The Sugar Bowl - #4 Purdue vs. #5 UCLA #4 Purdue holds on for Sugar Bowl Win against #5 UCLA Purdue had a 20-3 lead at halftime, then stretched the lead to 27-3 before watching as UCLA regrouped and made their customary comeback bid. Purdue wound up with a 34-25 win that was anything but easy. "Against user teams, UCLA seems to be able to make comebacks, so we knew this game wasn't over even when we had a nice margin there," said Coach Hellisan. Robert Diggs gets to Fred Welsh in the first quarter The Bruins had a difficult time cracking the Purdue 3-4 defense in the first half. Halfback Emmanuel Nicholas was being held in check and quarterback Fred Welsh had nobody to throw to. UCLA punted on their first three possessions, and on the fourth possession Fred Welsh was intercepted by outside linebacker Russell Hixon on a throw to the flat. Meanwhile, the Purdue offense was moving the ball between the tackles, and mixing in the occasional big play from quarterback Anthony Robinson. Darren Swanson scored on a four yard reception for the first score, and Robinson found speedster Brian Williams all alone on the sideline for a 78-yard catch and run a few minutes later. Down near the goal line twice more in the second quarter, Purdue played it safe and kicked field goals after good defensive stands by the Bruins. "Who knows, that might have won us the game," said Hellisan. "Knowing me I try to force something there and it gets returned for a touchdown." The Boilers refused to play it safe in the third quarter, however. Up 20-3, Purdue moved the ball down the field with a mix of run and pass to score on a 6-yard pass early in the quarter. UCLA suddenly got things rolling on their next drive, as Welsh completed passes of 27 yards and 36 yards before Nicholas ran it in from three yards out. UCLA converted the two-point attempt. Brian Williams struck again for the Boilermakers on the next drive, as he was matched up on-on-one against cornerback Reggie Cleveland and simply out ran him for the long bomb, a 67-yard touchdown. Williams hauls in this pass for a 67-yard touchdown UCLA came back and scored again. The key play of the drive was a 28-yard run by Nicholas, who took the shotgun handoff, found a crease to the right, and slipped one tackle before spinning away to the outside for the big gainer. Shortly thereafter, Welsh handed the ball to wide receiver M. Carter, who got perfect blocking and took it 16 yards through a crease to paydirt. Again, UCLA got the two-point conversion. Nicholas breaks a 28-yard gain Purdue had no more magic left on offense. An interception by free safety Chad Dean stemmed the tide momentarily, but the fourth quarter became very uncomfortable as UCLA had figured out Purdue's game plan and their superior athleticism became very evident. With 3:30 left to play, UCLA trailed 34-19, and Purdue had to punt. UCLA took to the air, and scored on a great read by Welsh, who found Nicholas standing all alone in the flat against a 4-deep zone and Nicholas outran the defenders to the goal line. M. Carter scores on a WR sweep UCLA wasn't sure whether to kick it or go for two again. Corso suggested going for two, but UCLA suffered a delay of game penalty trying to decide, then went for two anyway. They didn't make it. Welsh found a guy in the flat, but Joe Hall was able to stumble his way over and force him out of bounds. With two minutes remaining, UCLA decided to put the game in the hands of their defense rather than go for the on-side kick, and Purdue was able to get a couple of first downs and then end the game in the V-formation. A very good game against a great team.