By Th‚oden K. Janes
Arizona Daily Wildcat
If only he had been completely healthy.
UCLA outside linebacker Donnie Edwards recorded 16 total tackles Ä six of which were for losses, caused two fumbles and had three sacks in the Bruins' 34-24 loss to Arizona Saturday afternoon. And he woke up the previous morning feeling miserably sick.
Edwards was so out of it for much of the game that in the locker room afterward, he had trouble remembering certain plays.
When someone asked him to comment on the bone-jarring hit he put on UA quarterback Dan White in the first quarter, a sack that forced a fumble, Edwards' response was, "Which play are you talking about?"
After jogging his memory, the junior All-America candidate said: "I was already dazed Ä even before I hit him Ä because I was so sick. I guess when I hit him, I kind of lost the air in me because I was kind of walking around after and my eyes were all blurry."
His vision may have been blurred, but his judgment was nearly impeccable. This was especially evident in the first quarter, when the 6-foot-3, 220-pound linebacker led an effective blitz that forced White to hurry several passes and put the Wildcat quarterback on his back once every three or four downs.
The funny thing is, Edwards said he blitzed less than he usually does.
"I'm not always thinking blitz," he said. "I'm just out there playing football. A lot of times, I decide to take chances (by blitzing). I took some chances and they came out good for me."
During halftime, Edwards' sickness was making it difficult for him to breathe, and he was forced to take medication to help open his throat up. Perhaps as a result, he was a much less visible force during the second half.
UCLA coach Terry Donahue cut down substantially on the number of blitzes he was calling, and Arizona went on to score 20 second-half points.
But Donahue didn't blame his No. 1 defensive player.
"Donnie is one of our top defensive players," Donahue said. "As usual, he had a great game. He plays hard Ä I mean, clearly, he's playing hard for us. He is just a tremendous athlete."
An understatement? Probably. Edwards leads the team in virtually every defensive category, including tackles (82), sacks (11.5 Ä 1.5 shy of the school record),
"I don't see me playing that well," Edwards said. "We're losing. If we were winning, then I could be happy about my stats. But we're not winning. Individual efforts don't matter when your team isn't winning."
At least Edwards has next year to look forward to. He is scheduled to graduate after winter quarter (in less than four full years) and will play the 1995 season as a graduate student.
For now, all he can do is make the best of the remainder of the season. And try to keep his head up.
"It has definitely been a depressing season for us, as was this game," he said. "I mean, we're not going to the Rose Bowl, so all I can do is play for pride right now."
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