Sept. 21, 2001
By JOHN NADEL
AP Sports Writer
PASADENA, Calif. - UCLA quarterback Cory Paus is ready for some football. But he admits he's not sure how everyone else feels.
"I don't know what it's going to be like. I'm anxious to see what happens," Paus said of the 14th-ranked Bruins' game against No. 21 Ohio State at the Rose Bowl in Saturday's only matchup of Top 25 teams.
"They say the best thing to do is return to a normal life. That's what we're doing. I'm excited to get back to working on improving as a football team and I'm looking forward to playing Ohio State. I'm hoping things will be back to normal, but we'll see."
One thing that won't be the same is security at the Rose Bowl, and at every other major stadium in the country. In the wake of last week's terrorist attacks on the East Coast, security has been greatly increased.
UCLA spokesman Marc Dellins urged fans to arrive well before the 3:30 p.m. EDT kickoff since everyone is subject to search.
Coolers and backpacks won't be allowed, and even the media is involved, with UCLA requiring names and credential numbers of everyone covering the game.
A crowd of more than 75,000 had been expected, but that was before the attacks. Officials believe it might be a little smaller, especially considering the game will be televised nationally by ABC-TV.
"I think it will be emotional, especially during the national anthem," Bruins coach Bob Toledo said. "When we kick it off, I think you'll see some good football.
"I think it's time to move on, go on with your life, never forgetting what happened. There will be a little fear, but you have to live with it."
Ohio State's only game under first-year coach Jim Tressel was a 28-14 victory over visiting Akron two weeks ago.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for us to go and see how we've come along," Tressel said. "We're not only going to enjoy the great challenge of playing a good UCLA football team, but we're going to relish the fact that maybe we can do some good along the way. I think that's what it's all about."
UCLA (2-0) will be playing its home opener, having beaten Alabama 20-17 and Kansas 41-17 on the road. The Bruins are favored by a touchdown.
"They're big, they're strong, they're physical," Toledo said of the Buckeyes. "They pound you. We want to find out how physical we really are."
Considering the Buckeyes have a 265-pound tight end in Darnell Sanders, a 255-pound fullback in Jamar Martin, a 230-pound tailback in Jonathan Wells, and four starting offensive linemen listed at 300 pounds or heavier, Toledo should get his wish.
Defensively, the Bruins will be challenged by quarterback Steve Bellisari, a three-year starter who passed for 246 yards against Akron, and a running game led by Wells, who gained 119 yards in the opener.
UCLA's DeShaun Foster ranks fourth in the country in rushing, having gained 149.5 yards per game. But the Ohio State defense, led by tackle Mike Collins, linebackers Joe Cooper and Matt Wilhelm, and safety Mike Doss, figures to present a stiffer challenge than Alabama or Kansas.
Paus, who has completed 18 of 38 passes for 283 yards, believes the Bruins' passing game will have to do a better job.
"I would assume they would try to stack the box, like any team would do against a good running back," he said. "We're going to have to pass the ball, we're going to have to do that effectively."
The teams met two years ago in Columbus, with the Buckeyes winning 42-20. The Bruins played that game without 10 players - many of them starters - who were suspended in connection with the handicapped parking scandal.
Paus made his debut at UCLA, going 8-of-20 for 97 yards. Bellisari came off the bench to pass for 159 yards and two touchdowns in his first extensive action at Ohio State, and has started every Buckeyes game since.
"That was kind of his breakout game," Toledo recalled. "The thing about him is he can throw the ball and he's very mobile, too."