Donahue's Problem Could Be That He Just Isn't Worried Enough

Terry Donahue has never beaten SC when a victory in the game would have automatically put UCLA in the Rose Bowl. Terry has coached against SC 12 times and has won 5 and lost 7, but he is 0 for 6 when a victory would have made UCLA the Pac-10 representative. In '76, '78 and '87, the winner of the game went on to the Rose Bowl. In '77, '81 and '85, only UCLA was in a position to go to the Rose Bowl. The Bruins lost all 6 games, even though they often had better teams, most recently in 1985 and 1987.

This is not just a coincidence. In my opinion, the main reason is that SC goes into the game trying to win, while Donahue tries not to lose. Productive Bruin offenses during the season become very conservative and basic, while the defensive strategy, to avoid giving up the big play, allows SC to move the football. The result is, the UCLA players get uptight, don't play aggressively and make mistakes. And when a game goes down to the wire, forget it. Things get even worse.


Long Beach

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World