Order the book, The United States Football League, 1982–1986.
Arizona 20 at Oakland 34
1983 Week 9 - Monday, May 2, 1983
Arizona Wranglers(4-4) at Oakland Invaders(3-5)(-2.5)
Attendance: 27,460, TV: ESPN
OAKLAND(UPI) - John Ralston was apologetic for running up the score but Doug Shively wasn't any part of it.
Ahead, 27-20, and the clock running down to the final seconds Monday night, Oakland Invaders' quarterback Fred Besana dived 3 years for a touchdown and an eventual 34-20 victory over Shively's Arizona Wranglers.
Ralston, the Invaders' head coach and general manager, said he never would have allowed his team to score again with the game safely tucked away, but he was forced to because of the United States Football League's tie-breaker rule.
"It's not a rule I like," said Ralston. "In fact, I voted against putting it in, and now it is a part of the rules. I had no other choice."
The rule Ralston was referring to was put in to break season-ending ties, but Shively didn't like having his team's nose ground into the dirt.
"He'll have to live with it," Shively snapped when asked about the last Oakand touchdown. "This isn't the first time he has done that."
Oakland's victory Monday night was the fourth against five losses. "That's the same record as the other three members of the Pacific Division - Arizona, Los Angeles, and Denver. The Invaders have scored the most points of the four (167) and allowed the fewest (140).
"If we are all tied after nine games," said Ralston in his own defense. "who's to say we wouldn't be tied after 18?"
Alan Risher, Arizona's rookie quarterback from Louisiana State, put another fine passing show - completing 26 of 45 passes for 337 yards and two touchdowns. But it wasn't enough. Fred Besana completed 18 of 30 for 218 yards and two TD's for the Invaders.
Arthur Whittington added a touchdown on a 6-yard run and Kevin Shea booted field goals of 42 and 35 yards before Besana went over from 3 yards out with 27 seconds remaining to account for the Invaders' points. Besana's touchdown throws covered 30 yards to Gordan Banks and 42 yards to Raymond Chester,
The Invaders jumped to a 17-0 lead before Rusher got the Wranglers untracked. He threw 24 yards to Mark Keel for Arizona's first touchdown and 13 yards to Calvin Murray for the second. Jim Asmus added field goals of 36 and 43 yards.
The victory was costly for the Invaders. Center Roger Levasa injured a knee in the third quarter and Ralston said he feared Levasa may be finished for the season.
And, "you just don't go out and replace a man like Roger," he said.
Supplemental information courtesy of Chris Blackburn