PACIFIC 10 FOOTBALL / MAL FLORENCE : Old Trick Play Fooled USC Again


Nebraska has fooled opponents with the play. Air Force tricked Notre Dame with it in 1989.

It’s generally called the “fumblerooskie,” and California used it to set up a touchdown against USC last Saturday at Berkeley.

Leading 15-7, Cal had a second-and-three situation at the USC 33-yard line in the first quarter.

The Bears moved to the right, except for center Steve Gordon, who protected the ball while on his knees. Right guard Eric Malhum didn’t move with the others. Then, he picked up the ball and ran 20 yards through the confused Trojan defense for a first down at the 13. The Bears soon scored to take a 22-7 lead.


Cal called the play the “Sugarooski,” to get the attention of Sugar Bowl scouts in the stadium.

“He’s faster than most tight ends,” California Coach Bruce Snyder said in reference to Malhum. “He wanted to run (the play) so bad that he became a pain in the butt.

“I’d never coached it before, but I finally caved in. It seemed that other teams always did it to us. We studied the way it has been done to us.”

USC was burned by the fumblerooskie last year. Arizona used it to set up a touchdown in a 35-26 victory.

Cal had another gimmick play, a two-point conversion pass from quarterback Mike Pawlawski to Chris Carpenter earlier in the quarter while ostensibly lining up for a kick.

That play also had a name, “Fiesta,” to please the attending bowl representatives from Tempe, Ariz.


Trivia question: How many years has it been since California and Stanford each beat USC and UCLA in the same season?

While defeating USC, 52-30, Cal had its starting unit on the field late in the game. Did the Bears pour it on?

“It was kind of fun,” Snyder said. “I don’t think it was anything more than that. It wasn’t a matter of pouring it on.”

In any event, the one-sided victory partially made up for USC thrashing Cal, 60-7, in 1980.

Fullback Juan Shedrick of Oregon put the Ducks’ injury-riddled season into perspective when he said: “I was walking off the field after the Stanford game--a 33-13 loss last Saturday--and thinking how lucky I am. There’s people out there who can’t walk, who can’t see, and here I am able to run the football and entertain 40,000 fans.”

Don’t expect Washington to ease up on USC today at the Coliseum.

USC spoiled the Huskies’ unbeaten season with a 16-7 victory here in 1984. The Trojans also did it in 1962, 1959 and 1943.

However, it has been suggested that unbeaten Washington might have a letdown considering that it is a substantial favorite.

“No way,” offensive coordinator Keith Gilbertson said. “We’ll be out of our minds.”

The Huskies are being careful not to demean the Trojans, as Cal did before and after the game.

“With their type of athletes, they’re always scary,” Washington defensive coordinator Jim Lambright said. “They can lose one week and kick the tar out of someone the next.”


Said Husky cornerback Walter Bailey: “They’ve controlled the league a long time, but coming into the ‘90s, the Huskies are trying to replace them as the dominant team. I’m ready to play them right now.”

Trivia answer: Fifty years.

Rubbing it in: Cal tailback Russell White said after the USC game: “It seemed like every time I touched the ball I went 40 yards. I was getting tired.”

And Golden Bear offensive coordinator Steve Mariucci, an assistant coach at USC in 1986, chimed in: “(USC) players are young, their program is in disarray. And that’s fine with me.”

Then, there was this lead paragraph by a San Francisco Examiner reporter: “In the end it was just an old-fashioned back-alley beating, with Cal going through USC’s wallet as the body lay on the ground, moaning.”

Pacific 10 Notes

California has committed 76 penalties, putting it on course to match a school record of 104 set in 1973. “I don’t have any problem with that (penalties),” Cal strong safety Ray Sanders said. “We want to be aggressive and have people know we’re not going to take a lot of bull.” . . . Oregon State freshman quarterback Mark Olford suffered a knee injury Oct. 26 against Stanford and is possibly lost for the season. His replacement is redshirt freshman Ian Shields, the third player to start at quarterback for the Beavers this season. . . .