Sept 13, 2003
By JOHN NADEL
AP Sports Writer
PASADENA, Calif. - Now that Karl Dorrell has the first victory of his head coaching career under his belt, he can focus on next week.
Freshman Justin Medlock kicked two field goals, and the UCLA defense did the rest Saturday night as the Bruins beat Illinois 6-3 for the 500th win in school history.
The Bruins (1-1) play at No. 1 Oklahoma (3-0) next Saturday.
"What a blowout, huh?" Dorrell said with a smile. "It wasn't a pretty win. There's a lot of work to be done."
Especially on offense, where UCLA was pretty dreadful against a team that allowed its previous two opponents - Missouri and Illinois State - to average 367 yards and 22 points.
Oklahoma features one of the country's top defenses, but UCLA's seems to be pretty good, too.
"Their defense came out and caused some problems, but our defense played lights out," Dorrell said. "Right now, they're carrying our flagship."
John Gockman had a chance to tie the game, but his 43-yard field goal attempt with 27 seconds remaining was wide left. Gockman, a senior, had made his previous six field goal tries this season.
The kick would have been from 5 yards closer, but Illinois was flagged for an illegal procedure penalty. The Fighting Illini moved from their 15 to the UCLA 21 before the penalty.
"The kick felt good coming off my foot. I just pulled it a little," Gockman said. "I thought I kicked it just fine, but I pulled it.
"The team told me to forget it. They said I will have another chance later in the year. I needed them to say that, I need them to have confidence in me and I need to have confidence in myself."
Illinois coach Ron Turner deflected attention from Gockman, saying: "One play is not going to decide a ballgame. We had a lot of opportunities to make plays and didn't make them. Our defense rose to the occasion."
UCLA finished with only 204 yards in total offense and failed to cash in on three interceptions. Illinois had 283 yards of total offense, but moved inside the Bruins 44 only once until the final drive.
"It's like Christmas right now, it's one of the best defensive games we've ever played," Bruins defensive end Mat Ball said.
The 39-year-old Dorrell, a former UCLA wide receiver, was hired to succeed Bob Toledo in December. The Bruins (1-1) lost at No. 17 Colorado in Dorrell's first game at the helm.
Manuel White, who didn't touch the ball in the Colorado game, gained 102 yards on 18 carries. He picked up 78 yards on 12 carries in the second half as UCLA controlled the clock.
UCLA's Drew Olson completed only 11-of-31 passes for 94 yards with one interception and was sacked six times.
Jon Beutjer of Illinois completed 26-of-42 passes for 216 yards with three interceptions, and freshman E.B. Halsey gained 76 yards on 24 carries.
"They have one of the best defensive lines we will see all year," Beutjer said of the Bruins.
Medlock kicked a 28-yard field goal late in the first quarter and a 48-yarder early in the second period.
His first career field goal capped a 58-yard, 11-play drive after the Bruins failed to get a first down on their first three possessions.
The second came three plays after Christian Morton fumbled a punt and UCLA's Tim Warfield recovered at the Illinois 33-yard line.
Illinois (1-2) moved 45 yards on 10 plays to get into position for a 29-yard field goal by Gockman late in the third quarter. Marc Jackson set up the kick by intercepting Olson at the Illini 43.
UCLA's Craig Bragg and Illinois' Kelvin Hayden were open but dropped potential touchdown passes in the second quarter, and Junior Taylor of the Bruins dropped one in the end zone early in the fourth period.
Starting UCLA cornerback Matt Clark didn't play because of a question involving his eligibility.
The school said it learned of information Friday involving Clark and that the junior from Pacoima would sit out because the issue couldn't be resolved until next week.
The school wouldn't comment further, citing student privacy laws.
The Bruins also played without backup quarterback John Sciarra, suspended for the game after it was learned he had been arrested last month in Newport Beach on misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct-public intoxication and giving false information to a police officer.
Sciarra moved up to second string after Matt Moore bruised his upper left tibia in the first quarter of UCLA's season-opening loss at No. 17 Colorado on Sept. 6.