November 14, 1998
SEATTLE (AP) - No. 3 UCLA, getting a 77-yard punt return by Ryan Roques and five field goals from Chris Sailer, clinched the Pac-10 championship and remained unbeaten with a 36-24 victory over Washington on Saturday.
After four consecutive close calls, including a victory in the final minute against Oregon State last week, the Bruins (9-0, 7-0 Pac-10) extended their winning streak to 19 games. They haven't lost since the second week of last season.
UCLA did it on a day when Sailer booted field goals of 27, 25, 25, 47 and 29 yards.
The Bruins, No. 2 in the Bowl Championship Series rankings behind Tennessee this week, have Southern California and Miami left on their schedule in a bid to get into the Jan. 4 Fiesta Bowl that will determine the national title.
By wrapping up the Pac-10 crown, UCLA earned at least a trip to the Rose Bowl.
Washington (5-5, 3-4) must beat Washington State in next Saturday's Apple Cup game at Pullman, Wash., to avoid its first losing season in 22 years and qualify for a bowl.
The Huskies dropped their third in a row in their final home game despite their first 100-yard rushing game of the season. Braxton Cleman had 114 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns.
Roques, a converted tailback who is a starting cornerback, helped UCLA take a 20-10 lead at halftime.
After returning a kickoff 81 yards to set up Sailer's 27-yard field goal in the first quarter, Rogues evaded four tackles and brought back a punt by Ryan Fleming 77 yards for his touchdown with 41 seconds left in the first half. That turned out to be the game's turning point.
UCLA's first punt return for a TD since 1995 - on top of the Bruins' longest kickoff return since 1980 - highlighted a first half that began when the Bruins drove 65 yards in nine plays with the opening kickoff for a TD. Jermaine Lewis scored that time on a 2-yard run.
Washington used Toure Butler's interception in the end zone of a halfback pass by Lewis to trigger an 80-yard TD drive. Cleman carried six times for 44 yards, including a 22-yard run for the TD with 6:40 remaining before halftime.
A 61-yard pass from Cade McNown to Danny Framer set up Sailer's second 25-yard field goal in the third quarter and he followed that with a 47-yarder.
Cleman scored on a 1-yard run on the final play of the third quarter before freshman DeShaun Foster scored on a 1-yard run and Sailer kicked a 29-yarder in the final period.
Washington scored a touchdown with 45 seconds to go on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Brock Huard to Chris Juergens.
Sailer, bothered by a pulled groin muscle, was five-for-five in field goal tries after coming into the game 5-for-13. His miss against Oregon forced the Bruins to go into overtime.
McNown was 12-for-24 for 233 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. Huard, probably playing his final game at Husky Stadium, was 17-for-34 for 203 yards with one TD pass and one interception. Huard is expected to leave after his junior season to enter the NFL draft.
Farmer caught four passes for 134 yards, while Foster had 73 yards on 11 carries.
By JIM COUR
AP Sports Writer