Season of the Giant Killers - Game 8
November 4, 1967
The 1967 Oregon State Football team traveled south to Los Angeles for game eight of the 'Season of the Giant Killers'.
The 5-2 Beavers were still riding high from their upset victory over the then No. 2 ranked Purdue Boilermakers
and subsequent manhandling of Washington State. This game looked to be the greatest challenge thus far, as the
undefeated and No. 2 ranked UCLA Bruins were well aware of the Beavers' talents and propensity for upset victories.
The game would feature a matchup between two of the nation's top quarterbacks - UCLA's Gary
Beban and OSU's own Steve Preece. Beban was the more heralded of the two and would eventually find himself
in New York as the 1967 Heisman Trophy winner. Perhaps the most interesting matchup was the one between current
Beaver Coach Dee Andros and his predecessor, Tommy Prothro, who now was the headman at UCLA. The two Oregon State
legends had faced twice before, both games occurring when Prothro was still at OSU and Andros was at Idaho, with
Prothro emerging as the victor on each occasion.
The Bruins were loaded with talent. In addition to Beban, the Bruins had five players who would garner All-Conference
honors by season's end. Three of the five - Larry Slagle, Dennis Murphy, and John Erquiaga - were offensive lineman,
and were key components in the Bruins' gaudy 31 points per game average. Linebacker Don Manning not only earned
All Conference acclaim, he was also selected as a consensus All American. Before finding fame as a Bruin, safety
Mark Gustafson was a graduate of Corvallis High who followed Prothro to UCLA. If special teams had been recognized
in the All Conference selections, cannon-legged phenom Zenon Andrusyshyn would almost certainly have been selected
as the kicker.
Both teams had their eyes on Pasadena, and this game would play a major role in determining the Pac-10's Rose Bowl
representative. Over 50,000 fans were in attendance at LA Coliseum, enjoying both the sun and the highly anticipated
battle that was to come. Oddsmakers had opened the week with the Bruins as 13-point favorites, but the spread dropped
to seven as more and more money was bet on the upset-happy Beavers. The Beavers had grown accustomed to the role
of underdog, and were not the least bit intimidated by the Bruins' daunting reputation.
Steve Preece gallops for a 35-yard gain, setting up the first score of the day.
The game began on an exciting note when, after being forced to punt, the OSU coverage team forced Gustafson to
fumble during the return. The Beavers' Jerry Belcher recovered the fumble on the UCLA 38-yard line, setting the
stage for the offense to take over. Preece wasted little time taking advantage of the good field position. On the
first play of the possession, Preece dropped back to pass, then tucked the ball under his arm and followed his
blockers for a huge gain down to the Bruin three-yard line. At this point, fullback Bill Enyart went to work, and
within two plays he and his linemen had pounded their way into the endzone. Mike Haggard's kick was good, and with
less than three minutes off the clock, the Beavers had a 7-0 lead.
No scoring occurred for the rest of the quarter, though UCLA made a go at it with a 42-yard field goal attempt
by Andrusyshyn. Fortunately for the Beavers, the kick flew wide right. At the end of the first quarter, the Beavers
were threatening to score again, thanks to a 23-yard punt return by Charlie Olds that put the Beavers on the Bruin
37. A few plays later, and at the start of the second quarter, the Beavers were facing fourth down on the UCLA
1-yard line. Andros decided to go for it. Sticking with what they knew best, the Beavers ran Enyart up the middle,
but the Bruins knew exactly what was coming and corralled Enyart just six-inches shy of the goal line.
The defensive stand seemed to give the Bruins new life. Beban returned to the field and showcased for all those
in attendance the skill that would eventually earn the Heisman. Over the next 14 plays, the Bruins exploited newfound
holes in the Beaver defense, with Beban doing most of the damage through the air. He capped the drive with a three-yard
touchdown on a keeper. The kick was good, and the Beavers found themselves in a brand new ballgame.
For the remainder of the half, the Beaver offense struggled and the Beaver defense endured a constant barrage from
UCLA's offensive unit. UCLA's Andrusyshyn came on the field for two more field goal attempts. The first, setup
by a 20-yard punt return by Gustafson, was a mortar shot good from 52-yards out. The second opportunity was provided
with only two minutes left in the half, when UCLA blocked a Gary Houser punt and recovered on the OSU 16-yard line.
The ever-tough Beaver defense refused to allow the Bruins any positive yardage on the possession, forcing Andrusyshyn
to come on again, this time hitting from 23-yards out. The half ended with the Bruins up 13-7.
Both teams' defenses again took control in the third quarter, with no one even threatening to score until late
in the period. Aided by two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on the UCLA defense, Preece once again had his offensive
unit rolling. Covering 48-yards in just five plays, the scoring drive was capped when halfback Billy Main took
a pitch from Preece and raced in from the nine-yard line. Haggard came on for the PAT, but was unable to convert
as the ball struck the left upright and bounced back out on the field. The quarter ended with the score again tied,
this time at 13 apiece.
The Bruin offense came back to life in the fourth, as they again found holes in the Beaver secondary, including
a 39-yard rocket from Beban across the middle. The Bruins marched 71 yards from their own 20 down to the OSU 9-yard
Fumble? What fumble?
Coach Andros, Offensive Backfield Coach Bob Herndon, and Defensive Ends and Linebackers Coach Ed Knecht all remember this UCLA drive as having benefited from poor officiating. Beaver defenders had nailed the Bruin ball carrier, knocking the ball free and launching it close to 20 yards in the air. The Beavers recovered the ball on its way down, and the officials in the area immediately indicated OSU possession going the other way. However, another official - from the opposite side of the field - came over waving his arms and saying he had blown the ball dead. As Coach Knecht recently commented, "Hell, the ball was 20 yards in the air. How in the world could it have been dead?"
... Fortunately, the Beavers were not about to give in, and they once again showed the tenacity for which they
had become famous. The Bruins were unable to get any additional yardage on the drive and were forced to settle
for yet another Andrusyshyn field goal. The 16-yarder was good, and with it the Bruins had regained the lead at
With only two minutes left to play in the game, the Bruins were again deep in Beaver territory and threatening
to score, but Safety Mark Waletich kept OSU's hopes alive when he intercepted a Beban pass in the OSU endzone.
The Beavers took over at their own 20, but at this point the clock was working against them. Preece, Enyart, Main,
and Don Summers immediately went to work, eating up yards and the Bruin defense as they raced downfield. The Bruins
eventually stiffened, and the Beavers faced fourth and five from the UCLA 11-yard line. Rather than risk the long
fourth down play, Andros elected to send Haggard out for a 28-yard field goal attempt. Avoiding any ill effects
from the earlier PAT miss, Haggard's kick was good. With a mere 1:15 left to play, it appeared a 16-16 tie was
Prothro wasn't about to relent, however, and Beban and the UCLA offensive unit quickly mounted one last scoring
effort. With only seconds left on the clock, the Bruins were on the Beaver 23-yard line, well within Andrusyshyn's
range. The future pro with the funny name confidently strode on the field for what would be the game winner. Fortunately
for Beaver fans, OSU's special-teamers were not about to give up the fight. Defensive tackle Ron Boley was the
hero of the day when he leapt high over the backs of his teammates to bat down the kick, providing the first blemish
to UCLA's perfect season and further establishing the Beavers' Giant Killing reputation.
For their efforts, Preece was voted 'Back of the Day' and defensive end Harry Gunner was 'Lineman of the Day.'
Postgame comments, 1967:
"There wasn't time left for another chance if we missed and, besides, the yardage was too much."
- Coach Andros on his decision to go for a field goal and a tie, rather than a touchdown and a win.
"No, we're not satisfied with a tie. We only believe in winning, but we're not dissatisfied either. I think
our kids played a very fine game. We had to in order to stay even with UCLA.... Tying a team like that, I think,
makes us that much better." - Coach Andros
"Our plan worked as well as any team could do on a player like Beban." - Coach Andros on controlling
Heisman Trophy winner Gary Beban.
Quote of the Day:
"I'm tired of playing these number two ranked teams. Bring on number one." - Coach Andros, after
being repeatedly asked whether his team would stand a chance against top-ranked (and media darling) Southern Cal.
"I don't like to make excuses, but I really think there were a couple plays where we really got screwed
(by the refs)." - Coach Andros
"It was an atrocious call, but that's football. Just like this past year, had they called the block
in the back on the return by Oregon, we probably would have won that football game. That's football."
- Coach Knecht on the overturned fumble.
"We scouted them (UCLA) well, and we thought we matched up pretty well. Some people felt that maybe we
got some lucky breaks in the Purdue game, so we still probably felt like we had something to prove. Guys were
starting to step up. The offensive line was really starting to come together - really creating some holes and
protecting Preece a lot better. I think the whole team was just coming together better." - Defensive
Tackle Jess Lewis
Next up: Week 9 Preview - The USC Trojans