Rodney Peete treated the UCLA defense the same as he treated his measles Saturday. Neither had much negative effect on him, and even in tandem they failed to keep him from leading No. 2 Southern Cal into the Rose Bowl.
Peete passed for 129 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score to lift USC to a 31-22 victory over the No. 6 Bruins."Basically, I'd have to be on my death bed not to play today," said Peete, who was unsure if he would play until Saturday morning. "The most important thing is we won this football game. It makes me feel good."
Aaron Emanuel ran for two scores to help the Trojans, 10-0 overall and 8-0 in the Pacific-10, capture the league title and gain their second straight Rose Bowl berth.
USC will battle Big Ten champion Michigan in the Jan. 2 bowl game. First, the Trojans meet No. 1 Notre Dame Saturday at the Coliseum.
UCLA, 9-2 overall and 6-2 in conference, accepted a Cotton Bowl berth against Arkansas.
Peete, hospitalized at midweek with what was diagnosed as a mild case of the measles, played the whole game. He completed 16 of 28 with no interceptions. He threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Erik Affholter, and scored from the 1.
"The doctors said it was totally my decision (whether to play)," Peete said. "I felt I was ready to play. I felt pretty good, but I was getting a little more tired than usual."
Emanuel, a junior who did not play last year following an altercation with a female student, scored on runs of 4 and 3 yards. He gained 113 yards on 27 carries. Quin Rodriguez had a 21-yard field goal with 2:50 left.
UCLA's Troy Aikman, supposedly in a Heisman Trophy duel with Peete, completed a school-record 32 passes in 48 attempts for 317 yards and one interception. Aikman threw a 10-yard scoring pass to Reggie Moore in the second quarter and a 26-yard TD to Brendan McCracken with 1:41 to go.
"Everybody on this team had their hearts set on going to the Rose Bowl," Aikman said. "I didn't do it. That hurts. But we've got to go on. We've got the Cotton Bowl and we've got to look forward to that."