Sept. 11, 2000
The UCLA Bruins, 2-0 on the season, welcome No. 3-ranked Michigan (2-0) to the Rose Bowl on Saturday, Sept. 16. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. UCLA is ranked 14th nationally by Associated Press and 17th by USA Today/ESPN, its highest ranking since prior to last year's Ohio State game, when it was ranked 13th by AP.
The game will be televised to over half of the nation by ABC-TV. Keith Jackson and Tim Brant will call the action with Todd Harris on the sidelines.
XTRA Sports 1150 and the Bruin Radio Network will broadcast the game throughout Southern California and parts of three other states with Chris Roberts and Billy Ray Smith in the booth and Matt Stevens on the sidelines.
The Bruins defeated Fresno State last week in the Rose Bowl, 24-21. Michigan won its second home game of the season last week over Rice, 38-7.
Michigan Game Information
Fans should plan on arriving early and picnicking at the Rose Bowl. UCLA is again sponsoring the Food Zone in Area H, just south of the bowl. Participating restaurants include Subway, Gourmet Sausage Company, In and Out Burger, American Pretzel, El Pollo Loco, Kettle Corn Caf?, Couple of Nuts, Java Shack, Tony's Pizza, Krispy Kreme Donuts and Cartworks. Cold beverages will be provided by Coca Cola and Evian.
In an effort to promote student attendance, UCLA is offering free busing to the Rose Bowl for students with tickets to the games. Students must pick up a bus ticket by the close of business on Thursday. Busses will leave from the dormitory area and from Parking Lot 32.
Parking is again available on the Brookside Golf Course for $5. For those who want to avoid the traffic in the Arroyo Seco, parking will again be available at the Ralph Parsons Engineering Building on Fair Oaks and Walnut in Pasadena. Parking at the Parsons Lot is $5 and the shuttle bus to and from the Rose Bowl is free. Shuttle service begins four hours prior to kickoff.
UCLA, leading 10-7 entering the fourth quarter, built a 24-7 lead with 8:49 lead thanks to two DeShaun Foster touchdowns and then held off a Fresno State rally to win its second straight game, 24-21. UCLA is now 2-0 for the second time in three years (1998 and 2000).
For the second straight week, the Bruins trailed early thanks to a special teams mistake. Nate Fiske's fumble of a high snap gave the Bulldogs the ball on the six-yard line and they quickly took a 7-0 lead. UCLA tied the game on its next possession, Ryan McCann's 20-yard touchdown pass to Freddie Mitchell capping a 15-play, 83-yard drive. Chris Griffith's 45-yard field goal with 1:10 remaing in the half gave the Bruins a 10-7 lead.
UCLA appeared to break the game open early in the fourth quarter. Foster's one-yard touchdown on fourth down gave the Bruins a 17-7 lead and on the Bruins' next possession, Foster swept right, broke a couple of tackles, cut left and raced 49 yards to the end zone to make the score 24-7.
At that point, Fresno State's offense had gained just 124 yards on 45 plays. On their next two possessions, the Bulldogs drove 77 and 62 yards for scores to close to within three points, 24-21. On their final possession, the Bulldogs fumbled the center snap and linebacker Dave Ball recovered the football to seal the victory.
On the afternoon, UCLA gained 270 yards, 135 rushing and 135 passing, while Fresno State accounted for 275, 249 in the air but just 26 on the ground. UCLA controlled the ball, holding it for 38:00 minutes and running 81 plays while the Bulldogs had the ball for just 22:00 and ran 56 plays.
For the Bruins, Foster had another outstanding day, rushing for 140 yards and two touchdowns on 29 attempts. Flanker Freddie Mitchell led the receivers with six catches for 58 yards and one touchdown and Jon Dubravac, making his first career start in place of injured Brian Poli-Dixon, made four receptions. Quarterback Ryan McCann played the first half and completed 12 of 23 passes for 106 yards and one touchdown. Scott McEwan played the entire second half and led the Bruins to two touchdowns while completing five of 10 passes for 29 yards in the most extensive duty of his career.
Defensively, middle linebacker Robert Thomas led the Bruins with six tackles. Safety Marques Anderson made five tackles, including one for loss. Cornerback Jason Bell also made five tackles and a trio of Bruins -- safety Jason Zdenek and tackles Anthony Fletcher and Rodney Leisle -- were credited with four stops each.
Fresno State's total of 26 net yards rushing was the lowest by a Bruin opponent since Nov. 1, 1997, when Stanford was held to a school-record minus-34 yards on 24 carries. The Bulldogs' longest run of the afternoon was seven yards. In the second quarter, Fresno State had a first-and goal at the Bruin seven-yard line but on fourth down at the two, the defense held FSU for no gain and a possession change.
Bruin Head Coach Bob Toledo
The Bruin head coach owns a record of 31-17 (21-11 in Pac-10 play) and a winning percentage of .646 during his four-plus years on the job. The 20-game winning streak snapped versus Miami on Dec. 5, 1998 was the longest in school history, twice as long as the previous streak (10, set in 1946 and tied in 1954-55).
Toledo is only the second coach in school history to win 10 regular-season games (Bert LaBrucherie in 1946) and only the second coach in school history to win 10 games in back-to-back seasons (Terry Donahue in 1987-88).
Under Toledo, UCLA is 25-5 when it scores at least 30 points and 13-1 when it scores at least 40. It is 6-12 when it scores 29 or fewer points. The Bruins are 26-3 when leading entering the fourth quarter, 2-0 when tied entering the final quarter and have won three times when trailing after three periods. UCLA is 22-3 when leading at the half and has won five times after trailing at the half and four when tied at the half. The Bruins are 3-0 in overtime contests.
Under Toledo, UCLA is 9-7 versus ranked teams. It has won two straight (last year versus Washington and this year against Alabama) and is 8-2 in the last 10 games against Top 25 teams.
Senior defensive end Kenyon Coleman is on the `Watch List' for the Bronco Nagurski Award, presented to the top defensive player in the nation. Junior wide receivers Freddie Mitchell and Brian Poli-Dixon are both on the pre-season list for the Biletnikoff Award, presented to the nation's top wide receiver. Linebackers Ryan Nece and Robert Thomas were named to the watch list for the Butkus Award which is given annually to the top collegiate linebacker in the nation.
Did You Know?
The Bruins defeated No. 3 Alabama to open the 2000 season. The last time they defeated a team ranked as high was Nov. 10, 1990, when they beat Washington, 25-22 in Seattle. The last time UCLA defeated a team ranked as high in the Rose Bowl was Sept. 10, 1988 when it beat Nebraska, 41-28.
UCLA's 2000 schedule was ranked as the second toughest in the nation by Sports Illustrated. According to the SI rankings, the Bruins who were ranked #31, will face 10 of the top 50 ranked teams in the country (#3 Alabama, #4 Michigan, #13 Washington, #18 USC, #27 Oregon, #35 Oregon State, #45 Arizona, #46 Fresno State, #48 Stanford, #50 Arizona State).
Nine Bruins made their varsity debut in this year's opener against Alabama -- six redshirt freshmen (starter Rodney Leisle and reserves Dave Ball, Mat Ball, Kevin Brant, Shane Lehmann and Dennis Link) and three true freshmen (Brandon Chillar, Tab Perry and Keith Short). Three more redshirt freshmen -- Akil Harris, Jerry Owens and Ryan Wikert -- made their varsity debut in week two against Fresno State.
UCLA's winning percentage of .703 is the highest in the Pac-10 over the last three-plus years. UCLA has won 26 games in those three-plus seasons and only Arizona (26-13, .667) has won as many games. UCLA's 17 conference wins in that span are more than any other school in the Pac-10.
The Bruins have rebounded from their last three losing campaigns by advancing to a bowl game in the following season -- 1990 5-6 (9-3 and Hancock Bowl in 1991), 1994 5-6 (7-5 and Aloha Bowl in 1995), 1996 5-6 (10-2 and Cotton Bowl in 1997).
UCLA has been ranked second nationally in turnover margin in two of the last three years -- +1.5 in 1998 and +1.82 in 1997. In 2000, the margin is +1.5 after two games.
UCLA is 9-3 in its last 12 bowl games. The nine wins in the last 17 years rank first in the Pac-10. Only five schools in the nation have won more bowl games during that span.
In 1999, 45 different position players -- 26 on defense and 19 on offense -- made at least one start. Twenty-seven players, including both kickers, made their first career starts last season. Only four players (excluding kickers) started every game in 1999 -- offensive lineman Brian Polak, defensive linemen Kenyon Coleman and Rusty Williams and safety Joey Strycula.
Seven former Bruin players and three former coaches have been elected to the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame, including 2000 inductee Terry Donahue. Three players -- Billy Kilmer, Jerry Robinson, Kenny Easley -- and three coaches -- Donahue, Tommy Prothro and Red Sanders -- have been inducted in the last 11 years.
The Bruins have four sets of brothers on this year's team -- twins Dave and Mat Ball, twins Josh and Micah Webb, Ken and Matt Kocher and Jason and Eric Zdenek. In addition Michael Coleman, brother of Kenyon, and Tim Vanis, brother of Mike, are managers on the team.
Starting cornerback Ricky Manning, Jr. played this past summer for the Minnesota Twins Rookie League team in Ft. Myers, FL. Manning, an outfielder, hit .275 in 26 games with a .427 on base percentage and six stolen bases.
During the past 18 years, UCLA has been ranked in the final Associated Press Top 20 on 11 occasions. No other school in the Pac-10 has been ranked more than eight times and only seven schools in the nation have been ranked more than the Bruins in that span.
UCLA has produced two Outland Trophy winners (Jonathan Ogden - 1995 and Kris Farris - 1998) and three first-team All-America tackles (Ogden, Chad Overhauser in 1997 and Farris) in the last five years.
Michigan owns an 8-2 lead in a series which began in 1956. The last Bruin win in the series came in the 1983 Rose Bowl game (24-14).
Michigan has won the last three meetings, including a 38-9 decision in the most recent game played at Ann Arbor in 1996. UCLA could manage only one touchdown, a fourth-quarter return of an interception by linebacker Phillip Ward in the loss in Michigan Stadium before over 106,000 fans. The UCLA offense was able to produce just seven first downs for the game while UM gained over 500 yards in total offense. Quarterback Cade McNown completed only eight passes on the afternoon for 39 yards. Michigan running back Chris Howard found the UCLA endzone four times in leading the sixth-ranked Wolverines to the win.
The teams have only played twice during the regular season in Los Angeles, with Michigan winning contests in 1989 (24-23) and 1972 (26-9).
Noting The Wolverines
Michigan is coached by Lloyd Carr who is in his sixth season at the helm. Carr served 15 seasons as an assistant coach under Bo Schembechler and Gary Moeller prior to being elevated to head coach. He guided the Wolverines to the 1997 national championship as voted by Associated Press. Carr has coached in 20 consecutive bowl games.
Last season, UM went 10-2 and defeated Alabama 35-34 in overtime in the Orange Bowl. Michigan has made 17 trips to Pasadena, CA to play in the Rose Bowl game, including the first one in 1902.
No. 3 Michigan enters Saturday's game with a record of 2-0, having defeated Rice last Saturday, 38-7. Tailback Anthony Thomas ranks 19th nationally in rushing with 119.5 yards per game. Quarterback John Navarre leads the nation in passing efficiency (238.8) and has completed 25 of 34 passes for 394 yards with no interceptions and seven touchdowns.
Offensively, Michigan ranks seventh in rushing (259.5), 10th in total offense (475.0) and 16th in scoring (40.0). Defensively, Michigan is eighth in scoring defense (6.5 points) and 31st in total defense (271.0).
Bruins In The 2000 Polls
AP: Pre-season, NR, Aug. 28, NR, Sept. 3, No. 16, Sept. 10, No. 14. USA Today/ESPN: Pre-season, NR, Aug. 28, NR, Sept. 3, No. 17, Sept. 10 No. 17.
Defensive End Kenyon Coleman
Senior defensive left end Kenyon Coleman is one of the pre-season candidates for the Bronco Nagurski Defensive Player of the Year Award. One of the leaders of the defensive line, he enjoyed a successful 1999 season and was one of just four Bruins to start all 11 games.
In the opener against Alabama, he helped hold the Crimson Tide to just 265 yards total offense. On the afternoon, he made three tackles, including 0.5 for loss. Last week, he was credited with two stops.
In the 1999 finale against USC, he made a career-high nine tackles, including one for loss. On Oct. 2 at Arizona State, Coleman made four tackles, including his third sack of the year and another tackle for loss. He also recovered a fumble. At Stanford, he had his most active game of the season with seven tackles, including one sack and a second stop behind the line. For the year, Coleman made 50 tackles to rank sixth on the squad and first among linemen. He tied for second on the team with 3.5 sacks and ranked second with nine tackles for loss. He also broke up eight passes at the line.
Linebacker Robert Thomas
Robert has been selected to the 2000 pre-season Watch List for the Butkus Award which honors the nation's top linebacker. A true junior, the middle linebacker accounted for four tackles in the victory over Alabama, including one for loss, and also forced two fumbles.
Last week against Fresno State, Thomas led the defense, which held the Bulldogs to 26 yards on the ground, with six stops. He now leads the team with 10 tackles and two fumbles forced.
Thomas moved into the starting lineup in 1999. He made a team-high 14 tackles against Fresno State, the most by a Bruin since Brian Willmer made 15 versus Arizona on Nov. 16, 1996. At Stanford, he added nine tackles, including one for loss. On Oct. 2 at Arizona State, Thomas again tied for the team lead with nine stops, including 1.5 sacks and a third behind the line of scrimmage. On Oct. 16 against California, he was credited with 10 tackles. Thomas led the team with 11 tackles versus Washington and also forced a fumble.
In 1999, Thomas ranked second on the squad with his 68 tackles despite missing three games (the season's first two and the Arizona contest). He also had four tackles for loss, including 1.5 sacks.
Linebacker Ryan Nece
Ryan has been selected to the 2000 pre-season Watch List for the Butkus Award which honors the nation's top linebacker. A 1998 first-team Freshman All-American, the junior outside linebacker tied for the team lead with six tackles in the opener against Alabama despite playing with a sprained shoulder. Last week against Fresno State, he made two stops and is tied for fourth on the team with eight tackles.
In his 1999 debut against Fresno State, Nece made 10 tackles and broke up one pass. On Oct. 2 at Arizona State, he made the first interception of his career, leading to UCLA's third-quarter field goal.
He played very well in the final four games of 1999, averaging 9.8 tackles (39 total) -- 10 stops and a sack at Oregon State, 10 tackles against Arizona, nine tackles and a fumble recovery vs. Washington, against USC, he led the Bruins with 10 tackles, including two for loss (one sack). In his nine games, he made 65 tackles and ranked third on the squad.
Linebacker Tony White
The true senior was very active in the season-opening victory over Alabama. He was credited with four tackles, including a five-yard sack and another half-tackle for loss. He added one tackle in the victory over Fresno State.
In 1999, White made 53 stops in his nine games, including six for losses (fourth on the squad). His 53 tackles were fourth on the team and he averaged 5.9 tackles per contest. He made a game-high 12 tackles (11 primaries), including two for losses, against Arizona. Against USC, he made seven tackles, including five primaries. Against Fresno State, he made seven tackles and recovered a fumble to set up UCLA's go-ahead touchdown late in the third quarter.
The true sophomore cornerback has quickly developed a reputation for making big plays. In the season-opening victory against Alabama, Manning tied for the team lead with six tackles, returned an interception 37 yards and helped hold Freddie Milons to just 49 yards on five receptions. In the win over Fresno State, he made two stops, including one sack, and broke up two passes. He also returned three punts for 24 yards.
He has now started 11 consecutive games since moving into the lineup last year against Fresno State. He is tied for fourth on the squad with eight tackles, first with his interception against Alabama and tied for first with four pass break ups.
In 1999, Manning ranked fourth (tied) on the squad with 53 tackles and led the Bruins with 10 stops behind the line in 1999. He made his first career start against Fresno State and returned an interception 83 yards to set up a field goal. At Stanford, he had six stops, including one for loss. At Oregon State, he made three tackles and had his second interception of the season. Against Washington, Manning made seven solo tackles, including two for losses (one sack), and forced a fumble. Against Ohio State, Manning made a career-high eight tackles, including two for losses.
The opener against Alabama marked the return of two players who had been instrumental in UCLA's 20-game winning streak -- junior Marques Anderson and senior cornerback Jason Bell. Anderson missed last season due to suspension while Bell was sidelined after the year's second game due to heel problems. Their experience and leadership in what is otherwise a young secondary proved to be invaluable.
Anderson, starting at strong safety after playing cornerback in 1997 and 1998, was credited with four tackles, including one sack, and also broke up two passes. In the win over Fresno State, he added five tackles, one shy of the team lead, including one for loss and broke up two passes. He is tied for second on the squad with nine tackles and tied for first with pass break ups (four) and tackles for loss (two).
Bell, a starter in 1998, made two tackles and did an outstanding of covering the Alabama wide outs, helping hold Freddie Milons to five receptions for just 49 yards. Against Fresno State, he made five tackles and broke up one pass.
Senior free safety Jason Zdenek, who played just 17 defensive snaps a year ago against Boise State, made the first start of his career against Alabama a successful one. He accounted for five tackles, one shy of the team lead, recovered one fumble and forced another. Against Fresno State, he was credited with four stops and is tied for second on the squad with nine tackles.
Tackles Anthony Fletcher, a true junior, and Rodney Leisle, a redshirt freshman, have played well during the early portion of the season. Against Fresno State, both were credited with four tackles, including one for loss.
True sophomore outside linebacker Marcus Reese, recovered a fumble and made two tackles against Alabama. He added one stop against Fresno State. He is the team's No. 4 linebacker and plays extensively in UCLA's dime package. Last year, he came off the bench to lead the Bruins with nine tackles against Ohio State, including three behind the line. On Oct. 9 against Oregon, he tied for the team lead with six tackles and made the first interception of his career to set up a touchdown. Overall in 1999, he made 37 tackles, including four for losses.
The OffenseDeshaun Foster
True junior tailback DeShaun Foster enjoyed one of the greatest games in UCLA history during the 35-24 victory over Alabama, serving notice that he is fully recovered from last year's injuries and ready to contend for All-America honors. He followed that with another fine effort against Fresno State.
In the win over the Bulldogs, the 1998 first-team Freshman All-American carried the ball 29 times for 140 net yards and two touchdowns. For the second straight week, he converted a fourth-down play into a touchdown and his 49-yard tackle-breaking, change of direction TD run with 8:49 remaining was his longest since his 65-yard score in the 1998 USC game.
Foster has now gained over 100 yards on five occasions and has done it in back-to-back games for the first time in his career. The last Bruin to break 100 yards in consecutive games was Skip Hicks in 1997.
Foster has now rushed for 327 yards on 71 carries after gaining just 375 yards on 111 attempts a year ago when hampered by an ankle sprain. In his career, Foster has scored 23 touchdowns and one two-point conversion and his 140 points ranks 18th (tied with Freeman NcNeil) on that list. He also ranks 24th on the career rushing list with 1,375 yards.
Foster ranks third (tied) in the nation and first in the Pac-10 in scoring (15.0 points), eighth nationally and second in the Pac-10 in rushing (163.5) and ninth nationally and second in the Pac-10 in all-purpose yards (187.5). He also ranks ninth in the Pac-10 in total offense (163.5).
Against the Crimson Tide, he demonstrated his power and strength, punishing would-be tacklers and gaining additional yards after the initial contact while carrying the football 42 times to tie the school record set by Karim Abdul-Jabbar in 1995. He was at his best in the fourth quarter as UCLA was protecting its 35-24 lead, carrying the ball on 12 of the team's 16 offensive plays (excluding a final kneel by the quarterback) for 59 yards and three key first downs to keep the clock moving.
On the afternoon, Foster rushed for a career-high 187 yards and three touchdowns (his previous high was 118 yards at Arizona in 1998). His total was the highest since the 1997 Bruin opener when Skip Hicks rushed for 190 at Washington State and ranks 17th (tied) on UCLA's single-game list.
Foster carried the ball 21 times for 93 yards in the first half and 21 times for 94 yards in the second half despite not having a single run of more than 20 yards. He had five double-digit runs and 35 of his 42 carries resulted in positive yardage.
On UCLA's 19-play, 9:06-minute drive, Foster converted on fourth down twice, including the one-yard touchdown to tie the game. On the afternoon, his runs produced 12 first downs.
A year ago, he led the Bruins in rushing five times. However, he carried just five times in the month of October due to a sprained right ankle incurred at Stanford. On the year, he finished as the team's second-leading rusher (375 yards) and led the squad with six touchdowns. Foster played in nine games and started five times.
In 1998, Foster wrote his name into Bruin lore by scoring all four touchdowns (three rushing and one receiving) in UCLA's 34-17 victory over USC. He became the first true freshman in school history to score four TDs in one game and tied the school record.
Foster ranked second on the team with 12 touchdowns (10 rushing and two passes), a school record for true freshmen.
The redshirt sophomore quarterback did an outstanding job against No. 3 Alabama, coming off the bench following the injury to Cory Paus to twice rally the Bruins from behind for the victory.
On his first series, he put together a 9:08, 19-play drive that resulted in a game-tying touchdown. The Bruins moved 80 yards for touchdowns on each of its next two possessions under his direction.
With just under nine minutes remaining in the third quarter, Alabama took a 24-21 lead when McCann's pass was picked off at the nine-yard line and returned 91 yards for a score. Undeterred, McCann came right back and on the third play of the ensuing series, he hit Freddie Mitchell with a 46-yard touchdown strike, the first TD throw of his career, to give the Bruins the lead for good.
On the afternoon, McCann completed 14 of 24 passes for 194 yards and one touchdown.
Last week versus Fresno State, he started and played only the first half, completing 12 of 23 passes for 106 yards and one touchdown (20 yards to Freddie Mitchell). However, UCLA led just 10-7 at the half and the coaching staff decided to use Scott McEwan in the second half.
On the year, he ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in passing efficiency (118.7), having completed 26 of 47 passes for 300 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also ranks 10th in total offense (144.5).
In 1999, he entered the season fourth on the depth chart and concluded the year as UCLA's third different starter at quarterback. He made his debut against Oregon State, playing the final three series of the game. The following week against Arizona, he played UCLA's final series and completed three of six passes for 35 yards. Following that game, he was promoted from No. 3 (he had moved up to No. 3 when Drew Bennett was moved to receiver) to No. 2.
In UCLA's Nov. 13 victory over Washington, McCann became the Bruins' No. 1 quarterback when Paus suffered a fractured left collarbone on the second play of the second quarter. Despite missing on his first six passes, McCann finished the game with 12 completions on 23 attempts for 146 yards. His 43-yard strike to Freddie Mitchell in the fourth quarter was the longest completion of his career. In the second half alone, he completed 11 of 16 passes for 135 yards, including five for nine on third down.
In the 1999 season finale against USC, despite constant pressure from the Trojans, he completed 17 of 29 passes for 204 yards -- all career highs -- and scored UCLA's lone touchdown on a six-yard run.
The junior played the entire second half against Fresno State, the most extensive stint of his career. McEwan completed five of 10 passes for 29 yards, including three of four for 20 yards on a 59-yard, 12-play scoring drive to give the Bruins a 17-7 lead. He set career highs for attempts, completions and yardage.
In 1999, he appeared in six games and completed two of 15 passes for 23 yards. In 1998, he appeared in one game, playing three snaps without attempting a pass.
Both of UCLA's starting wide receivers are on the pre-season `Watch List' for the Biletnikoff Award, presented to the nation's top wide receiver.
Junior Freddie Mitchell once against flashed his explosive big-play capability against the Crimson Tide. In the first quarter, he took a pitch from tailback DeShaun Foster and hit split end Brian Poli-Dixon with a perfect strike in the back of the end zone for a 31-yard touchdown pass to give the Bruins a 14-7 lead. In the third quarter, he beat his man, hauled in a strike from Ryan McCann and dragged a defender into the end zone for a 46-yard touchdown to give UCLA the lead for good, 28-24. It was his first score since visiting the end zone in the 1998 opener against Texas.
On the afternoon, Mitchell led the team with four receptions for 91 yards. All four of his receptions produced first downs, including one touchdown.
Last week against Fresno State, he led the Bruins with six receptions for 58 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown catch in the first half. Four of his six receptions resulted in first downs, including his TD.
On the year, he leads the squad with 10 catches, 149 yards and two touchdowns. He has eight first downs with his 10 receptions. He is fifth in the Pac-10 in receiving yards per game (74.5) and tied for fifth in receptions (5.0) and scoring (6.0).
During his career, Mitchell has completed four of five passes for 144 yards and three touchdowns -- the 31-yard pass to Poli-Dixon this season, 61 yards to Durell Price in the 1999 Rose Bowl and 34 yards to Poli-Dixon in the 1998 opener. He has made 46 receptions for 732 yards.
In 1999, he made 38 receptions for 533 yards (14.0 average) to lead the team. Twenty-three of his 38 receptions resulted in a Bruin first down. Mitchell was at his best in the 35-21 victory over Fresno State. He made nine catches for 149 yards to set career highs in both categories. His nine catches are tied for seventh on UCLA's single-game list.
In his debut in 1998 against Texas, Mitchell made four receptions for 108 yards (79-yard TD), threw a 34-yard touchdown pass, gained 30 yards on a reverse and returned three kickoffs for 78 yards. The next week, he suffered a fractured right femur and missed the rest of the regular season. He returned to action in the 1999 Rose Bowl and tossed a 61-yard touchdown to fullback Durell Price off a fake reverse.
Redshirt junior Brian Poli-Dixon, an All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection in 1998, made one reception against Alabama -- a 31-yard catch at the back of the end zone while keeping his feet inbounds. He suffered cramps in both hamstrings on a long pass in the third quarter and did not return. He sat out last week's game versus Fresno State with tightness in his hamstrings.
Poli-Dixon has now made 63 receptions (993 yards) as a Bruin and has scored with 14 of them (22.2%). He ranks 20th on the all-time reception list (19th is Mike Nguyen with 66, 18th is Derek Tennell with 67, 17th is Ernie Stockert with 69). His yardage total of 993 ranks 19th on the career list (18th is Paco Craig with 1,005, 17th is Gwen Cooper with 1,032, 16th is Norm Andersen with 1,051, 15th is Paul Bergmann with 1,076, 14th is Scott Miller with 1,137)
In 1998, he was the team's second-leading receiver with 44 catches for 712 yards and 10 touchdowns, a mark which tied for the conference lead. His 1999 season ended in the third game against Fresno State when he suffered a fractured wrist. In 1998, Poli-Dixon started the final 10 games of the season. Only J.J. Stokes ever gained more yards as a Bruin sophomore, and only two other players ever caught more balls in a sophomore season.
Junior Jon Dubravac made his first career start against Fresno State and made four receptions, matching his total for the entire 1999 season. Redshirt freshman Jerry Owens and true freshman Tab Perry both made the first reception of their careers against the Bulldogs.
A year ago, this unit had three new starters, no seniors and was decimated by injury as the season progressed.
This year, all five starters return to the unit, which is led by a pair of seniors -- Oscar Cabrera (left) and Brian Polak (right) at guard. Both are three-year starters, although this is Polak's first at guard after playing tackle in 1998 and 1999.
Fourth-year junior Troy Danoff started the first nine games of 1999 at center before suffering a knee injury. True sophomore Bryce Bohlander, who started the final two games at left tackle, is back at that spot again in 2000. Sophomore Mike Saffer has moved to right tackle after starting seven times at right guard in 1999. Sophomore guard Blake Worley, who started 10 games last season at tackle, will compete for playing time at guard and tackle this year.
This unit enjoyed a great afternoon against Alabama. It dominated the line of scrimmage and allowed the Bruins to control the football for 37:19 and run 84 offensive plays. It opened holes for DeShaun Foster, who ran for 187 yards, UCLA's highest total in three years.
Most importantly, this unit was just as strong in the fourth quarter as it was in the first quarter. In the final quarter, the Bruins gained possession with 7:19 remaining and holding an 11-point lead. They took 5:20 off the clock, running 11 plays before missing a field goal with 1:49 remaining. UCLA gained four first downs on that drive thanks to the efforts of the line. Cabrera, Saffer, Danoff and Bohlander played every snap while Polak missed just six plays. Redshirt freshman Shane Lehmann spelled him and recovered a fumble.
Last week against the Bulldogs, the line played a key role in helping UCLA control the football for 38:00 and run 81 offensive plays. It allowed just two sacks.
The tight end position is one of the deepest and most experienced units on the Bruin team. Senior starter Gabe Crecion led the group with 12 catches last season. All three tight ends -- Crecion, junior Bryan Fletcher and sophomore Mike Seidman -- are considered starters and all will see extensive action throughout the year.
In 1999, Crecion finished fifth on the squad with his 12 catches, and his average of 13.7 yards was No. 3 among players with at least six receptions. Fletcher was seventh on the team with his nine receptions.
A year ago, the dependable senior gained 216 yards on 63 attempts and scored one touchdown. At Oregon State, he led the Bruins with 42 yards on seven carries and also made two receptions for 41 yards. Against Oregon, he ran for 36 yards on eight tries. He also made three receptions.
On Sept. 19 of 1998, Lewis ran into the Houston end zone four times to tie the school record for rushing touchdowns and total TDs in a game. His career high is 113 yards at Texas in 1998. He finished the 1998 season as the team's second-leading rusher with 553 yards. He led the team in rushing five times and with 13 touchdowns, a TD total exceeded only seven times in school history.
In this year's season opener against Alabama, he carried the ball five times for 14 net yards, including runs of five and four yards on UCLA's second-quarter scoring drive. Last week against Fresno State, he gained 29 yards on six carries, including an 11-yard run to the seven-yard line early in the fourth quarter to set up the first of DeShaun Foster's two touchdowns.
(2000 starts/career starts) -- Offense -- WR: Brian Poli-Dixon (1/11) Freddie Mitchell (2/8), Jon Dubravac (1/1), Drew Bennett (1/4, three at QB), OL: Brian Polak (2/25), Troy Danoff (2/11), Blake Worley (0/10), Mike Saffer (2/9), Oscar Cabrera (2/18), Bryce Bohlander (2/4), TE: Gabe Crecion (2/9), Bryan Fletcher (0/3), QB: Cory Paus (1/8), Ryan McCann (1/2), RB: DeShaun Foster (2/7), Jermaine Lewis (0/9), Matt Stanley (1/2), Ed Iremia-Stansbury (0/2 at LB), PK: Chris Griffith (2/12).
Defense -- DL: Kenyon Coleman (2/22), Ken Kocher (0/10), Rusty Williams (2/13), Anthony Fletcher (2/6), Rodney Leisle (2/2), Stephen Sua (0/1), LB: Tony White (2/22), Ryan Nece (2/20), Robert Thomas (2/10), Asi Faoa (0/1), DB: Jason Bell (2/21), Marques Anderson (2/13), Jason Stephens (0/8), Joe Hunter (0/4), Ricky Manning Jr. (2/11), Jason Zdenek (2/2), P: Nate Fikse (2/13).
In the opener against Alabama, only seven seniors took the first snap against Alabama. On offense, that included guards Brian Polak and Oscar Cabrera and tight end Gabe Crecion. On defense, that included end Kenyon Coleman, outside linebacker Tony White, cornerback Jason Bell and safety Jason Zdenek. It was the first start of Zdenek's career.
In addition, the Bruins started nine juniors, five sophomores and one redshirt freshman.
Against Fresno State, the Bruins started three wide receivers and no fullback, going with eight seniors, eight juniors, five sophomores and one redshirt freshman.
Just For Kicks
UCLA's kickers enjoyed success in their first year of action. Redshirt sophomore place kicker Chris Griffith made the biggest kick of his career against Washington, hitting a 22-yarder in overtime to give the Bruins a 23-20 victory. Griffith made his first five field goal attempts of the season before missing (partial block) at Stanford. On the year, Griffith made 13 of 18 field goals and all 25 of his PATs. He was the team's leading scorer with 64 points.
True sophomore punter Nate Fikse had his best day in the season finale against USC. He averaged 49.0 yards on six kicks, including a long punt of 58 yards, and UCLA's net average was 43.7 (32 yards in returns). At Oregon State, he averaged 46.9 yards on eight punts, including a career-best 76-yard kick. On the year, Fikse averaged 42.0 yards per boot to rank No. 2 in the Pac-10, and forced opponents to start inside the 20-yard line on 11 occasions.
In this year's season opener against Alabama, Griffith made all five of his PATs but missed a 43-yard field goal attempt (wide). He also had a pooch punt of 26 yards from field goal formation in the fourth quarter, pinning the Crimson Tide at its 10-yard line. In the win over Fresno State, he made a 45-yard field goal and converted all three PATs.
Last week against the Bulldogs, Fikse averaged 43.6 yards on eight kicks, including a 68-yarder in the third quarter. However, he mishandled a high snap that resulted in a Bulldog touchdown just 2:55 into the game and one of his punts was returned 75 yards to the Bruin seven-yard line (UCLA's defense prevented a score on the ensuing possession).
In the opener against Alabama, he average 45.0 yards on his five punts with a long of 55. He is now averaging 44.2 yards on 13 kicks this year and ranks first in the Pac-10 and 20th in the nation.
Last week against Fresno State, the Bruins reached the Red Zone four times and scored on three occasions (one rushing touchdown, one passing touchdown and one field goal) for a total of 17 points. In the opener against Alabama, the Bruins entered the Red Zone five times and scored three touchdowns (all rushing) for a total of 21 points. On the year, UCLA has been in the Red Zone nine times and has scored six times (four rushing touchdowns, one passing touchdown and one field goal) for 38 points. The other possessions have resulted in one interception, one missed field goal and one ending on downs.
Fresno State reached the Red Zone on three occasions and scored two passing touchdowns for 14 points. Opponents have now reached the Red Zone five times and have scored on four occasions (two passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown and one field goal) for 24 points. The other possession ended on downs.
In 1999, UCLA reached the Red Zone on 37 occasions and scored 27 times -- 18 touchdowns (13 rushing, five passing) and nine field goals. The other drives ended with four blocked field goal attempts, three interceptions, twice on downs and one interception.
UCLA's opponents entered the Red Zone 45 times and scored 32 times (15 rushing touchdowns, 12 passing touchdowns and five field goals).
In the opener against Alabama, UCLA's defense created three turnovers (two fumbles and one interception) and converted them into seven points. UCLA turned the ball over just once (one interception) and Alabama returned it for a touchdown.
Last week, UCLA's defense accounted for one turnover, a fumble on Fresno State's final possession, and the offense did not make a turnover.
In 1999, UCLA created 28 turnovers (17 interceptions and 11 fumbles) and converted them into 55 points. UCLA turned the ball over 31 times (17 interceptions and 14 fumbles) and opponents converted them into 42 points.
Bruins In The NFL
As of Sept. 1, 28 former Bruins were listed on opening day NFL rosters.
NCAA Graduation Rates
In the 2000 NCAA Graduation Report, which analyzed the freshman class of 1993, 10 of 14 Bruin freshmen earned degrees -- 71.4%. In addition, three other freshmen who entered in the Winter or Spring quarters of 1993-94 also earned their degrees, raising the percentage to 76.5% (13 of 17). Of the 14 players who were seniors on the 1999 squad, 10 have already earned degrees.
NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships
Sixteen Bruin football players have earned NCAA postgraduate scholarships, including five -- Danny Farmer in 1999, Shawn Stuart and Chris Sailer in 1998, George Kase in 1995 and Carlton Gray 1992 -- in the last eight seasons.
The 2000 season is UCLA's fourth on XTRA 1150 Sports. The Los Angeles all-sports station broadcasts the Bruins' games, including a two-hour pre-game show and a post-game show.
Chris Roberts, a four-time Golden Mike Award winner, is in his ninth season as the voice of the Bruins. The on-air team also includes former Arkansas All-American and San Diego Charger standout Billy Ray Smith as analyst and former Bruin quarterback Matt Stevens as sideline reporter and pre-game host. Dave Smith handles the pre- and post-game shows.
Stations on the Bruin network included: KNZR 1560AM (Bakersfield,CA), KMET 1490AM (Banning, CA), KCBL 1340AM (Fresno, CA), KJAA 1240AM (Globe, AZ), KGU 760AM (Honolulu, HI), KAVL 610AM (Lancaster/Palmdale, CA), KBAD/KENO 920/1460AM (Las Vegas, NV), KAOI 1110AM (Maui, HI), KIIS 1220AM (Santa Clarita, CA), KBET 850AM (Thousand Oaks/Camarillo, CA), KVEN 1450AM (Ventura/Oxnard, CA), KVBL 1400AM (Visalia, CA).A station in San Diego, CA will also be on the network.
In addition, XTRA 1150 provides ancillary programming during the week, including Bob Toledo interviews (Tuesdays at 1:15 p.m. and on Thursdays prior to Dodger games).
UCLA games are also available via the internet at www.uclabruins.com and www.xtra1150.com or by dailing 1-800-846-4700 (ext. 5929) to listen to the broadcast on the telephone.
Ten of UCLA's 11 games in 1999 were telecast live (five on ABC, one on Fox Sports Net, one on Fox's Pac-10 syndicated package and three on Fox Sports Net West 2). 79 of UCLA's last 84 games have appeared on live television.
Each of UCLA's first five games has already been selected for live television -- two on ABC (Alabama and Michigan), two on Fox Sports Net (Oregon and Arizona State) and two on Fox Sports Net West 2.
This Saturday, ABC will televise the contest to more than half of the country with Keith Jackson and Tim Brant calling the action and Todd Harris on the sidelines.
At Home In The Rose Bowl
This is the 19th season for the Bruins to call the Rose Bowl home. UCLA has posted a 76-32-2 mark in games played in the Bowl since the initial 1982 season.
The weekly Bob Toledo media conferences are held every Monday of a game week. The conferences begin at 1:30 p.m. and are held in the Chancellors Room at the northeast corner of Pauley Pavilion. The opposing coach is usually interviewed on speaker phone at either 1:15 p.m. or 2:30 p.m., depending upon his schedule.
UCLA On The Web
UCLA releases and results can be found on the school's official website -- www.uclabruins.com.
UCLA On Infoconnection
UCLA releases and results for all sports may be acquired by using the Pac-10's InfoConnection system. If you have a PIN number, call 770/558-6000 from the handset of a fax machine. If you do not have a PIN number, please call 770/399-0096 to acquire one. The Pac-10 code number is 72210. UCLA's football codes are: release: 3101, latest game book: 3105.
The Pac-10 is having a Football Coaches Teleconference every other week beginning Tuesday, Sept. 12 and continuing through Nov. 7. The call begins at 9:30 a.m. Bob Toledo is scheduled for a 10-minute segment at 10:55 a.m. Please call the Pac-10 Office or UCLA Sports Information for the telephone number.
PAC-10 Satellite Feed
The Pac-10 provides a weekly satellite feed containing interviews with coaches and players regarding upcoming games and highlight footage. The one-half hour feed airs every Wednesday at Noon PT (3:00 p.m. ET) starting Sept. 6 and running through Nov. 22. Coordinates for the feed are Telstar 5, Transponder 16.
Pasadena Parking Shuttle
UCLA is operating a free shuttle service from the Parsons Engineering Building in Pasadena to the Rose Bowl. However, there is a $5 charge for parking at the Parsons lot. Service from the supervised lot, located at Fair Oaks and Walnut, begins four hours prior to kickoff. Return service begins at the start of the third quarter and continues for up to one hour after the game.