Oct. 19, 2001
By JUSTIN EINHORN
AP MegaSports Writer
DeShaun Foster has never faced California. It might not take long for the Golden Bears to get tired of seeing UCLA's star tailback.
Foster, coming off arguably the greatest performance in school history, and the fourth-ranked Bruins, off their most impressive win of the season, play host to California on Saturday in a Pac-10 matchup.
This game seems to be quite a mismatch, considering UCLA (4-0, 2-0) has yet to lose and California (0-5, 0-3) is the only winless team in the Pac-10. However, the Golden Bears upset the Bruins in the last two meetings, winning 17-0 at the Rose Bowl in 1999 and 46-38 in triple-overtime last season at Berkeley.
Foster missed both of those games due to injury and also sat out UCLA's game against California in 1998, but he's looking plenty healthy this time around.
The 6-foot-1, 215-pound senior rushed for a school-record 301 yards on 31 carries and scored four touchdowns in Saturday's 35-13 victory over then-No. 10 Washington.
"I think DeShaun proved to everyone he's one of the great backs in the country, if not the best back," Bruins coach Bob Toledo said. "He ran with power, he ran with great vision, he ran with great speed. There's no question he put himself in position to be considered for the Heisman."
Foster leads the nation with 162.6 rushing yards per game, nearly 45 more than any other player in the Pac-10 and almost 100 better than Cal leading rusher Joe Igber.
Foster, who is averaging 5.7 yards per carry, is trying to join quarterback Gary Beban (1967) as the only Heisman Trophy winners in UCLA history.
"It's cool, it's good and stuff," Foster said about the Heisman hype. "I don't like to talk about it. I'm trying to stay focused, we've got Cal this week, just focus on Cal.
"It's just going to get harder every week. The higher you're ranked, the more people want to knock you off. I'm just going to try and keep rolling."
His team certainly is rolling, blowing out Oregon State and Washington after closing non-conference play by knocking Ohio State out of the rankings with a 13-6 victory.
The Bruins defense surrendered a total of 26 points in those three wins. They are giving up 12.0 points per game this season after allowing a school-record 368 points last year.
UCLA leads the Pac-10 in total defense, allowing 283.6 yards per game, while Cal is last in the conference at 467.0 per contest.
The Bears, off to the worst start in school history, have been torched for at least 30 points in all five of their losses. That includes Saturday's 48-7 loss to No. 5 Oregon.
Dropping this contest would clinch Cal's fifth straight losing season since Tom Holmoe became coach.