Oct. 15, 2000
Junior flanker Freddie Mitchell has established himself as one of the nation's top players at his position and a leading candidate for the Biletnikoff Award, presented to the best wide receiver in the country.
The explosive Mitchell, who always seems to be in the middle of the action, currently leads the nation with his average of 122.7 receiving yards per game. He also ranks 14th (tied) in the NCAA and first (tied) in the Pac-10 in receptions (6.3 average) and his average of 19.4 yards per catch ranks first nationally among players in the Top 30 in receptions per game. He also ranks third in the Pac-10 in all-purpose yards (122.0) and fourth (tied) in scoring (6.0).
On the year, he leads the Bruins with 38 receptions and 736 receiving yards and is tied with DeShaun Foster for the team lead with six touchdowns. He has already accounted for more yards in six games than he did during the entire 1999 season.
At his current pace, he would finish the regular season with 1,349 yards, breaking Danny Farmer's school record of 1,274, set in 12 games. His 736 yards already rank eighth on UCLA's single-season list with five games to play.
In his last four games, he has made 28 receptions for 587 yards (146.8 average) and four touchdowns. He has accounted for at least 100 yards in each game, tying the school record set by Kevin Jordan in 1994.
He has produced 31 first downs with his 38 receptions and one of the other seven resulted in a touchdown.
Mitchell 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.
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.
The explosive Mitchell was on fire against Michigan. The Bruins' leading receiver made 10 receptions, the fourth-highest (tied) single-game total in UCLA history, for 137 yards and produced nine first downs with those 10 catches.
In the second half, Mitchell made seven of his receptions for 91 yards and six first downs. He produced two first downs on each of UCLA's first two touchdown drives and made a 23-yard reception on the game-winning touchdown drive.
Against Oregon, he again led the Bruins with six receptions, good for a career-high 158 yards and one touchdown on a 54-yard catch-and-run from Drew Bennett. He also had a possible 30-yard touchdown catch ruled out of bounds by officials. Five of his six receptions produced first downs, including UCLA's lone touchdown.
In the victory over Arizona State, he made four receptions for 125 yards and two touchdowns. His eight-yard scoring catch in the third quarter briefly gave the Bruins a lead and his 80-yard catch-and-run with 1:31 remaining in the same period put them ahead for good. It was the longest reception of his career and ninth longest in school history, topping his 79-yard touchdown catch in the 1998 opener versus Texas. He also made a spectacular diving sideline reception in the fourth quarter on second-and-nine from the UCLA three-yard line that keyed the field goal drive that gave the Bruins a 38-31 lead.
At California, Mitchell made eight receptions for a career-high 167 yards -- the seventh-highest single-game total in school history -- and one touchdown. His touchdown was a third-down slant pass that he turned into a 35-yard TD and it tied the game at 28 with 5:59 remaining in regulation. He also had a 46-yard reception on UCLA's first touchdown drive. Six of his eight receptions produced first downs and four measured at least 23 yards .
During his career, Mitchell has made 80 receptions for 1,387 yards. He ranks 14th on the career receiving yardage list and 16th on the reception list.