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UCLA Opens Up 2012 Season at Rice This Thursday

Aug. 27, 2012

Game Notes (Rice) | Gameday Central |

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TV:     CBS Sports Network Radio:    AM 1150 (KTLK)

UCLA opens its 94th season of football, under the direction of first-year head coach Jim Mora, with an Aug. 30 game in Houston against the Rice Owls. Kickoff is set for 6:36 p.m. CT/ 4:36 PT and the game will be televised nationally by CBS Sports Network with Dave Ryan and Ron Zook in the booth and Evan Washburn on the sideline. AM 1150 (KTLK) and the Bruin IMG Radio Network (Chris Roberts, Matt Stevens and Wayne Cook) will radio broadcast the contest. The game will also be aired nationally on SIRIUS XM (Ch. 138).

This is the second straight season in which UCLA will open the season in Houston, TX. Last year, the Bruins met the University of Houston. UCLA leads the series with Rice 4-0, with the last meeting taking place in the 2006 season at the Rose Bowl. The Bruins captured that contest by a score of 26-16. UCLA totaled 338 yards on the ground (208 yds by Chris Markey, 102 by Kahlil Bell) in the win. The Bruins jumped out to a 13-0 halftime lead before Rice narrowed the gap to 16-10 at the end of three quarters. The second of two Ben Olson touchdown passes on the day helped to put the Owls away, an 18-yard toss to Brandon Breazell with eight minutes to play.

*** The Bruins are 60-28-5 overall in season-opening games
***This is third straight season UCLA has opened on road; second straight in Houston,TX (at UH last season)
***UCLA is 3-3 in its last six road openers (2011 L at Houston, 2010 L at Kansas State, 2007 W at Stanford; 2005 W at San Diego State; L at Colorado in 2003; W at Alabama in 2000)
***The Bruins won all four Pac-12 conference home games last season
***The 2011 season marked the eighth straight season in which UCLA has won its first conference game of the year and then gone on to become bowl eligible
***Eight of the last 12 UCLA quarterbacks making their first start have helped lead the team to a win
***UCLA has had two previous freshman qbs start a season-opener - Kevin Prince 2009/ Bret Johnson 1989
***Johnathan Franklin, on the Maxwell and Doak Walker watch lists, is ninth on the all-time school rushing list (2,669); he became the 15th Bruin to go over 2,000 yards rushing for a career last season at Stanford
*** Y receiver Joseph Fauria, on the Mackey Award Watch List, caught six touchdown passes last season, the most by a Bruin receiver since Marcedes Lewis (now with Jaguars) had 10 scoring grabs in 2005 season
***Redshirt soph safety Tevin McDonald tied the school record in 2011 with three interceptions against Cal
***Senior punter Jeff Locke, on the Ray Guy Watch list, placed a personal-best 26 punts inside the 20 in 2011
***Bruin 2011 sack leaders all return - Datone Jones 3.0 / Eric Kendricks and Cassius Marsh 2.0
***Redshirt seniors Datone Jones and Donovan Carter ranked one-two among the Bruin d-linemen with 41 and 36 tackles, respectively, last season.

Linebacker Eric Kendricks(#6) is the son of former Bruin, Marv Kendricks, who led UCLA in rushing in 1970 and 1971; Eric's brother, Mychal, is a former linebacker at Cal who is now in the NFL ... Defensive back Tevin McDonald's(#7) brother, Tim Jr., plays at USC and his dad, Tim, played in the NFL from 1987-99 with the Cardinals and 49ers ... Defensive back Sheldon Price's(#22) dad, Dennis, played at UCLA from 1984-87 and then in the NFL with the Raiders ... Punter Jeff Locke(#18) has been named to the All-Conference academic team the past three seasons; he has finished 12th (2011), fourth (2010) and 16th (2009) in the nation in punting average ... OL Xavier Su'a-Filo (#56) spent the last two years on an LDS mission in Alabama and Forida during which time he learned the Spanish language ... LB Anthony Barr's(#11) dad, Tony Brooks, was a fourth-round pick of the Eagles in the 1992 draft, after playing at Notre Dame ... Reserve fullback Luke Gane(#49) underwent chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant in high school to help overcome a rare blood disorder (aplastic anemia) ... Offensive guard Alexandru Ceachir (#76) came to this country two years ago from Moldova (located between Romania and Ukraine) and can speak four languages - Russian, English, Romanian, Ukranian ... Freshman linebacker Aaron Porter's (#30) mom, Sandy, played in the Softball World Series for Long Beach State and is in the school's Hall of Fame ... Running back Jordon James (#6) has a black belt in Taekwondo ... Running back Malcolm Jones'(#28) brother, Marshall, played defensive back at USC ... Malcolm was selected to the first-team Pac-12 All-Academic team in 2011 ... Defensive back Brandon Sermons'(#2) brother, Rodney, also played for USC ... Brett Hundley's(#17) dad, Brett, Sr., lettered at running back for the University of Arizona ... Most of the Bruin coaching staff has a tie to the NFL - head coach Jim Mora - 25 seasons with San Diego 1985-91, New Orleans 1992-96, San Francisco 1997-2003, Atlanta 2004-06, Seattle 2007-09; receivers coach Eric Yarber - 5 seasons with Tampa Bay 2010-11, San Francisco 2003-04, Seattle 1998; Defensive Coord. Lou Spanos - 17 seasons with Washington 2010-11 and Pittsburgh 1995-2009; Special teamsCoord./ Linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich - 2 seasons with Seattle 2010-11; Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone - 3 seasons with NY Jets 2006-08 ... Coaches who played in the NFL include Yarber, Ulbrich (who was on 49ers' defense coached by Jim Mora), Y receivers coach Marques Tuiasosopo, running backs coach Steve Broussard, offensive line coach Adrian Klemm ... Other players with NFL ties include freshmen Ishmael Adams (#24) (dad, Stefon, was selected in third rd. of 1985 draft); Paul Perkins' (#24) dad played football at Arizona State and with Tampa Bay and Indianapolis and his uncle, Don Perkins played with the Dallas Cowboys; redshirt freshman linebacker Aaron Wallace's (#12) dad played at Texas A&M and for eight seasons with the Raiders; freshman quarterback Jerry Neuheisel's (#11) dad played with Tampa Bay and San Diego and was the head coach at UCLA (2008-11) ... In addition, Jerry Rice, Jr.'s (#88) dad was a 13-time Pro Bowler with San Francisco and Oakland ... Y receiver Joseph Fauria's (#8) uncle, Christian, played at Colorado and for 13 seasons in the NFL with Seattle, New England, Washington, Carolina ... P Jeff Locke was named UCLA's male Scholar Athlete of the Year for 2011-12.

First-year head coach Jim Mora, a former NFC Coach of the Year while with the Atlanta Falcons, has 44 letterwinners returning for action. The Bruins welcome back six players who started the bulk of the games at their defensive positions in 2011 and seven more on the offensive side of the ball who were on the field for the first snap in the majority of games.

Returning players with 20 or more starts under their belts include -- Offensive lineman Jeff Baca (33), running back Johnathan Franklin (32), defensive cornerback Sheldon Price (32), defensive end Datone Jones (29), quarterback Kevin Prince (26), defensive cornerback Aaron Hester (24), linebacker Damien Holmes (20). Also back is Y receiver Joseph Fauria who led the team with six touchdown grabs last season. Linebackers Eric Kendricks and Jordan Zumwalt, who ranked second and third, respectively, on the team in tackles last season return. Interception leaders Andrew Abbott (4) and Tevin McDonald (3) move back into the secondary. Punter Jeff Locke, one of the nation's best, is primed for a standout season.

2008 - Rick Neuheisel, W Tennessee; 2003 - Karl Dorrell, L at Colorado; 1996 - Bob Toledo, L at Tennessee; 1976 - Terry Donahue, W at Arizona State; 1974 - Dick Vermeil, T at Tennessee; 1971 - Pepper Rodgers, L Pitt; 1965 - Tommy Prothro, L at Michigan State.

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