25 points.
"Anytime you have a big play, particularly at the beginning of a half, it gives you momentum," UCLA coach Karl Dorrell said. "We were able to ride that momentum through the third quarter, and especially the fourth. It gave us a great boost of confidence as a team, and we were able to get everything working."
Through their first four games, the Huskies had outscored opponents 79-20 in the second half and 27-0 in the fourth quarter. But this time, the unranked Bruins outscored them 39-0 in the second half and 24-0 in the final quarter.
"We were playing really well. It was as good a half of football as we have had in a couple of years," Washington coach Keith Gilbertson said.
"When we turned that ball over, that gave them some life. They hadn't really earned a touchdown. After that, we were never able to stop them. It just felt like we were rolling downhill and couldn't get the brakes on."
Manuel White, who had 19 carries for 83 yards, put the Bruins ahead to stay with a 1-yard run and caught the ensuing 2-point conversion pass from Drew Olson.
"It was the No. 18 team in the country - and to do that to them is a compliment to everyone on the team and the coaches," Olson said. "When the whole team is clicking on all cylinders - offense, defense and special teams - it motivates us and gets us going. It helps when we are all out there having fun and making plays."
The Huskies advanced inside the red zone following White's go-ahead TD, but Pickett's short pass over the middle bounced off the shoulder pads of fullback Zach Tuiasosopo and into the waiting arms of Leisle at the UCLA 12.
The Bruins converted the turnover into a 39-yard field goal by Chris Kluwe, and Jarrad Page sealed the victory just eight seconds later by returning an interception 24 yards for a touchdown with 12:05 to play. Olson ran in from 1 yard out with 3˝ minutes left.
Olson was 16-for-24 for 258 yards - matching the career high in yardage he set last week - and also had a 1-yard TD run. Craig Bragg caught eight passes for 142 yards.
Pickett completed 26 of 42 passes for 281 yards and was intercepted twice. He completed 12 of his first 15 passes - six of them to Reggie Williams, who finished with 10 catches for 105 yards.
After the second of Evan Knudson's three field goals increased Washington's lead to 13-0 early in the second quarter, Ebell went around left end from the 7 for his first touchdown this season. It was the third of 10 carries in the game for the sophomore tailback, who rushed for 50 yards after running the ball just three times last week.
On Monday, Ebell brought his father into a closed-door meeting with Dorrell in an attempt to get his role on the team more defined. Dorrell referred to Ebell's lack of playing time as "an oversight." In last year's 34-24 win at Washington, Ebell had three 1-yard touchdown runs among his 102 yards rushing.