Sept. 4, 2000
GAME TWO -- The UCLA Bruins, 1-0 on the season, welcome defending WAC champion Fresno State (0-1) to the Rose Bowl on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. UCLA is ranked 16th nationally by Associated Press and 17th by USA Today/ESPN.
The game will be televised live in southern California by Fox Sports Net West 2.
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 Matt Stevens in the booth and Dave Smith on the sidelines.
The Bruins opened the season last week in the Rose Bowl against third-ranked Alabama and defeated the Crimson Tide, 35-24. Fresno State opened the season at Ohio State (No. 16 last week) and dropped a 43-10 decision.
FRESNO STATE GAME INFORMATION
Fans should plan a picnic 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 increase 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.
The first 10,000 fans entering the Rose Bowl will receive a color life-sized poster of Bruin All-America candidate Kenyon Coleman, complete with growth chart.
LAST WEEK -- UCLA opened the 2000 season with perhaps its biggest win in a decade, defeating No. 3-ranked Alabama, 35-24, at the Rose Bowl. The Bruins, playing without starting quarterback Cory Paus (separated right shoulder on UCLA's first offensive play), twice came from behind and dominated the line of scrimmage on offense and defense.
Head coach Bob Toledo called it the second-greatest win of his Bruin career, topped only by the 1996 double-overtime win over USC. The last time UCLA defeated a team ranked as high was on Nov. 10, 1990, when it beat No. 2 Washington in Seattle, 25-22.
The Bruin defense held Alabama to just 10 points and 265 yards (the Crimson Tide's other points came on a punt return and an interception return) on 60 snaps. The Tide offense crossed midfield just once in the second half. Alabama quarterbacks were able to complete just 11 of 30 passes (36.7%) for 119 yards -- an average of less than four yards per attempt. Wide receiver Freddie Milions accounted for just 53 yards from scrimmage -- 49 yards on five receptions and one run for four yards.
UCLA allowed just two scrimmage plays of more than 15 yards -- a 56-yard reverse and a 27-yard throwback to the tight end. The Bruins forced three turnovers -- a 37-yard interception by cornerback Ricky Manning, Jr. and fumble recoveries by linebacker Marcus Reese and free safety Jason Zdenek. Manning and linebacker Ryan Nece led the Bruins with six tackles each. Zdenek, making his first career start, added five tackles to go with his fumble recovery. Strong safety Marques Anderson and linebackers Robert Thomas and Tony White made four stops apiece.
On offense, the line of senior guards Brian Polak and Oscar Cabrera, sophomore tackles Mike Saffer and Bryce Bohlander and junior center Tory Danoff dominated play, allowing UCLA to run 84 plays from scrimmage and control the ball for 37:19. The Bruins netted 171 yards on the ground against a team that allowed less than 76 per game a year ago and completed 15 of 27 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns. Three of UCLA's five scoring drives measured at least 64 yards and two consumed at least 13 plays.
Tailback DeShaun Foster enjoyed one of the best days ever for a Bruin tailback. He carried the ball 42 times, tying a school record set by Karim Abdul-Jabbar in 1995. He rushed for 187 yards, breaking numerous tackles throughout the afternoon, and scored three touchdowns on runs of one, one and eight yards.
Quarterback Ryan McCann came off the bench to rally the Bruins to victory, completing 14 of 24 passes for 194 yards and his first career touchdown pass.
Flanker Freddie Mitchell was at his big-play best. His 31-yard touchdown pass to Brian Poli-Dixon gave the Bruins their first lead of the afternoon and his 46-yard touchdown reception gave them the lead for good. On the day, he led the team with four receptions for 91 yards.
Alabama took a 7-0 lead just 1:15 into the game on Milons' 71-yard punt return, but the Bruins responded with a 19-play, 9:06 drive to tie the game on the first of Foster's three touchdowns. They converted on fourth down three times during the drive, including the TD. On their next possession, Mitchell and Poli-Dixon hooked up on a 31-yard score to give the Bruins a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
UCLA led 21-17 at halftime, but the Crimson Tide grabbed the momentum and the lead with 8:26 remaining in the third quarter when Reggie Myles returned an interception 91 yards to give his team a 24-21 lead. Three plays later, McCann hit Mitchell with a 46-yard strike to give the Bruins the lead for good, 28-24, and Foster scored just over five minutes later for a 35-24 lead.
BRUIN HEAD COACH BOB TOLEDO -- The Bruin head coach owns a record of 30-17 (21-11 in Pac-10 play) and a winning percentage of .638 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 5-12 when it scores 29 or fewer points. The Bruins are 25-3 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 21-3 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 and is 8-2 in the last 10 games against Top 25 teams.
PRE-SEASON HONORS -- 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.
The win over Alabama marked only the third time in school history that an unranked UCLA team defeated a Top Three team at home. The other games were in 1972, when the Bruins stunned No. 1 and two-time defending national champion Nebraska, 20-17, and in 1962, when they defeated No. 1 Ohio State, 9-7.
The crowd of 76,640 for the Alabama game was UCLA's largest for a home opener at the Rose Bowl. The previous high was 73,070 in 1998 against Texas.
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).
UCLA has won its last three season-openers (1998 vs. Texas, 1999 vs. Boise State and 2000 vs. Alabama) and is 3-2 in season-openers under Bob Toledo.
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).
UCLA's winning percentage of .694 is the highest in the Pac-10 over the last three-plus years. UCLA has won 25 games in those three seasons and only Arizona (26-12, .684) has more wins (one in two more 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 +2.0 after one game.
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.
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 fullback Matt Stanley's dad, Steve, played for the Bruins as a reserve fullback in the 1965-67 seasons and was a member of the 1965 Rose Bowl 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.
NOTING THE BULLDOGS -- The Bulldogs are coming off their best season since 1993, going 8-5 overall and 5-2 in the WAC to share conference championship honors. Head Coach Pat Hill is in his fourth season at the helm and owns a record of 19-18. He joined the Fresno program after serving as the offensive line/tight ends coach of the Baltimore Ravens in 1996.
Fresno senior middle linebacker Tim Skipper is the brother of UCLA running backs coach Kelly Skipper. Skipper has had three consecutive 85-plus tackle seasons and entered the season third on the all-time school tackle chart. Kelly (a running back at Fresno from 1985-88) ranks seventh on the FSU all-time rushing yardage list (2,237).
Last week at Ohio State, the Bulldogs lost at Ohio State, 42-10, allowing the Buckeyes just two offensive touchdowns.
SERIES NOTES -- UCLA owns a 5-0 lead in a series which first started in 1927. The Bruins won last year's meeting by a 35-21 count in the Rose Bowl. Quarterback Drew Bennett, on in relief of first-time starter Cory Paus (rib injury), threw for 176 yards and two second-half touchdowns to Brad Melsby and Brian Poli-Dixon (who was hurt later in the game and lost for the season). The Bruins played without All-America receiver Danny Farmer (ankle), but saw Freddie Mitchell picked up the slack with a nine-catch (seventh on all-time school list), 149-yard night.
Defensively, UCLA allowed the Bulldogs just 313 net yards and benefitted from the return from suspension of several starters, especially at linebacker. Robert Thomas made his first career start and was credited with a team-high 14 tackles, the most by a Bruin since Brian Willmer made 15 versus Arizona in 1996. Ryan Nece added 10 tackles and Tony White recorded seven stops and recovered a fumble to set up UCLA's go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter. All three players had been suspended for the first two contests of the 1999 season.
BRUINS IN THE 2000 POLLS -- AP: Pre-season, NR, Aug. 28, NR, Sept. 3, No. 16. USA Today/ESPN: Pre-season, NR, Aug. 28, NR, Sept. 3, 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 last week's 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.
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 one fumble.
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.
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.
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.
RICKY MANNING JR. -- 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. He has now started 10 consecutive games since moving into the lineup last year against Fresno State.
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 RETURN -- 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. 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.
DEFENSIVE DATA -- 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.
True sophomore outside linebacker Marcus Reese, recovered a fumble and made two tackles against Alabama. 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.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE KEN KOCHER -- The true junior saw limited action against Alabama due to a sprained ankle suffered during the second week of camp. Kocher, who made his first career start in the 1999 Rose Bowl, ranked second among defensive linemen with 43 tackles last season, including five for loss. At Arizona State, he made seven tackles, including one for loss. Against Fresno State, he was credited with six tackles, including one for loss, and broke up one pass.
DESHAUN 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.
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, the 1998 first-team Freshman All-American rushed for a career-high 187 yards and three touchdowns (his previous high was 118 yards at Arizona in 1998). He was one-half yard shy of gaining 50% of his 1999 total in one game. His total was the highest since the 1997 opener when Skip Hicks rushed for 190 at Washington State and ranks 17th (tied) on UCLA's single-game list. He has now rushed for 100+ yards four times in his career (twice in 1998, once in 1999 and once in 2000).
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.
Foster has now scored 21 touchdowns in his career, 19 on the ground and two through the air. He has rushed for 1,235 yards on 279 attempts and has made 36 receptions.
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. He also placed fourth on the squad with 17 receptions. Foster played in nine games and started five times.
He enjoyed his best game of the season at Stanford when he romped for 100 yards on 19 carries and scored two touchdowns. He produced seven runs resulting in first downs in addition to the two TDs. Foster also caught three passes for 33 yards.
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.
Top UCLA True Freshman Rushing Totals
|1-DeShaun Foster, 1998||126||673||5.3||10*||65|
|2-Shawn Wills, 1988||94||622||6.6||5||50|
|3-Skip Hicks, 1993||100||563||5.6||5||43|
|4-Gaston Green, 1984||91||516||5.7||5||72|
CORY PAUS -- The redshirt sophomore quarterback, who had looked sharp throughout Fall camp, suffered a separated right shoulder on UCLA's first offensive play of the season, stayed in for the rest of the series (three plays) and was finished for the afternoon. He is expected to be sidelined three to four weeks.
In 1999, Paus started seven games after beginning the season as the No. 2 signal caller. Coming off the bench in relief of Drew Bennett, Paus completed 12 of 18 passes for 128 yards with one touchdown versus Boise State, a five-yard strike to Gabe Crecion. When he connected with Crecion, he became the first Bruin quarterback to throw a touchdown pass in his first game since Bret Johnson did it as a redshirt freshman in 1989. The following week at Ohio State, he saw action in both halves, completing eight of 20 passes for 97 yards and one interception in relief of Bennett.
He made the first start of his career against Fresno State on Sept. 18 and was playing well when he suffered bruised ribs early in the second quarter. At that time, he had completed nine of 12 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. On Oct. 2, Paus returned to action at Arizona State and completed 15 of 40 passes for 235 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Paus had the best game of his young career against Oregon. He completed 21 of 34 passes for a career-high 332 yards and two touchdowns. His 332 passing yards tied Tommy Maddox (1990 vs. Oregon) for the No. 3 effort among Bruin freshmen. Only Maddox (409 vs. USC and 353 at Michigan) ever threw for more yards as a freshman. His 324 yards total offense ranked No. 4 on that list.
Against Arizona, he threw for 230 yards and one touchdown. Against Washington, his season came to an end when he suffered a fractured left collarbone on UCLA's second offensive play of the second quarter.
2000 Paus Passing
1999 Paus Passing
|Stanford||Did Not Play (Bruised ribs)|
|USC||Did Not Play (Fractured Clavicle)|
|Totals||197||95 (.482) 9||1336||7||85|
RYAN McCANN -- 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.
A year ago, 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.
2000 McCann Passing
1999 McCann Passing
WIDE RECEIVERS -- 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, and both play significant roles in the 35-24 victory over Alabama.
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.
During his career, Mitchell has now 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, although he was available.
Poli-Dixon has now made 63 receptions (993 yards) as a Bruin and has scored with 14 of them (22.2%).
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.
OFFENSIVE LINE -- 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. It protected Ryan McCann, allowing the sophomore to complete 14 of 24 passes for 194 yards.
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.
TIGHT ENDS -- The tight end position is one of the deepest and most experienced units on the Bruin team. Senior starter Gabe Crecion, who led the group with 12 catches last season, made a seven-yard reception versus Alabama. 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.
JERMAINE LEWIS -- 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.
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.
Fikse averaged 45.0 yards on his five punts with a long of 55. However, three of those punts were returned a total of 97 yards, including a 71-yard touchdown, the first allowed by UCLA since Tennessee's Terry Fair returned one 86 yards in 1996.
CAREER STARTS (2000 starts/career starts) --
Offense -- WR: Brian Poli-Dixon (1/11) Freddie Mitchell (1/7), Drew Bennett (0/3 at QB), OL: Brian Polak (1/24), Troy Danoff (1/10), Blake Worley (0/10), Mike Saffer (1/8), Oscar Cabrera (1/17), Bryce Bohlander (1/3), TE: Gabe Crecion (1/8), Bryan Fletcher (0/3), QB: Cory Paus (1/8), Ryan McCann (0/1), RB: DeShaun Foster (1/6), Jermaine Lewis (0/9), Matt Stanley (1/2), Ed Iremia-Stansbury (0/2 at LB), PK: Chris Griffith (1/11).
Defense -- DL: Kenyon Coleman (1/21), Ken Kocher (0/10), Rusty Williams (1/12), Anthony Fletcher (1/5), Rodney Leisle (1/1), Stephen Sua (0/1), LB: Tony White (1/21), Ryan Nece (1/19), Robert Thomas (1/9), Asi Faoa (0/1), DB: Jason Bell (1/20), Marques Anderson (1/12), Jason Stephens (0/8), Joe Hunter (0/4), Ricky Manning Jr. (1/10), Jason Zdenek (1/1), P: Nate Fikse (1/12).
STARTERS -- 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.
RED ZONE -- In the opener against Alabama, the Bruins entered the Red Zone five times and scored three touchdowns (all rushing) and three PATs for a total of 21 points. The other possessions resulted in one interception and one missed field goal. Alabama reached the Red Zone twice and scored both times for a total of 10 points (one rushing touchdown, one field goal and one PAT).
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).
TURNOVERS -- 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.
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.
PAC-10 STANDINGS -- 1997-2000 (Three-plus Years)
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.
RADIO -- 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.
This week Stevens will move into the booth in place of Smith, who has another assignment, and Dave Smith will be on the sidelines.
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.
TELEVISION -- 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). 78 of UCLA's last 83 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, Bill Macdonald and former UCLA and NFL star wide receiver Mike Sherrard will call the action while Heather Cox will be 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 75-32-2 mark in games played in the Bowl since the initial 1982 season.
UCLA ON THE WEB -- UCLA releases and results can be found on the school's official website -- www.uclabruins.com.
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.