Sept. 7, 2009
GAME 2 -- UCLA (1-0) will travel to Knoxville, TN to take on the Tennessee Volunteers (1-0) on Saturday, Sept. 12 in Neyland Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 1:00 p.m Pacific/4:00 Eastern. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN with Brad Nessler and Todd Blackledge calling the action and Erin Andrews on the sidelines. The UCLA /ISP Sports Radio Network (KLAC 570 AM, the Los Angeles flagship station) will broadcast the contest with Chris Roberts, Matt Stevens and Wayne Cook mikeside. That radio feed will also be carried live on Sirius XM Satellite Radio (Channel 121 on Sirius and 103 on XM). Sports USA Radio Network will do a national radio broadcast of the game with announcers Rich Cellini, Gary Barnett and Justin Cazana.
SERIES WITH TENNESSEE -- UCLA trails in the series, which dates back to 1965, with Tennessee by a 5-7-2 margin. The Bruins won last year's meeting in the Rose Bowl, rallying for a 27-24 verdict in overtime. The last time UCLA ventured into Volunteer territory was for a 1996 season-opening encounter won by the then No. 2-ranked host team, 35-20. UT owns a 5-1-2 record in series games played in Tennessee. The lone Bruin win came in the 1978 season by a score of 13-0. UCLA tied the Vols in games played in Tennessee in the 1985 (26-all) and 1974 (17-all) seasons. UCLA owns a 12-12-3 all-time record vs. schools from the SEC.
Tennessee went 5-7 last season and was fifth in the SEC East with a 3-5 mark. The Vols have brought in a new coach, Lane Kiffin, who piloted the NFL's Oakland Raiders in 2007 and 2008.
The Rick Neuheisel era began at UCLA with last season's 27-24 overtime win over Tennessee. After the Bruins opened the scoring on a blocked punt, the Vols tallied the next 14 points. The teams entered the fourth quarter with the Vols in the lead 14-10. UCLA recaptured the advantage on a three-yard Raymond Carter run with 6:51 to play. Tennessee answered back with its own scoring run for a 21-17 lead at the 1:54 mark. Kevin Craft then found Ryan Moya on a three-yard scoring toss with 27 seconds to play. The Vols tied it up on a 47-yard field goal on the last play of regulation. UCLA struck first in the overtime session on a 42-yard Kai Forbath field goal. Tennessee tried to counter with their own field goal, but it was wide left.
The last time the teams met in Knoxville, the Vols scored a 35-20 decision over the Bruins before the largest crowd ever to see a UCLA football team in action (106,297). The Bruins opened the scoring against the then No. 2-ranked Vols on a 50-yard field goal. Peyton Manning went over from one-yard out to put the hosts into the lead. UT then added another touchdown on a Manning pass. UCLA tacked on a score after an interception return, before another one-yard Manning run put Tennessee up 21-10 at the break. The Bruins hit a field goal to make it 21-13 going to the fourth quarter. Then the fourth quarter fireworks began. Tennessee scored on an 86-yard punt return. The Bruins countered on an 88-yard pass play from Cade McNown to Danny Farmer to make it 28-20 with 9:41 to play. Manning then connected on a 53-yard scoring pass to close out the Bruins.
YOUTH AND EXPERIENCE -- 30 players with freshmen or sophomore class standing saw action in the opener against San Diego State. The Bruins played a total of 18 freshmen (eight true freshmen and 10 redshirt) and 12 sophomores (six true sophomores and six redshirt sophomores) in the 2009 season opener.
QB FIRST STARTS -- Eight of the last 11 quarterbacks to start a game for the Bruins have helped to lead the team to victory in their initial contest. Kevin Prince helped orchestrate a 33-14 victory in the 2009 opener against San Diego State.
Last season, Kevin Craft (Jr.R) engineered a 27-24 overtime win over Tennessee. In 2006, Ben Olson (So.R) helped lead the Bruins past Utah 31-10. Drew Olson (Fr.) was at the helm of a 34-24 Bruin win in Seattle in 2002. Also in 2002, the Bruins emerged with a 28-18 win over Stanford behind Matt Moore (Fr.). In 2001, Scott McEwan (Sr.R) piloted the Bruins to a 52-42 win over ASU. In 1999, Cory Paus (Fr.R) won his first start, against Fresno State, 35-21. The Bruins won the 1999 season-opener with Drew Bennett (Jr.R) under center in a 38-7 decision over Boise State.
On the other side of the ledger, the Bruins came up on the short end of a 24-20 score in Ossar Rasshan's (So.R) 2007 debut against Arizona State. Oregon bested the Bruins, 30-20, in Eugene in Patrick Cowan's (So.R) first start in 2006. Ryan McCann (Fr.R) was under center in USC's 17-7 win over the Bruins in the Coliseum in 1999.
OPENING GAME TRUE FRESHMAN STARTERS -- Left tackle Xavier Su'a-Filo became the first true freshman (since freshmen became eligible in 1972) to start a season opener on offense in last week's game against San Diego State. The other position players who been in the starting lineup for the season-opening game in their true freshman season: 2008-Rahim Moore, safety; 2001-Matt Ware, cornerback; 1999-Asi Faoa, linebacker.
MOST-EVER TRUE FRESHMAN STARTS -- Rahim Moore's 12 starts last season at free safety were the most by a Bruin true freshman defensive back and the highest total in UCLA history by a true freshman at any non-kicking position. Jeff Baca's eight starts along the offensive line in 2008 set a new mark for a Bruin true freshman o-lineman. Wide Receiver Taylor Embree's total of eight starts in 2008 were the most ever by a true freshman Bruin at that position.
FRESHMEN OVER THE YEARS -- A school-record 17 true freshmen played for the Bruins in 1977. Thirteen played in 1975, 12 in 1978, 1980 and 2004 and 10 played in 1979. In recent years, nine played in 2005, eight in 2006, two in 2007 and 11 in 2008. UCLA played eight freshman in the 2009 opener against SDSU.
FIRST ACTION -- A total of 23 players (13 offensive - WR Jerry Johnson, OL Xavier Su'a-Filo, OL Stan Hasiak, OL Kai Maiava, OL Eddie Williams, TE Morrell Presley, QB Kevin Prince, QB Richard Brehaut, RB Johnathan Franklin, RB Milton Knox, RB Damien Thigpen, WR Randall Carroll, OL Ryan Taylor; eight defensive - DL Damien Holmes, DL Sean Sheller, LB Donovan Carter, LB Patrick Larimore, DB Andrew Abbott, DB Aaron Hester, DB Dalton Hilliard, DB Sheldon Price) saw their first action as a Bruin during the season-opening game against San Diego State. In addition, punter Jeff Locke and holder Danny Rees also appeared in their first games last week.
Here is the breakdown by class:
Ten redshirt freshmen - P Jeff Locke, WR Jerry Johnson, QB Kevin Prince, RB Johnathan Franklin, RB Milton Knox, DL Damien Holmes, LB Donovan Carter, LB Patrick Larimore, DB Andrew Abbott, DB Aaron Hester;
One redshirt sophomore - OL Kai Maiava;
The only previous time the Bruins have taken the field in a season-opener with a freshman quarterback under center was in 1989. Bret Johnson, a redshirt freshman, started all 11 games that season and the Bruins finished with a 3-7-1 record. UCLA opened that campaign with games against Tennessee (6-24 loss in Rose Bowl) and San Diego State (28-25 win at SDSU).
AT THE STARTING LINE
* Senior CB Alterraun Verner has the longest starting streak of any position player with 22 straight. Junior defensive tackle Brian Price owns the next longest active streak (15). TE Logan Paulsen had a 23-game starting streak snapped against BYU in 2008 when he sat out the game due to a broken foot.
* Seven positional players (five offense - QB Kevin Price, TB Johnathan Franklin, OT Xavier Su'a-Filo, C Kai Maiava, OG Eddie Williams; two defense - DT Jerzy Siewierski, CB Aaron Hester) made their first career starts in the 2009 season-opener against San Diego State. In addition, Jeff Locke and H Danny Rees also made their first starts.
*A list of career games, started by position:
WR (21) Gavin Ketchum 4, Terrence Austin 8, Taylor Embree 9
OL (59) Micah Kia 15, Nick Ekbatani 12, Jeff Baca 9, Darius Savage 7, Jake Dean 7, Mike Harris 6, Xavier Su'a-Filo 1, Kai Maiava 1, Eddie Williams 1
TE (45) Logan Paulsen 27, Ryan Moya 6, Cory Harkey 8, Nate Chandler 2, Jeff Miller 2
QB (13) Kevin Craft 12, Kevin Prince 1
FB (17) Chane Moline 9, Trevor Theriot 8
RB (2) Johnathan Franklin 1, Derrick Coleman 1
DE (24) Korey Bosworth 16, Reginald Stokes 5, Datone Jones 3
DT (25) Brian Price 18, Jess Ward 6, Jerzy Siewierski 1
LB (57) Reggie Carter 33, Kyle Bosworth 11, Steve Sloan 9, Akeem Ayers 4
CB (26) Alterraun Verner 25, Aaron Hester 1
S (16) Rahim Moore 13, Tony Dye 2, Aaron Ware 1
TEAM NOTES --
*UCLA is 26-3 (8-1 in last nine games) when it wins the turnover battle over the past six-plus seasons and 3-1 (won vs. WSU, Stanford, Washington, lost vs. USC) in 2008.
*It is 14-33 when it ties or loses the turnover battle over the last six-plus seasons, including (1-0) in 2009.
*The Bruins have qualified to play in a bowl game in 10 of the last 12 seasons (not in 1999, 2008).
*The Bruin defense has held 17 opponents over the last three-plus seasons to less than 100 yards of rushing offense. In 2009, it has held SDSU to 39 net rushing yards. In 2008, it limited three opponents to less than 100 yards on the ground (26-Wash. St., 96-Washington, 21-Ariz. St.). It held six opponents to under the century mark in 2007 (52-Stanford, 44-BYU, 46-Notre Dame, 67-Cal, 43-Oregon, 34-BYU/bowl). In 2006, the Bruin defense limited seven opponents to less than 100 yards rushing (Rice-53, Washington-49, Stanford-49, Arizona-minus 13, Notre Dame-51, Oregon St.-85, USC-55).
*The Bruin defense has limited opponents to less than 300 yards of offense in 16 contests over the last three-plus seasons. In 2009, it has held SDSU to 277 total yards. In 2008, it kept three teams to under 300 yards of offense (Wash. St.-177, Washington-133, Ariz. St.-122). It held five opponents short of 300 in 2007 (Oregon St.-248, Notre Dame-140, Cal-299, Oregon-148, BYU bowl-265). In 2006, the Bruins held seven opponents under 300 (Utah-287, Rice-184, Washington-249, Stanford-166, Arizona-222, Oregon St.-260, Ariz. St. -264).
*In the last nine seasons (2000-2008), UCLA has produced seven consensus All-Americans (2000, WR Freddie Mitchell; 2001, LB Robert Thomas; 2003 DE Dave Ball; 2005 TE Marcedes Lewis and KR Maurice Drew; 2006 DE Justin Hickman and PK Justin Medlock). Only one other school (USC) in the Pac-10 has produced more and UCLA's total is two ahead of third-place California. UCLA has produced 16 consensus All-America selections in the last 17 years (1992-2008), just five fewer than USC and seven more than No. 3 Arizona.
* UCLA's defense allowed opponent offenses to convert just 33 of 108 (30.6%) third down conversion attempts in the final eight games of 2008. In the 2009 opener, it allowed SDSU to convert just 33.3% (five of 15).
* Washington's 39 yards passing in 2008 were the fewest allowed by the Bruin defense since Sept. 4, 2004, when the Bruins held Oklahoma State to 23 yards in the air. UCLA held three opponents (Oregon 42, Stanford 51, Washington 39) under 100 yards passing in 2008.
* Arizona State's 122 yards total offense in 2008 was UCLA's best defensive effort since holding Arkansas to 42 net yards in the 1989 Cotton Bowl.
* Arizona State's 21 net yards rushing in the 2008 contest was the lowest total by a Bruin opponent since UCLA held Arizona to minus-13 yards rushing in 2006.
* UCLA's 234 rushing yards against Fresno State in 2008 was its highest total since running for 333 yards against Washington in 2007.
* Over the last six-plus seasons, UCLA is 22-2 when it scores at least 30 points in a game and 12-1 when it scores 40 or more (11 in a row).
* Over the last six-plus seasons, the Bruins are 23-3 when they hold the opponent under 20 points, and had a 16-game streak snapped when they lost the Las Vegas Bowl, 17-16.
UCLA PLAYER / COACH NOTES --
*Senior defensive back Alterraun Verner (#1) has scored four touchdowns in his career, including a 70-yard score with a blocked field goal in the 2009 opener versus San Diego State. He has three interception returns for touchdown in his career (34 yards-Utah, 2006; 89-Arizona, 2006; 76-California, 2007).That total ties the UCLA record held by Jerry Robinson (1975-78), Marcus Turner (1985-88) and Spencer Havner (2002-05).
*Redshirt senior linebacker Reggie Carter's (#51) led the Bruins with six tackles versus SDSU. His total of 83 tackles led the the team in 2008 and placed 10th in the Pac-10 conference (6.9/g). He recorded a career-best 20 tackles in the 2008 game at BYU. It was the most tackles by a Bruin player since Eric Turner totaled 21 in a 1989 contest versus Oregon.
*In the opener versus San Diego State, true sophomore safety Rahim Moore (#3) made three interceptions to tie the UCLA single-game record held by Ron Carver (Texas 1971), Craig Rutledge (Oregon State 1986) and Darryl Henl2y (Oregon State 1986). Moore was named Walter Camp Football Foundation National Defensive Player of the Week and was nominated for the AT&T All-America Player of the Week Award.
*Junior defensive tackle Brian Price (#92) led the team with 14.0 tackles for loss in 2008. He recorded 12 in the last nine games and was seventh in the Pac-10 with 1.17/g. All told, he has totaled 22 tackles for loss in his last 17 games (1.29/g) dating back to the 2007 season.
*Coach Rick Neuheisel began the 2009 season with a head coaching record of 32-15 against the opponents on this year's UCLA schedule. He is 29-12 as a head coach against Pac-10 teams, other than UCLA. (Ariz. 4-1, ASU 2-3, Cal 3-2, Kansas St. 2-3, Ore. 4-2, Ore. St. 3-2, Stan. 4-0, San Diego St. 0-0, SC 1-2, Tennessee 1-0, Wash. 2-0, WSU 6-0).
*Redshirt junior Kai Forbath (#25) booted his seventh career field of 50 yards or more with a 50-yarder in the 2009 opener against San Diego State to set a new UCLA career record. Forbath is the first Bruin to record five kicks of 50 or more yards in the same season (2007) and the second to kick two in the same game (Justin Medlock did it in 2004 at Oregon). His 54-yard field goal versus Oregon in 2007 was the longest ever by a Bruin freshman and third longest in UCLA history.
*Senior kick returner Terrence Austin (#4) accounted for 160 all-purpose yards versus San Diego State. In 2008, he set a school record with 1,878 all-purpose yards (broke Maurice Jones-Drew's 2005 mark of 1,863 yards). He also set school marks with 46 kickoff returns in `08, 206 kickoff return yards in last season's game against Fresno State and 1,109 kickoff return yards in `08.
*Sophomore wide receiver Nelson Rosario (#83) is a two-sport performer who placed third in the long jump (25-0), 10th in the high jump (6-6.75) and 14th in the triple jump at the 2009 Pac-10 Outdoor Track Championships. He qualified for the NCAA Championships in the long jump event and placed 22nd (24-3.50).
LAST GAME -- The Bruins rebounded from a 14-3 first quarter deficit to defeat San Diego State, 33-14, at the Rose Bowl, scoring the final 30 points of the contest.
The Aztecs scored touchdowns on their first two possessions sandwiched around a Bruin field goal. On the first drive, the Bruins twice committed penalties on third down. On the second one, the Aztecs scored on a 78-yard pass play. Following those two drives, UCLA's defense allowed just 130 yards for the final three-plus quarters.
The Bruin comeback began when Terrence Austin returned a pooch kickoff 65 yards to the SDSU 12-yard line. On the first carry of his career, Johnathan Franklin swept around left end for a touchdown. In the second quarter, UCLA took the lead for good on a 29-yard touchdown run by Derrick Coleman and extended it to 23-14 just before halftime when Kevin Prince found Austin in the left corner of the end zone for a six-yard score.
In the second half, Kai Forbath converted a 50-yard field goal to set a school record (seven career field goals of at least 50 yards). When SDSU threatened late in the third quarter, Jerzy Siewierski blocked a field goal attempt and Alterraun Verner returned it 70 yards for his fourth career touchdown and a 33-14 lead.
On the day, UCLA's offense accounted for 359 yards - 215 passing and 144 rushing - and three touchdowns. Kevin Prince, playing his first game, started and completed 18 of 29 passes for 176 yards and one touchdown. In the first half, he hit 12 of 16 passes. Derrick Coleman led the Bruins with 69 rushing yards while Franklin and Milton Knox, both playing in their first games, ran for 43 and 45 yards, respectively. Taylor Embree (career-high 97 yards) and Terrence Austin each made six receptions and Austin accounted for 160 all-purpose yards. The offensive line, with three new starters, blocked well and gave Prince time to throw.
Defensively, UCLA allowed just 116 yards on 43 plays in the final three quarters. Overall, it held SDSU to just 39 net rushing yards and allowed the Aztecs to complete just 18 of 45 passes for 238 yards.
Safety Rahim Moore tied a UCLA school record by making three interceptions. He was named Walter Camp Football Foundation National Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts. Reggie Carter led the Bruins with six tackles. Kyle Bosworth made four tackles, including a team-high 2.0 for loss, Jerzy Siewierski made three tackles, including one for loss, and blocked a field goal, and Brian Price added three stops, including one for loss.