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Gameday Central
 

UCLA Football Meets Oregon In PAC-10 Opener
Courtesy: UCLA Athletics  
Release:  09/18/2000

Sept. 18, 2000

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GAME FOUR

The UCLA Bruins, 3-0 on the season, play on the road for the first time this season, when they meet the Oregon Ducks (2-1) in the Pac-10 opener for both schools on Saturday, Sept. 23. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.

UCLA is ranked No. 6 by Associated Press and No. 8 by USA Today/ESPN. The last time the Bruins were ranked as high was prior to the 1999 Rose Bowl, when they were ranked sixth on both polls.

The game will be televised nationally by Fox Sports Net. Steve Physioc and former UCLA All-America quarterback Tom Ramsey will call the action with Lisa Malosky 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.

Last week at the Rose Bowl, the Bruins defeated No. 3 Michigan, 23-20, rallying from a 20-10 third-quarter deficit. Oregon won its second home game of the season last week over Idaho, 42-13.

LAST WEEK

For the second time in three weeks, UCLA hosted the nation's No. 3-ranked team at the Rose Bowl and rallied from behind to win. Last Saturday, the Bruins trailed Michigan 13-3 early in the second quarter and 20-10 in the third quarter before rallying for a 23-20 victory before 88,044 fans -- the largest regular-season non-USC game crowd ever to see them play in the Rose Bowl.

UCLA outgained the Wolverines, 394 yards to 374 yards, and was especially effective in the second half. In the final 30 minutes, the Bruins gained 266 yards, converted six of nine third-down situations and mounted touchdown drives of 80, 80 and 85 yards. Michigan was held to seven points and 180 yards, including just 37 in the air on one-of-10 passing.

Trailing 13-3 at halftime, UCLA opened the second half with a 14-play, 80-yard drive that culminated with DeShaun Foster's five-yard touchdown run. Michigan countered with a TD to make the score 20-10, but the Bruins mounted another 80-yard drive, scoring on a 20-yard pass from Ryan McCann to Brian Poli-Dixon.

On the Bruins' first possession of the fourth quarter, they drove from their own 29-yard line to the Michigan 33 but lost the ball on a fumble by Ed Ieremia-Stansbury. The defense forced a Wolverine punt and UCLA began its next series on its own 15-yard line. A 23-yard pass from McCann to Freddie Mitchell, a 29-yard run by Foster which featured a 360-spin move and a straight arm of a would-be tackler, and a 14-yard run by Jermaine Lewis helped move the ball to the two-yard line. On second down, McCann hit Ieremia-Stansbury for what proved to be the winning touchdown.

Michigan tried to rally. On its first possession, it had a first down on the Bruin 15-yard line but couldn't get closer than the seven and missed a 24-yard field goal. On their final possession, which began on the Bruin 38-yard line following a 35-yard punt return, John Navarre's pass from the 25 was intercepted by Jason Stephens at the 10. He returned it to the 38 to clinch the victory.

UCLA's heroes were many. On offense, McCann completed 21 of 40 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns. He was at his best in the second half, completing 15 of 21 passes for 160 yards and both touchdowns (20 and two yards) while leading touchdown drives of 80, 80 and 85 yards.

Biletnikoff Award candidate Freddie Mitchell caught 10 of McCann's 21 completions, the fourth-best effort (tied) in school history, for 137 yards and produced nine first downs. In the second half, he made seven catches, including two on the first touchdown drive, three on the second and a 23-yarder on the game-winning score.

Foster again came up big in the second half. After gaining just 12 yards in the first half, he ran for 83 yards in the final 30 minutes, including 54 in the first quarter. His spinning 29-yard run played a key role in the game-winning touchdown drive.

Brian Poli-Dixon, returning to action after missing the Fresno State game due to a hamstring problem, caught four passes for 44 yards, including his second touchdown of the year and 15th of his career. He also threw a 32-yard pass to Jon Dubravac on UCLA's first-half field goal drive.

The line also played a key role, helping the Bruins control the football in the second half and allowing just one sack. Four of the linemen -- guards Oscar Cabrera and Brian Polak, center Troy Danoff and tackle Bryce Bohlander played every snap while tackle Mike Saffer played all but a handful of snaps.

Defensively, UCLA held Michigan to 374 yards and forced Navarre to miss on nine of 10 passes in the second half. Four Wolverine plays -- Anthony Thomas' 68-yard touchdown run and 41-yard fourth quarter run and Navarre's 29-yard TD pass and a 37-yard completion, both to David Terrell -- accounted for 175 of those yards. Michigan gained 199 yards on its other 70 plays.

Almost 20 percent of Michigan's running plays (nine of 46) resulted in no gain or negative yardage and 11 more accounted for just one or two yards.

Safety Marques Anderson led the Bruins with eight tackles, including one for loss, forced a fumble and broke up one pass. Linebackers Robert Thomas and Tony White each made seven tackles (Thomas had two for losses) and cornerback Ricky Manning Jr. added six tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage. Tackle Anthony Fletcher and linebacker Ryan Nece (one for loss) each made five tackles and Jason Zdenek added four stops and broke up two passes.

BRUIN HEAD COACH BOB TOLEDO

The Bruin head coach owns a record of 32-17 (21-11 in Pac-10 play) and a winning percentage of .653 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 7-12 when it scores 29 or fewer points but has won two straight and three of four. The Bruins are 26-3 when leading entering the fourth quarter, 2-0 when tied entering the final quarter and have won four times when trailing after three periods. UCLA is 22-3 when leading at the half and has won six 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 10-7 versus ranked teams. It has won three straight (last year versus Washington and this year against Alabama and Michigan) and is 9-2 in the last 11 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 have already defeated No. 3 Alabama and No. 3 Michigan in the first three weeks of the 2000 season. UCLA had never defeated two teams ranked No. 3 or higher in the same year prior to this season. The last time the Bruins defeated two Top 10 teams in the same season was 1988 when they bested No, 8 Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl and No. 2 Nebraska at home.

The last time a school defeated two teams ranked No. 3 or higher during the regular season was in 1993, when Notre Dame defeated No. 1 Florida State and No. 3 Michigan. In 1998, Texas A&M defeated No. 2 Nebraska during the regular season and No. 2 Kansas State in the Big 12 championship game.

UCLA has trailed in the first quarter of all three games this season and has rallied to win each game.

Six of UCLA's 11 touchdown drives have covered at least 80 yards, including three against Michigan, two versus Alabama and one against Fresno State. Six of the touchdown drives have utilized at least 10 plays and five have consumed at least four minutes, including the first drive of the year that burned 9:06 off the clock.

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 St, #45 Arizona, #46 Fresno St, #48 Stanford, #50 Arizona St).

Oregon will be the fourth straight UCLA opponent which played in a bowl game last season. In all, the first five teams on the Bruin schedule played in a 1999-2000 bowl and eight of the 11 teams overall on the 2000 slate.

The last time a Bruin running back carried the ball as many as 71 times in back-to-back contests (as done by DeShaun Foster the last two weeks) was Karim Abdul-Jabbar in the 1995 season (42 vs. Stanford and 33 vs. Cal / 75). Abdul-Jabbar rushed 35 times in his next game vs. Arizona State. He gained over 200 yards in all three games.

Ten Bruins made their varsity debut in this year's opener against Alabama -- seven redshirt freshmen (starter Rodney Leisle and reserves Dave Ball, Mat Ball, Kevin Brant, Shane Lehmann, Jerry Owens and Dennis Link) and three true freshmen (Brandon Chillar, Tab Perry and Keith Short). Two more redshirt freshmen -- Akil Harris and Ryan Wikert -- made their varsity debut in week two against Fresno State.

Wide receiver Jon Dubravac made the first start of his career against Fresno State. Two Bruins -- defensive tackle Rodney Leisle and free safety Jason Zdenek -- made their first starts against Alabama.

UCLA's winning percentage of .711 is the highest in the Pac-10 over the last three-plus years. UCLA has won 27 games in those three-plus seasons and only Arizona (27-13, .675) 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 +0.67 after three 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.

SERIES NOTES

UCLA owns a 37-17 series advantage over Oregon and has won the last four meetings between the two schools. In addition, the Bruins have won the last three meetings played in Eugene in 1992, 1996 and 1997.

In last year's game, the Bruins rallied from a 7-0 deficit to score 31 points in 13 minutes and then held on for a 34-29 win. The victory marked the 13th straight UCLA regular- season home victory at the time.

Quarterback Cory Paus, in his third career start, threw for 332 yards and two touchdowns in the game. Only Tommy Maddox had thrown for more yards as a Bruin freshman. Receiver Danny Farmer enjoyed the second-best game in school history with a 196-yard day. A furious Oregon rally from a 34-10 deficit ended with a completed pass at the UCLA one-yard line as time expired.

The last time the two teams met in Eugene (Oct. 11, 1997), UCLA rallied for a 39-31 victory. The Ducks have won 16 straight home games since that Bruin win.

NOTING THE DUCKS

Oregon is coached by Mike Bellotti, who is in his sixth season as head coach and owns a record of 41-21. He served as offensive coordinator for six years prior to becoming head coach. He guided the Ducks to an unprecedented third-consecutive bowl game appearance in 1999. Oregon posted a 9-3 record last year and defeated Minnesota in the Sun Bowl. The nine wins were more than any other Pac-10 team in 1999.

Assistant coach Gary Campbell (running backs) is a 1973 UCLA grad and a former starting fullback for the Bruins. Bruin head coach Bob Toledo served six seasons as offensive coordinator on the Oregon staff from 1983-1988 and offensive coordinator Al Borges served Oregon in the same capacity in 1995. Duck defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti handled that job at UCLA in 1998.

The Ducks rank 12th nationally in total offense (453.3) and 17th in total defense (258.3). Quarterback Joey Harrington has completed 46 of 92 passes for 686 yards and five touchdowns and tailback Maurice Morris is averaging 111.3 yards per contest and has scored three touchdowns. In last week's 42-13 win over Idaho, Harrington threw for 173 yards and four touchdowns and Morris added two TDs on the ground.

BRUINS IN THE 2000 POLLS

AP: Pre-season, NR, Aug. 28,NR, Sept. 3, No. 16, Sept. 10, No. 14, Sept. 17, No. 6. USA Today/ESPN: Pre-season, NR, Aug. 28, NR, Sept. 3, No. 17, Sept. 10 No. 17, Sept. 17, No. 8.

THE DEFENSE

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.

Last Saturday against Michigan, he suffered torn meniscus cartilidge in his left knee and will undergo an arthroscopy later this week. His status for the remainder of the season will be determined after the procedure.

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. He was credited with two stops against Fresno and one tackle in the victory over Michigan.

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-Compared to a cobra by head coach Bob Toledo because of his explosiveness at the point of attack, Thomas is on 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.

Against Fresno State, Thomas led the defense, which held the Bulldogs to 26 yards on the ground, with six stops. In the victory over Michigan, he was credited with seven tackles, one shy of the team lead, including two behind the line of scrimmage.

He is tied for the team lead with 17 tackles, including three for loss (tied for first), and a team-high 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-The junior, who writes a weekly column for the official athletic department website, 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. Against Fresno State, he made two stops and in the victory over No. 3 Michigan, he made five tackles, including one for loss.

Nece is tied for fourth on the team with 13 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 that season, 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 but had a big game against Michigan, making seven tackles, one shy of the team lead. He has now made 12 tackles in three contests, including two for losses (one sack).

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. 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.

In the win over No. 3 Michigan, Manning made six tackles, including one for loss. He also returned four punts for 20 yards and had a 65-yard scoring return wiped out because of a penalty.

He has now started 12 consecutive games since moving into the lineup last year against Fresno State. He is third on the squad with 14 tackles (two for losses), tied for first with his interception against Alabama and second 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 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.

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 was at his best in the win over Michigan, making a team-high and career-high tying eight tackles, including one for loss. He also forced a fumble and broke up a pass.

Anderson is now tied for first on the squad with his 17 tackles and is first with five pass break ups and tied for first with three tackles for loss.

Bell, a starter in 1998, made two tackles and did an outstanding job 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 and added one tackle and one pass break up in the victory over Michigan. His coverage efforts helped limit Michigan to only 111 passing yards and just eight completions on 28 attempts.

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, recovered one fumble and forced another. Against Fresno State, he was credited with four stops and added four tackles and two pass break ups in the win over Michigan. He ranks tied for fourth on the squad with 13 tackles and has broken up three passes.

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. Fletcher made five tackles in the win over Michigan while Leisle added three stops.

True sophomore outside linebacker Marcus Reese, recovered a fumble and made two tackles against Alabama. He added one stop against Fresno State and one tackle against Michigan. 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.

Jason Stephens' game-clinching interception was the second `pick' of his career. The first was in the 1998 win over USC.

THE OFFENSE

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. He has followed that with fine efforts against Michigan and Fresno State.

In the win over the No. 3 Wolverines, he carried the ball 24 times for 95 net yards and his sixth touchdown of the season. In the second half, he gained 83 yards on 16 attempts, including a five-yard touchdown in the third quarter. In the final 15 minutes, he carried the ball eight times for 54 yards, including a 29-yard run on UCLA's game-winning touchdown drive.

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 gained over 100 yards on five occasions. His back-to-back 100-yard games against Alabama and Fresno State were the first by a Bruin since Skip Hicks did it in the final five games of the 1997 season.

On the year, Foster has now rushed for 422 yards on 95 carries after gaining just 375 yards on 111 attempts a year ago when he was hampered by an ankle sprain. In his career, Foster has scored 24 touchdowns and one two-point conversion and his 146 points rank 16th (tied with Zenon Andrusyshyn) on that career list. Next are No. 14 Kermit Johnson and Bob Davenport at 150 and No. 12 Peter Boermeester at 160. He also ranks 22nd on the career rushing list with 1,470 yards, just behind No. 21 Cal Rossi (1,490).

Foster ranks tied for seventh in the nation and second in the Pac-10 in scoring (12.0 points), tied for ninth nationally and second in the Pac-10 in rushing (140.7) and 18th nationally and second in the Pac-10 in all-purpose yards (157.7). He also ranks ninth in the Pac-10 in total offense (140.7).

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 (9/25/99). 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.

RYAN McCANN -- The redshirt sophomore quarterback led the Bruins from a 10-point third-quarter deficit, throwing touchdown passes of 20 yards to Brian Poli-Dixon and two yards to Ed Ieremia-Stansbury to lead the Bruins to a 23-20 come-from-behind victory over No. 3 Michigan.

McCann was at his best in the second half, completing 15 of 21 passes for 160 yards and two scores, including four of five attempts on third down. His three second-half touchdown drives measured 80, 80 and 85 yards.

On the afternoon, McCann completed 21 of 40 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns -- all career highs. He is now 2-1 as a starter, 2-0 this season, and 2-0 in relief.

In three games, he has completed 47 of 87 passes (.540) for 536 yards and four touchdowns and just one interception. He ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in completions (15.7 per game), sixth in passing efficiency (118.7) and eighth in total offense (174.7).

In the opener, McCann 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 day, he completed 14 of 24 passes for 194 yards and one score.

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 completions per game (15.7), sixth in passing efficiency (118.7) and eighth in total offense (174.7).

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.

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.

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.

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.

On the year, he leads the squad with 20 catches and 286 yards and is tied for the lead with his two touchdowns. He has produced 17 first downs with his 20 receptions. He leads the Pac-10 in receptions (6.7) and receiving yards per game (95.3), ranking sixth (tied) in the NCAA in the former category and 16th in the latter. He is also ninth in the Pac-10 in all-purpose yards (94.0).

During his career, Mitchell has also 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 56 receptions for 839 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 the game versus Fresno State with tightness in his hamstrings.

In the victory over No. 3 Michigan, he made four receptions for 44 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown that brought the Bruins to within three points, 20-17. He also tossed a 32-yard pass to Jon Dubravac on UCLA's first-half field goal drive.

Poli-Dixon has now made 67 receptions for 1,037 yards as a Bruin. He now ranks 18th (tied with Derek Tennell) on the career reception list and 17th on the career yardage list.

In addition, he has scored 15 touchdowns on his 67 receptions, one touchdown every 4.47 catches.

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. He added a 32-yard reception against Michigan on the Bruins' field goal drive. Redshirt freshman Jerry Owens and true freshman Tab Perry both made the first reception of their careers against the Bulldogs.

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 -- captain 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 Blake Worley, who started 10 games last season at tackle, is competing for playing time at guard and tackle this year and saw his first offensive action against Michigan.

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.

Against Fresno, 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.

In the win over No. 3 Michigan, the line helped UCLA control the football for 16:31 in the second half and convert six of nine third-down situations. The Bruins ran 46 plays for 266 yards in the final 30 minutes and produced 18 first downs. The line also protected Ryan McCann extremely well, allowing just one sack.

TIGHT ENDS

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.

In the victory over Michigan, all three tight ends made one reception that produced a first down. Fletcher's 22-yard reception was on a field goal drive while Seidman's 11-yard catch on third down was followed by Ryan McCann's 20-yard touchdown pass to Brian Poli-Dixon.

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. 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.

In the victory over Michigan, he gained 34 yards on seven carries, including a 14-yard run to the Wolverine eight-yard line on the game-winning touchdown drive.

SCOTT McEWAN -- 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.

CAREER STARTS (2000 starts/career starts) -- Offense -- WR: Brian Poli-Dixon (2/12) Freddie Mitchell (3/9), Jon Dubravac (1/1), Drew Bennett (1/4, three at QB), OL: Brian Polak (3/26), Troy Danoff (3/12), Blake Worley (0/10), Mike Saffer (3/10), Oscar Cabrera (3/19), Bryce Bohlander (3/5), TE: Gabe Crecion (3/10), Bryan Fletcher (0/3), QB: Cory Paus (1/8), Ryan McCann (2/3), RB: DeShaun Foster (3/8), Jermaine Lewis (0/9), Matt Stanley (2/3), Ed Iremia-Stansbury (0/2 at LB), PK: Chris Griffith (3/13).

Defense -- DL: Kenyon Coleman (3/23), Ken Kocher (0/10), Rusty Williams (3/14), Anthony Fletcher (3/7), Rodney Leisle (3/3), Stephen Sua (0/1), LB: Tony White (3/23), Ryan Nece (3/21), Robert Thomas (3/11), Asi Faoa (0/1), DB: Jason Bell (3/22), Marques Anderson (3/14), Jason Stephens (0/8), Joe Hunter (0/4), Ricky Manning Jr. (3/12), Jason Zdenek (3/3), P: Nate Fikse (3/14).

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.

Against Fresno State, the Bruins started three wide receivers and no fullback, going with eight seniors, eight juniors, five sophomores and one redshirt freshman.

In the win over Michigan, the total was back to seven seniors, nine 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. In the victory over Michigan, he kicked a 29-yard field goal and added two PATs.

In the win over Michigan, Fikse was one of the busiest players on the field. He punted the ball nine times, just two shy of the school record, and averaged 48.1 yards, just shy of his career high of 49.0, set last year versus USC. His longest was 74 yards, just two yards short of his best, set last year at Oregon State. He also made two tackles on the afternoon.

Against Fresno State, Fikse averaged 43.6 yards on eight kicks, including a 68-yarder in the third quarter. In the opener against Alabama, he average 45.0 yards on his five punts with a long of 55. He is now averaging 45.8 yards on 22 kicks this year and ranks first in the Pac-10 and 20th in the nation.

RED ZONE

In the victory over Michigan, UCLA entered the Red Zone four times and scored on all four occasions (two passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown and one field goal) for 23 points. 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 13 times and has scored 10 times (five rushing touchdowns, three passing touchdowns and two field goals) for 61 points. The other possessions have resulted in one interception, one missed field goal and one ending on downs.

Michigan reached the Red Zone twice and scored once on a rushing touchdown for seven points. Fresno State reached the Red Zone on three occasions and scored two passing touchdowns for 14 points. Opponents have now reached the Red Zone seven times and have scored on five occasions (two passing touchdowns, two rushing touchdowns and one field goal) for 31 points. The other possessions ended on a missed field goal and 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).

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 the Fresno game, UCLA's defense accounted for one turnover, a fumble on the Bulldog's final possession, and the offense did not make a turnover.

Against Michigan, UCLA forced two turnovers. A fumble recovery resulted in a Bruin fumble and the interception allowed UCLA to run out the clock for the victory. The Bruins lost three fumbles (one on special teams) and one was converted into a touchdown while the other two led to punts.

On the year, UCLA has now recovered six turnovers (four fumbles and two interceptions) and scored seven points. The Bruins have turned the ball over four times (three fumbles and one interception) and they have been converted into 14 points.

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.

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. Dave Smith handles the pre- and post-game shows.

Stations on the Bruin network included:

  • KSDO 1130AM (San Diego, CA)
  • 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)

    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). 80 of UCLA's last 85 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, Fox Sports Net will televise the contest on a national basis with Steve Physioc and former UCLA All-America quarterback Tom Ramsey calling the action and Lisa Malosky on the sidelines. A replay will be shown on Fox Sports Net West 2 on Sunday, Sept. 24 at 5:00 p.m.

    The UCLA Sports Magazine show, produced by Fox Sports Net West 2, airs every Thursday night at 6:30 p.m.

    TOLEDO CONFERENCES

    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.

    PAC-10 TELECONFERENCES

    The Pac-10 is having a Football Coaches Teleconference every other week through Nov. 7. The next call is on Sept. 26 and 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.


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