A lot of bowl games remain to be played this year, and many significant plays remain to be run, but the story of this bowl season may have already been written. It isn't going to be easy to outdo Cal Beck Stops Desert Swarm.

If Beck stays in Los Angeles long enough, they'll make it into a movie. The true story of a true freshman still four months from his 19th birthday who in one adrenalin rush carried the University of Utah farther than they'd gone the entire game, setting up the winning touchdown in Utah's 16-13 Freedom Bowl victory over Arizona.When Beck fielded a kick with just over four minutes to play and Arizona in front, 13-9, the Utes had a grand total of 62 yards total offense. Arizona's vaunted Desert Swarm defense had treated the Utes like a wobbly housefly. Every time a Ute play started to develop, it didn't.

That's when Beck took matters into his own hands and feet. He fielded Arizona's kick at the 23 yard line, 77 yards from the end zone. In his mind he knew that was way too far. Everyone in the stands and everyone watching on television knew that was way too far. If the Ute offense stood a chance, they had to get close enough to use their putter.

So Beck started to move. He got some blocking. He gained speed. In no time he was gearing up to the 10.45 100-meter speed that almost sent him to college on a track scholarship instead of a football scholarship. He saw blue shirts fading into the distance, which was good, since blue was Arizona's color. Finally he was knocked down and out of bounds. But by now he was at the Arizona five-yard line, 72 yards from where he started.

The Utes had four plays to move five yards against the stingiest defense they'd ever seen. They would need them all. But the fourth try was a charm. Off balance and falling down, quarterback Mike McCoy threw complete to Kevin Dyson in the end zone. Ute VCRs may never stop running the play.

On the sidelines, Beck stared in amazement.

"I was speechless," he said. "I had faith we'd score, but I was still speechless."

And no wonder. It had been quite a run for Cal Beck in more ways than one.

Four months ago, when he reported for his first day of Ute football practice, his goal was to "be one of the guys who got to fly to the away games."

Six months ago, when he was just days away from graduating from Salt Lake City's Cottonwood High School, he was signed, sealed and practically delivered to Utah State, where he would run track and play football.

And a year ago, almost to the day, he was in this very stadium, a high school senior watching these very Utes lose 28-21 to USC and "wondering if I'd ever play college football at all."

To say Beck was not heavily recruited as a football player is to say it mildly. There was Utah State . . . and there was Utah State - and at that the Aggies wanted him for dual purposes. His track credentials were well-established - as track-only scholarship offers from schools as far away as Tennessee and Illinois attested - but football was a crapshoot. Cottonwood wasn't a high school football power and at 180 pounds and maybe six feet tall if he wore his Tony Lamas, Beck was a gridiron questionmark at best.

He already had an apartment and a roommate squared away at Utah State when Utah, waving a scholarship someone else hadn't wanted, finally got around to recruit Beck to play football.

He'd always wanted to play for the Utes. His family had Ute roots back as far as Ike Armstrong and Mac Speedie. If you cut them they'd bleed crimson.

Still, he wasn't sure if he'd take the Utes' late offer. He'd already told the Aggies he was theirs.

But the more he thought about it, and the more he talked to his parents and grandparents, the more he started to think red.

And then Luther Ellis, the Utes' All-American lineman, gave him a call.

"He said they could use a guy like me," said Beck. "I mean, Luther Ellis said that. That made me feel good."

So he signed on. The rest is a 72-yard run into history. It wasn't enough that Beck set up the Utes' regular season win over BYU with a breakaway kickoff return. That was just for starters. That was just so he could get here, to Anaheim, and do it again.

That was so he could take off his helmet and walk onto the postgame podium and pose next to Miss California and Coach McBride while holding his Most Valuable Player plaque. That was so he could prove that you're never out of it until the guy returning the kickoff stops running.

Arizona found that out Tuesday night just as it was deciding how to pour the Gatorade on the coach. The Wildcats would have been just fine if only Beck had stayed in the stands. Desert Swarm could do plenty. But it couldn't do that.