ONCE AGAIN, UCLA-USC IS COMING UP 7S
Zenon Andrusyshyn still carries the emotional scar, and George Farmer still wonders what it would be like to have a Rose Bowl ring next to the national championship ring he earned playing basketball for John Wooden at UCLA.
In Farmer’s perfect world, his son Danny catches passes for UCLA on Saturday at the Coliseum, the Bruins beat USC for the seventh consecutive time and Washington beats Washington State. Danny goes to the Rose Bowl and gets the ring George never got.
Andrusyshyn is just content to have watched son Zariel kick a 36-yard field goal Monday night that gave Chamberlain High of Tampa a 3-0 victory over Hillsborough High in Florida’s West Coast championship game.
Happiness is where you find it.
There was little to be found in 1967, when Farmer, a two-sport Bruin, caught a touchdown pass from Gary Beban in the 1967 UCLA-USC game. And, yes, he remembers O.J. Simpson’s run that tends to define the Trojans’ 21-20 win over then-No. 1 UCLA for most.
Not for Farmer.
“I thought we would come back,” he says. “We had plenty of time [10 minutes 38 seconds], and we missed three field goals [and an extra point]. They were just missed.
“That was the story of the game.”
It began a run of unlucky “sevens” for the Bruins, and a run of misery for Andrusyshyn that has evolved into a life of ministry.
Actually, figure the Trojans, luck had nothing to do with it.
* In 1977, there was the disputed pass interference call against Johnny Lynn, giving USC a first down on the UCLA 40. Six plays later, Frank Jordan, who earlier had missed two extra points, kicked a 38-yard field goal with two seconds to play for a 29-27 USC win that knocked the Bruins out of the Rose Bowl and put Washington in.
Jordan had kicked for Riordan High in San Francisco and followed his coach to UC Riverside. When Riverside went out of the football business, its coach became an assistant at USC and took Jordan along.
“People forget, but he also kicked a field goal that beat Notre Dame [the next season],” said that former assistant, Bob Toledo, now UCLA’s coach.
* In 1987, there was Rodney Peete chasing down Eric Turner, 89 yards after a pass interception, then throwing to Erik Affholter on a 33-yard touchdown pass midway through the fourth quarter for a 17-13 win that knocked UCLA out of the Rose Bowl and put USC in.
“I knew my brother had him,” said Skip Peete, who was sitting with their mother in the stands that day, and who will be at the Coliseum on Saturday as the coach of UCLA’s running backs.
“When Rodney had both Achilles’, he could run. He had injured one the year before, but he still could run, and remember, no one is faster than a quarterback who has just thrown an interception.”
* In 1997, you have to figure that Bruins with a historical bent are wondering what can happen next, and George Farmer is hoping that seven--as in successive victories--can finally become a lucky number for UCLA.
It all goes back to the ’67 game for Farmer, and, for that matter, for most who see the game as defining the UCLA-USC series.
“We were No. 1 [in the country] and I think they were No. 2,” he remembers.
Beban completed 16 of 24 passes for 301 yards, including touchdown passes of 53 yards to Farmer and 20 yards to Dave Nuttall, and a 69-yarder to Ron Copeland that set up Greg Jones’ 12-yard touchdown run.
He also threw an interception that Pat Cashman returned 55 yards for USC’s first score.
UCLA ran for only 43 yards.
And then there was Simpson, breaking five tackles on a 13-yard touchdown run in which seven Bruins actually had a shot at him.
It was the prologue.
His 64-yard run for the winning touchdown was history, shown over and over again. It wasn’t supposed to happen.
The play was a pass to Ron Drake, but when USC quarterback Toby Page hunched over center, he saw that Drake had drawn double coverage.
In the huddle, Simpson had told Page, “Give me a blow.” He had just run back a kickoff, and “I couldn’t even run a pass pattern,” Simpson recalled in “60 Years of USC-UCLA Football,” a book on the rivalry. “I was so tired.”
But Drake was covered, so Page checked off at the line of scrimmage and called “23 blast.”
“I almost went into motion,” Simpson said, “because I wanted to say, ‘No.’ I thought, ‘Not only am I tired, but that’s a horrible call.’ ”
But 23 blast it was, and Simpson got the ball and ran between tackle Mike Taylor and guard Steve Lehmer. Then fullback Dan Scott threw a block against UCLA linebacker Don Manning at the 40.
At the 43, Simpson veered left and got blocks from Dick Allmon and Drake.
At the UCLA 45, Simpson cut back toward the middle of the field.
“I remember the run, and I remember the cutback,” said Farmer, who was watching the play from the sideline. “Any time you’ve got a runner like that and he cuts back, it’s trouble.
“And I remember they had Earl McCullouch, the sprinter, down the field ready to take out the last of our guys. And they didn’t need him.”
UCLA Coach Tommy Prothro saw it too. When Simpson cut back, Prothro told an assistant, “Isn’t but one guy can catch Simpson now and he’s on the same team.”
Rick Purdy was UCLA’s fullback and is now the school’s associate athletic director for development.
“My roommate was Mark Gustafson, a defensive back, and I remember seeing him run about three steps after Simpson and then just throw his hands in the air,” Purdy said. “He knew he wasn’t going to catch him.”
It’s still called “the run” at USC, which had only running that day. The Trojans threw six passes for 13 yards.
When Rikki Aldridge kicked the extra point, the Trojans led, 21-20.
But there was still plenty of time, and UCLA had Beban, who that season would win the Bruins’ only Heisman Trophy.
But USC had Bill Hayhoe and a plan.
Hayhoe was 6 feet 8, and he was one of five Trojans who lined up on UCLA’s left side in kick formation.
Andrusyshyn was a soccer-style kicker from Canada, still an oddity then, and “he kicked low, that sidewinder thing,” USC Coach John McKay said. “And he always pulled the ball to the left.”
Andrusyshyn had kicked a 52-yard field goal earlier in the season, but his 42-yard effort was low and was blocked by USC. A 47-yarder suffered a similar fate. Hayhoe had one of the blocks.
“They didn’t need those tall guys,” Farmer recalled. “He hit the guy in the belt buckle.”
USC went on to win the 1967 national championship, and UCLA, still reeling from the 21-20 loss, was beaten by Syracuse, 32-14, in the season finale and finished 10th in the polls.
The loss to the Trojans was devastating, Farmer said.
“We had so many chances, any one of which he could have made. A lot of guys resented that for a lot of years, and the guys still talk about it. I have heard that it was really a devastating blow for [Andrusyshyn], that it devastated his life.”
It did, for a while.
“But it also changed my life,” said Andrusyshyn. “I had a 16-year career in pro football, but that game was instrumental in straightening out my life.
“I was a proud player who was brought down, really crushed, and it helped me regroup.”
But not quickly. He missed the team bus back to Westwood and walked home, finding, he says, that he had been hanged in effigy.
“For two months, I wore a mustache and hat every time I went out so people wouldn’t recognize me,” he said. “If they did, they would say, ‘You’re the guy who missed the kicks.’ ”
He came back a year later, still proud.
“Zenon was just cocky enough to be good, or just good enough to be cocky,” Purdy said. “He went to Prothro and said he had a vision that if he could wear a gold kicking shoe, he would never miss another kick like he did in the SC game. Prothro took care of that quick enough.”
And Andrusyshyn was drafted and cut by Dallas before going to Canada, where he stumbled around. He fell into alcohol and drug abuse until 1974, when he found religion and also how to kick a football with a straight-on approach.
The sidewinder style was abandoned, and he made 250 field goals in his career, 30 from 50 or more yards. He also has the longest punt in Canadian Football League history, 108 yards.
In Tampa now, he is the Florida director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and works closely with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whose general manager is Rich McKay.
Yes, the son of John McKay and now one of Andrusyshyn’s friends.
Farmer’s son got a lecture last season from his dad about the importance of the USC-UCLA rivalry.
“I told him to prepare himself completely, because this is a game he will remember the rest of his life,” said Farmer, who then enjoyed Danny’s five receptions for 81 yards in the game, and delighted in his 52-yard touchdown catch.
Andrusyshyn would love to be able to tell Zariel the same thing.
“My son is a good kicker, and I wrote to UCLA about him,” he said. “I didn’t get an answer.
“I wrote USC about him, and they sent me a reply. Ironic, isn’t it? The school I helped get into the Rose Bowl by missing kicks sends me a reply about my son’s kicking.”
And he follows the Bruins from a distance.
“I root for them,” he said. “I hope I can get the game on television, because I’d like to see them beat USC. I value my time at UCLA.”
And deals with its memories.
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)
O.J. Simpson’s 64-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter put the Trojans ahead, but the Bruins had several chances to regain the lead. Zenon Andrusyshyn had two field-goal attempts blocked after the run. Adnrusyshyn missed three field-goal attempts and a conversion kick in the game.
Frank Jordan’s 38-yard field goal with two seconds remaining finished a drive that included a controversial pass interference call on the Bruins’ Johnny Lynn. USC faced a third and 10 at midfield with a minute left when Rob Hertel threw a sideline pass to Kevin Williams. Lynn reached for the ball and apparently touched it, but was called for interference. He said later that he hadn’t made contact with Williams. Six plays later, Jordan kicked the Bruins out of Pasadena.
The debate continues on whether Erik Affholter had control of the winning touchdown pass midway through the fourth quarter. What can’t be argued is the importance of the final play of the first half. UCLA’s Eric Turner intercepted a Rodney Peete pass at the goal line and and appeared on his way to a 100-yard return. Peete chased him almost the length of the field and dragged him down at the 11-yard line, keeping the Bruins’ lead a 10-0.
Scores from every UCLA, USC game. USC leads series
YR. UCLA USC ’29 0 76 ’30 0 52 ’36 7 7 ’37 13 19 ’38 7 42 ’39 0 0 ’40 12 28 ’41 7 7 ’42 14 7 ’43 0 20 ’44 13 13 ’44 13 40 ’45 6 13 ’45 15 26 ’46 6 13 ’47 0 6 ’48 13 20 ’49 7 21 ’50 39 0 ’51 21 7 ’52 12 14 ’53 13 0 ’54 34 0 ’55 17 7 ’56 7 10 ’57 20 9 ’58 15 25 ’59 10 3 ’60 6 17 ’61 10 7 ’62 3 14 ’63 6 26 ’64 13 34 ’65 20 16 ’66 14 7 ’67 20 21 ’68 16 28 ’69 12 14 ’70 45 20 ’71 7 7 ’72 7 24 ’73 13 23 ’74 9 34 ’75 25 22 ’76 14 24 ’77 27 29 ’78 10 17 ’79 14 49 ’80 20 17 ’81 21 22 ’82 20 19 ’83 27 17 ’84 29 20 ’85 13 17 ’86 45 25 ’87 13 17 ’88 22 21 ’89 10 10 ’90 42 45 ’91 24 21 ’92 38 37 ’93 27 21 ’94 31 39 ’95 24 20 ’96 48 21
UCLA at USC Saturday, Ch. 7, 12:30