Sept. 13, 1999
THE 1999 SEASON -- The UCLA Bruins (1-1) return home to the Rose Bowl to face the Fresno State Bulldogs (1-1) this Saturday night (Sept. 18). Kickoff is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. The game will be televised live by Fox Sports Net West 2 and broadcast on the Bruin Radio Network (XTRA 1150 in Los Angeles). The Bruins are ranked No. 21 by polls of both USA Today/ESPN and Associated Press.
UCLA is 4-0 versus Fresno State. The most recent meeting was a 45-21 Bruin victory at the Rose Bowl in 1995.
WHO'S BACK - UCLA had suspended defensive backs Ryan Roques, Marques Anderson and Eric Whitfield, linebackers Ali Abdul-Azziz, Tony White, Ryan Nece and Robert Thomas, offensive linemen Oscar Cabrera and Jim Ghezzi and running backs Durell Price and Keith Brown for the first two games for wrongfully obtaining and misusing disabled parking placards. All except Anderson (out for the season) have been practicing with the team and are eligible to play this week against the Bulldogs.
UCLA IN THE POLLS - UCLA finished the 1998 season ranked No. 8 on the final polls of both USA Today/ESPN and Associated Press. It was never out of the Top Ten. The Bruins finished in the final AP Top Ten in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1987-88 and the final Top Ten of the coaches' poll in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1984-85.
1999 rankings: USA Today/ESPN: Pre-season: No. 15, Sept. 5: No. 13, Sept. 12: No. 21, Associated Press: Pre-season: No. 16, Aug. 29: No. 17, Sept. 6: No. 14, Sept. 12: No. 21.
THE FRESNO CONNECTION - Two of UCLA's assistant coaches, Kelly Skipper and Jethro Franklin, are former Bulldog players and assistant coaches.
Skipper, in his second year coaching the Bruin running backs, spent nine years as a Bulldog assistant. He was also a star tailback for the Bulldogs, playing in the 1987 game against the Bruins at the Rose Bowl.
Franklin, in his first year as interior defensive line coach in Westwood, served as an assistant at his alma mater for nine years. He also played in the 1987 game at the Rose Bowl, sacking Bruin quarterback Troy Aikman four times.
Tim Skipper, the Bulldogs' top linebacker, is the brother of UCLA's assistant coach.
PRE-SEASON HONORS - Senior flanker Danny Farmer, a pre-season first-team All-American, is on the pre-season list for the Belitnikoff Award, presented to the nation's top receiver. Sophomore outside linebacker Ryan Nece is on the pre-season list for the Butkus Award, presented to the nation's best linebacker.
LAST WEEK - The Bruins opened a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter at Ohio State but eventually fell to the Buckeyes, 42-20. Playing without 11 suspended players, including seven projected starters, the Bruins started fast but wore down in each of the halves. They were outscored 21-0 in the last 11 minutes of the first half and 21-3 in the last 15:03 of the second half.
UCLA scored on its first possession of the game when walk-on fullback Matt Stanley, who attended high school in Ohio, picked a deflected pass off the back of Freddie Mitchell and raced 67 yards for a touchdown just 1:58 into the contest. Early in the second quarter, walk-on Chris Griffith kicked a 35-yard field goal to give the Bruins a 10-0 lead. However, UCLA netted just 15 yards on its next two possessions while Ohio State was scoring on three straight drives to take a 21-10 halftime lead.
The Bruins stopped the Buckeyes on their initial possession of the second half and then drove 73 yards on seven plays to close to within 21-17 on DeShaun Foster's seven-yard touchdown. The Bruin defense created two turnovers in the third quarter, but UCLA's offense also made two, the second giving OSU possession at UCLA's 30-yard line. The Buckeyes scored three plays later to take a 28-17 lead with three seconds left in the third quarter.
On the evening, the Bruins passed for 253 yards but gained just 112 on the ground. Ohio State ran 88 offensive plays and finished with 507 yards, 266 passing and 241 rushing. UCLA's defense did record 12 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and held the Buckeyes to zero, one or two yards on 11 other scrimmage plays.
Junior Drew Bennett started at quarterback and completed nine of 15 passes for 138 yards and one touchdown. He netted 19 yards rushing and caught one pass for 18 yards. However, he also threw an interception and lost one fumble. Redshirt freshman Cory Paus, playing in the second and fourth quarters, completed eight of 20 passes for 97 yards and threw one interception. Sophomore DeShaun Foster rushed for 51 yards on 17 carries, and sophomore Freddie Mitchell added 31 on two reverses.
Danny Farmer, playing despite a sprained left ankle which caused him to miss the opener, made three receptions for 56 yards. He moved into second place on UCLA's career receiving yardage list with 2,503 yards, passing J.J. Stokes. Sophomore fullback Matt Stanley also made three catches for 78 yards and one touchdown.
Defensively, true freshman linebacker Marcus Reese came off the bench to record a team-high nine tackles, including three for loss. True freshman cornerback Ricky Manning (two for loss), true sophomore tackle Ken Kocher (two for loss and a fumble recovery) and senior cornerback Jason Bell (one for loss) all made eight tackles while senior Joey Strycula added seven stops and his second interception of the year.
Stanley and redshirt freshman Julius Williams made the first starts of their careers while redshirt freshmen defensive backs, Audie Attar and Lovell Houston, made their varsity debuts.
NOTING THE BULLDOGS - This is the fifth meeting between the two schools, with UCLA holding a 4-0 lead. They last met on Sept. 30, 1995, with the Bruins winning 45-21 at the Rose Bowl. Cade McNown made the second of his 44 career starts after competing with Ryan Fien throughout the week. He passed for 306 yards and began his streak of 43 consecutive starts. The two schools also met at the Rose Bowl on Sept. 19, 1987, with UCLA winning 17-0. Bruin assistant coaches Kelly Skipper (running back) and Jethro Franklin (four sacks from the defensive line) played for the Bulldogs in that game.
Fresno State is 1-1, having defeated Portland State, 34-6 in its opener. Last Saturday, the Bulldogs dropped a 46-23 decision to Oregon State in Corvallis. They led 14-13 early in the second quarter but an interception return put them behind for good, 19-14. They closed to within 26-17 early in the third quarter but could never get closer. Quarterback Billy Volek completed 23 of 37 passes for 196 yards and touchdowns of 15 and 25 yards. Fresno State gained 241 yards total offense (196 passing, 45 rushing) and allowed 509 (303 passing, 206 rushing).
BRUIN HEAD COACH BOB TOLEDO - Now in his fourth season as head coach of the Bruins, Bob Toledo owns a record of 26-11 (19-5 in Pac-10 play). His winning percentage of .703 is the second-highest in UCLA history behind only Red Sanders, the coach of UCLA's national championship team, among coaches with at least three years on the job. The 20-game winning streak snapped versus Miami last Dec. 5 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 22-4 when it scores at least 30 points and 13-1 when it scores at least 40. It is 4-7 when it scores 29 or fewer points. The Bruins are 21-2 when leading entering the fourth quarter, 2-0 when tied entering the final quarter and have won three times when trailing after three periods. UCLA is 18-2 when leading at the half and has won four times after trailing at the half and four when tied at the half.
UCLA is 7-7 versus ranked opponents under Toledo and had won six straight games prior to the 1999 Rose Bowl.
DID YOU KNOW? - UCLA's record of 21-5 in the last two-plus years is the best in the Pac-10, as is its league record of 15-1. Arizona is second in both categories with an overall record of 21-7 and a league mark of 11-5.
UCLA's record of 26-11 under head coach Bob Toledo is second-best in the Pac-10 during the last three-plus years (Arizona State is 26-10). Arizona is 26-13 while Washington is 23-14. In league play, UCLA is 19-5, followed by ASU's 18-6 and Washington's 16-8.
UCLA has produced two Outland Trophy winners (Jonathan Ogden in 1995 and Kris Farris in 1998) and three first-team All-America tackles (Ogden, Chad Overhauser in 1997 and Farris) in the last four years.
Including the 88,080 fans who attended the USC contest, UCLA drew 368,547 fans to its five 1998 home games at the Rose Bowl. The average of 73,709 led the Pac-10 and set a new UCLA season record. The previous best was 69,812 in 1947.
In 1998, UCLA became only the fourth team in league history to win eight conference games in a season. The others were: USC - 1988, Washington - 1991, Arizona State - 1996. UCLA was also just one of three teams to win 15 Pac-10 games over two seasons (seven in 1997 and eight this year). The others include: USC in 1987 and 1988, UW in 1990 and 1991.
UCLA's regular-season scoring average of 40.5 ranked fifth in the nation, and the overall average of 39.7 ranked third in school history behind 1997's 39.8 and 42.7 in 1973.
TEAM NOTES - UCLA has won six of its last eight games against ranked opponents. The Bruins had a six-game winning streak snapped against Wisconsin in last year's Rose Bowl after defeating Texas, Washington and Texas A&M in 1997 and Texas, Arizona and Oregon in 1998.
UCLA has scored three of its six touchdowns on drives of 2:00 or less (a fourth was scored in 2:10). UCLA scored 44 offensive touchdowns on drives of less than 3:00 in 1998, including 14 of less than 1:00.
UCLA had scored at least 28 points in 16 straight games beforing tallying just 20 versus Ohio State. The Bruins had also scored at least 27 points in 23 straight contests prior to their trip to Columbus.
In 1998, UCLA ranked first in the league in fewest quarterback sacks allowed (10 in 11 regular-season games). The Bruins have allowed just four in their first two games this season (one with less than two minutes left on the third-string quarterback at Ohio State).
The two-time Pacific-10 Conference champion Bruins concluded the 1998 season 10-2 overall and 8-0 in league play. They were ranked No. 8 on the final polls by both USA Today/ESPN and Associated Press. They were also No. 5 on the final BCS rankings. UCLA won 10 games in back-to-back seasons for only the second time in history and back-to-back league titles for the first time since 1982-83.
ACADEMIC AWARD - UCLA is one of 26 football programs to graduate at least 70% of its 1993-94 freshman class, according to results released by the American Football Coaches Association. UCLA's percentage was 82.6%, with 19 of 23 student-athletes earning a degree. UCLA was the only Pac-10 school to earn a spot on the list.
NCAA GRADUATION RATES - In the 1998 NCAA Graduation Report, UCLA earned the following rankings among schools in the 1998 Final USA Today Top 25 poll: first (tied) in grade-point average for the incoming freshman classes of 1994-97 (3.15), second in SAT scores for the incoming freshman classes of 1994-97 (990), seventh in graduation rate for the 1991 freshman class (65%) and 11th in graduation rate for the 1988-91 freshman classes (57%).
SPLIT END DANNY FARMER - Danny Farmer, who did not play in the 1999 opener against Boise State due to a sprained left ankle, saw limited action at Ohio State. He tied for the team lead with three receptions for 56 yards.
Farmer entered the season recognized as one of the nation's best wide receivers and a leading candidate for the Biletnikoff Award. He has been selected to the pre-season All-America teams of Street & Smith, Lindy's and Playboy. A fine all-around athlete who starred on the men's volleyball team, he possesses great size, deceptive speed, outstanding leaping ability and the knack for making the big catch in traffic. A former walk-on, Farmer earned a scholarship prior to the 1996 season and concluded it with a team-leading 31 catches.
Farmer's career totals are 133 receptions for 2,503 yards and 16 touchdowns in just 36 games, and he could break both school records (179 receptions and 2,548 yards) by the end of his senior year. He now ranks second on UCLA's career receiving yardage list, having passed J.J. Stokes against Ohio State, and fourth on the career reception list (see career-best lists below). He needs just 46 yards to break the yardage record. A big-play performer, he has made 20 receptions of at least 40 yards, including 13 last season and one in 1999.
Farmer was the team's leading receiver with 58 catches for 1,274 yards (22.0 average) and nine touchdowns. In the Washington game, he became only the fourth player in school history to record over 1,000 receiving yards in a season. His 1,274 yards set a new UCLA record, breaking Kevin Jordan's record of 1,228 yards, set in 1994, and he averaged 106.2 yards per contest. His average (22.0) was the highest in school history among players with at least 36 receptions in a season.
During the regular season, Farmer ranked second in the Pac-10 (16th in the NCAA) in receiving yards per game (102.91), and his average of 22.2 yards per catch was the highest in the league among players averaging at least 2.5 receptions per game.
Farmer is a two-sport star who made major contributions to the volleyball squad, which won NCAA titles in 1998 and 1996. Danny is not the only member of his family to have won a national championship. His father George was a Bruin footballer, as well, and also a member of the 1970 national championship basketball team. Uncle Dave Farmer was on the 1974 USC national championship football team. Both went on to play professional football.
1998 FARMER Receiving
Game TCB Net Avg. TD LG TEX* 4 81 20.3 1 36 HOU* 4 100 25.0 0 41 WSU* 5 100 20.0 0 51 ARIZ 2 87 43.5 1 64 ORE* 7 161 23.0 2 60 CAL* 5 52 10.4 0 19 STAN* 6 78 13.0 0 20 OSU* 5 113 22.6 2 43 WASH* 4 134 33.5 0 61 USC* 3 91 30.3 0 42 MIAMI* 6 135 22.5 2 77 WISC* 7 142 20.3 1 44 1998 58 1274 22.0 9 77
1999 FARMER Receiving
Game TCB Net Avg. TD LG BSU Did Not Play OSU* 3 56 18.7 0 40
UCLA CAREER RECEPTIONS
Years No. Yds Avg TD Kevin Jordan 1992-95 179 2548 14.23 12 J.J. Stokes 1991-94 154 2469 16.03 28 Sean LaChapelle 1989-92 142 2027 14.27 14 Danny Farmer 1996-99 133 2503 18.82 16 Mike Sherrard 1982-85 128 1965 15.35 10
UCLA CAREER RECEIVING YARDS
Years No. Yds Avg TD Kevin Jordan 1992-95 179 2548 14.23 12 Danny Farmer 1996-98 133 2503 18.82 16 J.J. Stokes 1991-94 154 2469 16.03 28 Jim McElroy 1994-97 101 2029 20.09 14 Sean LaChapelle 1989-92 142 2027 14.27 14
UCLA SEASON RECEIVING YARDS
Year No. Yds Avg TD Danny Farmer 1998 58 1274 22.0 9 Kevin Jordan 1994 73 1228 16.8 7 J.J. Stokes 1993 82 1181 14.4 17 Sean LaChapelle 1991 73 1056 14.5 11 Jim McElroy 1997 47 988 21.0 10
TAILBACK DESHAUN FOSTER - True sophomore DeShaun Foster, a first-team Freshman All-American a year ago, has led the Bruins in rushing in both games this season. Last week at Ohio State, he rushed for 51 yards on 17 carries and scored his second touchdown of the year, a seven-yard run that made the score 21-17 early in the second half. Against Boise State, he led the Bruins with 55 yards on 17 carries and scored UCLA's first touchdown in the second quarter on a four-yard run. On the year, he has gained 106 yards on 34 tries. He has now led the team in rushing in six straight regular-season games and has scored 14 touchdowns in 13 career games.
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 overall school record held by numerous players, including teammate Jermaine Lewis. On the afternoon, Foster led the team with 109 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries and made three receptions for 18 yards and one TD.
Foster finished the year with 673 yards, the most ever by a UCLA true freshman. He was the first true freshman to lead the team in rushing since Skip Hicks in 1993 and was also the first true freshman since Hicks to rush for over 100 yards twice in the same season. On the year, he was the team's leading rusher with his 673 yards and averaged a team-best 5.3 yards per attempt. He ranked second on the team with 12 touchdowns (10 rushing and two receiving), a new school record for true freshmen.
During the regular season, he ranked fifth (tied) in the conference in scoring (7.2), seventh in rushing (63.5) and 13th in all-purpose yards (105.5).
He played in 11 games in 1998, missing most of the Oregon game and all of the contest at California with a sprained knee. Foster also averaged 26.6 yards on eight kickoff returns and 7.1 yards on eight punt returns. He led the team in rushing five times, including each of the final four regular-season games.
Top UCLA True Freshman Rushing Totals
Game TCB Net Avg. TD LG DeShaun Foster, 1998 126 673 5.3 10* 65 Shawn Wills, 1988 94 622 6.6 5 50 Skip Hicks, 1993 100 563 5.6 5 43 Gaston Green, 1984 91 516 5.7 5 72 *12 total (two receiving)
QUARTERBACK DREW BENNETT - In two games, the redshirt junior has completed 17 of 31 passes (54.8) for 258 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. In his last three halves, he is 15 of 22 (68.2) for 246 yards with two TDs and one interception. Last week at Ohio State, Bennett completed nine of 15 passes for 138 yards and one touchdown (67 yards to fullback Matt Stanley on a deflection). He also led a first-half field goal drive, making an 18-yard reception, and a touchdown drive on UCLA's first possession of the second half. However, he also threw an interception and lost a fumble - both in the third quarter.
Bennett made his first career start on Sept. 4 versus Boise State after spending the last two seasons backing up Cade McNown. He came to UCLA as a walk-on athlete from Miramonte High School, where he threw for over 2,300 yards and 18 touchdowns and ran for six more scores as a prep senior. He was awarded a scholarship prior to the start of the 1997 season.
In his debut, Bennett started slowly, completing just two of nine passes for 12 yards in the first half. However, he completed six of seven passes for 108 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown to tight end Randy Hakes, in the third quarter. In that quarter, he directed back-to-back scoring drvies of 84 and 80 yards.
He finished the night with eight completions on 16 attempts for 120 yards with one TD and one interception. He also became the first UCLA quarterback since Wayne Cook in the 1992 opener to throw a touchdown pass in his first start (Rob Walker, John Barnes, Ryan Fien and Cade McNown started games between Cook and Bennett).
As a redshirt freshman in 1997, he appeared in six games and completed three of six passes for 52 yards and one touchdown (11-yarder to Ryan Neufeld vs. UH). He saw the most extensive action of his Bruin career to date when he played the entire second half of a 66-10 win over Houston.
Last season, he also appeared in six games. He completed three of five passes for 24 yards and a touchdown (a 12-yarder to Randy Hakes vs. WSU) and caught one pass for 53 yards (a "Hail Mary" at the end of regulation vs. Oregon).
CORY PAUS - The redshirt freshman quarterback has played in both games and has completed 20 of 38 passes (52.6) for 225 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.
Paus had a tough evening at Ohio State. Playing in both halves, Paus completed eight of 20 passes for just 97 yards and threw one interception. The previous week, he enjoyed a successful debut against Boise State. completing 12 of 18 passes for 128 yards with one touchdown, a five-yard strike to Gabe Crecion to give the Bruins a 24-0 halftime lead, and two interceptions (one was a "Hail Mary" pass at the end of the first half). He completed seven of nine passes for 78 yards in the first half, directing touchdown drives of 68 and 16 yards. He had two completions of over 20 yards -- a 23-yard screen pass to DeShaun Foster and a 28-yard strike to a diving Bryan Fletcher -- on the 68-yard drive which gave UCLA a 10-0 lead.
When he connected with Crecion in the second quarter against Boise State, Paus became the first Bruin quarterback to throw a touchdown pass in his first game since Bret Johnson did it as a redshirt freshman in the 1989 opener.
OFFENSIVE TACKLE BRIAN POLAK - 1999 true junior Brian Polak is now the leader of a young offensive line. In two games, the line has allowed just four sacks (three at Ohio State) despite playing with four new starters. In 1998, Polak did an outstanding job in his first year as a starter at right tackle. The starter in all 12 games, he allowed just one sack and 9.5 hurries in 11 regular-season games, but just four in his final 10 games. He had 344 pass-blocking opportunities and 20 knockdown blocks, including four at Washington and three each versus Arizona, Stanford and Miami. He played at least 60 snaps in eight regular-season games (the last six straight).
TAILBACK JERMAINE LEWIS - The dependable Lewis gives UCLA a fine one-two punch at the tailback position. Thus far in 1999, he has gained 57 yards on 15 attempts and has the longest run from scrimmage (21 yards) by a running back. In the opener versus Boise State, he was the team's second-leading rusher with 45 yards on 10 attempts. His 21-yard run in the third quarter was UCLA's longest of the game, and his five yard touchdown, his 14th in his last 12 games, gave the Bruins a 38-0 lead with 1:31 remaining in the third quarter. Last week at Ohio State, he was held to 12 net yards on five attempts.
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. The following week against Washington State, Lewis added two more rushing scores and finished with 94 yards on 15 carries, his second-highest total of the year. His career high is 113 yards at Texas in 1998.
He finished the 1998 season as the team's second-leading rusher with a career-high 553 yards and averaged 4.3 yards per attempt. He rushed for at least 45 yards in six games and led the team in rushing five times. He led the Bruins with 13 touchdowns, a total exceeded only seven times in school history. During the regular season, Lewis ranked eighth in the Pac-10 in scoring (6.60) and eighth in rushing (50.3).
TAILBACK KEITH BROWN - Senior tailback Keith Brown, who has missed the first two games of this season, ran for at least 90 yards three times in 1998. He was the team's third-leading rusher with a career-high 423 yards and is averaged 4.3 yards per attempt. Brown ranked 11th in the Pac-10 in rushing (42.0 average). He rushed for a career-best 101 yards (19 carries) versus Oregon in his second start. He had four double-figure runs and produced six first downs. The previous week, he had started for a suspended Jermaine Lewis and rumbled for a then-best 91 yards at Arizona. Highlighting his performance in Tucson was a pair of scoring runs of 54 (career long) and 20 yards in length. Versus Stanford, Brown scampered for 94 yards on 15 carries and two TDs (33 and two yards).
FULLBACK DURELL PRICE - A year ago, senior Durell Price did a fine job in his first season as the starting fullback and saved his best for last. In the Rose Bowl contest against Wisconsin, he made three receptions for 102 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown from flanker Freddie Mitchell to go with catches of 26 and 15 yards, all producing first downs. On the year, he contributed 141 yards on the ground and ranked sixth (tied) on the squad with 14 receptions for 222 yards. At California, he had a 40-yard run en route to a season-high 56 yards. At Washington, he had a 24-yard gallop en route to 44 yards on five attempts. He also developed into a fine blocker. Price, who started 10 games a year ago, did not participate in this season's first two games.
FLANKER BRIAN POLI-DIXON - Brian Poli-Dixon, an All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection, came off the bench in the opener and made two receptions for 21 yards, including an 18-yard catch that put UCLA in the red zone on its final touchdown drive. He recorded those same numbers (two catches for 21 yards) last Saturday at Ohio State.
In 1998, he was the team's second-leading receiver with 44 receptions for 712 yards and 10 touchdowns, one of the best seasons ever by a Bruin sophomore. Only J.J. Stokes (728 yards in 1992) ever gained more yards as a sophomore, and only Mike Sherrard (48) and Kevin Jordan (45) ever made more receptions.
His 10 receiving touchdowns ranked first (tied) in the Pac-10. During his career, he has scored 12 touchdowns on 58 receptions.
His nine-catch performance at Oregon State tied for seventh on the all-time UCLA single-game receiving list. It was the most catches by a UCLA player since J.J. Stokes caught 14 balls in the 1994 Rose Bowl.
In 1997, he became only the fourth UCLA true freshman wide receiver since 1973 to catch a touchdown pass and the second to catch two in the same game (Houston).
WIDE RECEIVERS - Senior Brad Melsby has started each of the first two contests. In the opener against Boise State, he tied for the team lead with three receptions for 24 yards. Last week at Ohio State, he made two receptions for 11 yards. In 1998, he made 16 receptions (tied for third on the squad) and averaged 20.7 yards per catch, second-highest among players with at least five catches. On Nov. 7 at Oregon State, he made perhaps the catch of the year. With just 21 seconds remaining in the game and the scored tied 34-34, Melsby broke free on the right sideline, caught a pass from Cade McNown and raced to the end zone for the game-winning 61-yard touchdown.
Sophomore Freddie Mitchell, fully recovered from his fractured right femur, caught one pass for 11 yards, returned four punts for 33 yards and added one kickoff return for 15 yards in the opener. Against Ohio State, he did not catch a pass but he rushed for 31 yards on two reverses, completed his only pass attempt for 18 yards and returned four kickoffs for 73 yards.
In his debut a year ago against Texas, Mitchell made four receptions for 108 yards, including a 79-yard touchdown reception. He also threw a 34-yard touchdown pass, gained 30 yards on a reverse and returned three kickoffs for 78 yards. He suffered a fractured right femur the following week at Houston while returning a kickoff 47 yards in the first quarter.
Through hard work, he recovered in time to play a few snaps against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. On one of those plays, he tossed a 61-yard touchdown to Durell Price off a fake reverse, his second TD pass of the year.
Against Boise State, sophomore Cody Joyce, seeing his first extensive action, added two receptions for 29 yards, and Dennis Fox made a 21-yard catch.
TIGHT ENDS - UCLA's tight end quartet played a key role in the team's 38-7 victory over Boise State, making five catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Junior starter Gabe Crecion made the first touchdown catch of his career, a five-yarder in the second quarter to give the Bruins a 24-0 lead. Sophomore Bryan Fletcher, who also started against the Broncos, made two catches for 34 yards, including a diving grab for 28 yards at the four-yard line to set up UCLA's first score. Senior Randy Hakes came off the bench to make two receptions for a team-high 66 yards, including a 65-yard catch-and-run for the second touchdown of his career (the first was a 12-yard pass from Drew Bennett last season against Washington State). Freshman Mike Seidman also participated in the victory.
Against Ohio State, the tight ends caught five passes for 50 yards. Crecion, coming off the bench, made two catches for 31 yards. Fletcher, who started, added two for 11 yards, and Seidman chipped in with an eight-yard reception, the first of his career.
CORNERBACK JASON BELL - The most experienced player in the Bruin secondary, Bell has been playing despite not being totally recovered from off-season surgery for bone spurs in his heel and is tied for third on the squad with 13 tackles. Against Ohio State, he was credited with eight tackles, all primaries, including one for loss. In the opener against Boise State, he made five tackles, including four primaries. A true senior who started every game in 1998, he led the squad with 14 passes defensed and made 38 tackles. He recorded a career-high eight tackles at California and added five stops versus Stanford. He was credited with four passes defensed at Houston, three against USC and two versus Texas and Arizona.
SAFETY JASON STEPHENS - Redshirt sophomore Jason Stephens, slowed by a sprained knee in fall camp, opened the season with four tackles against Boise State despite suffering a mild concussion in the first half. Last week at Ohio State, he came off the bench and was credited with five solo tackles.
In 1998, he played well in his seven starts at strong safety. He had a career-high 11 tackles, including one for loss, in the game at Miami. In the Pac-10 finale against USC, he made four tackles, including one for loss. He also recovered two fumbles, returning one 27 yards to set up a field goal, forced a fumble and made the first interception of his career. On the year, he made 58 tackles, including five for losses, forced two fumbles and recovered a pair, and made one interception.
DEFENSIVE END KENYON COLEMAN - Junior defensive left end Kenyon Coleman, one of the leaders of the defensive line, enjoyed a successful training camp. Last week at Ohio State, he made four tackles and helped hold the Buckeyes in check early. In the opener versus Boise State, he made two tackles, including one for loss, and broke up two passes. A year ago, he earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention, making 23 tackles despite missing two full games (Washington State and Arizona) and most of a third (Houston) after suffering a sprained knee at Houston. He ranked third on the team with 4.5 sacks and was credited with seven tackles for loss.
DEFENSIVE END PETE HOLLAND - Senior right tackle Pete Holland, UCLA's defensive captain, started 10 games (two at left end and eight on the right side) a year ago, missing only against Washington State (nickel package) and Wisconsin (elbow injury). He made 18 tackles, including four each against Oregon and Oregon State. Last week at Ohio State, he made two tackles and also broke up two passes in the opener against Boise State.
KEN KOCHER - The true sophomore, who made his first career start in the 1999 Rose Bowl, leads the defensive linemen with 12 tackles, including three for loss, after two games. Against the Buckeyes, he was credited with eight tackles (four primaries), including two for losses. He also recovered a fumble to end an OSU drive in the third quarter. In the opener against Boise State, he contributed four tackles.
THE DEFENSIVE LINE - A couple of other young players have made contributions on the defensive line. True sophomore Anthony Fletcher came off the bench to make six tackles, including two for loss, against Ohio State after making three versus Boise State. Redshirt freshman Rusty Williams, a starter at right end, made three stops, including one for loss, against Ohio State and made two against Boise State. The line will be without senior end Travor Turner for the remainder of the season. He tore the ACL in his right knee in the opener.
LINEBACKER TONY WHITE - The junior middle linebacker did not play in the team's first two games this season. In 1998, White started all 12 games and played at least 50 defensive snaps eight times, including 82 versus Oregon, 77 at Houston and 74 against Arizona and California. He was the team's third-leading tackler with 69 stops and ranked third on the squad with two interceptions.
In the second game of the season against Houston, he made five tackles and his first career interception. He added six stops in a fine all-around game versus WSU. Against Arizona, he made five stops, including one for loss, and his second interception and also forced a fumble. In the victory over Oregon, he recorded six stops, one tackle for loss and a fumble recovery which led to the Bruins' go-ahead score late in the fourth quarter. At California, he recorded a career-best 10 tackles to lead the squad. In the Stanford game, he had four tackles and one tackle for loss and added five stops against Oregon State and Washington. In the win over USC, he recovered a fumble to set up UCLA's second touchdown and was credited with three tackles. At Miami, he matched his career high with 10 tackles. In the Rose Bowl against Wisconsin, he made eight tackles.
LINEBACKER RYAN NECE - The sophomore linebacker, a 1998 first-team Freshman All-American and an All-Pac-10 honorable mention choice, did not appear in the team's first two games this season. In 1998, he had a career-high and team-best 12 tackles at Miami. He had an outstanding day versus WSU with eight stops and two tackles for loss, including a sack. At Arizona, he added six stops, including a 13-yard sack. In the Oregon game, he made five stops, including a tackle for loss. At California, he made nine tackles, including one sack and a second for a loss. Versus Stanford, he shared team-best honors with eight stops. He had eight stops at Oregon State in addition to a pass breakup and forced fumble. He added seven stops in the win at Washington. In the win over USC, Nece made seven tackles, tied for second on the squad, recovered a fumble and recorded one quarterback sack. At Miami, he led the Bruins with a career-high 12 tackles. In the Rose Bowl, he made eight tackles, including his sixth sack of the season. Nece was the team's No. 2 tackler behind All-American Larry Atkins with 85 and ranked second with six sacks and 10 tackles for losses. He also recovered two fumbles and forced one while defensing five passes. Nece started the final nine games of the year, moving into the lineup against Arizona, and made at least seven tackles eight times, including each of the last seven games. He played at least 66 defensive snaps in each of those games, including 80 at Oregon State, 78 at Washington, 75 versus Oregon and 69 against USC and Stanford.
DEFENSIVE BACK RYAN ROQUES - One of the few seniors on the defensive unit, Roques did not play in the Bruins' first two games this season. In 1998, he started six of the final 10 games and was tied for sixth in the Pac-10 with his four interceptions. On the year, he made 59 tackles, fifth on the squad, and defensed nine passes. He made a career-high 13 tackles at Oregon State, the most by a Bruin this year, and added seven versus USC and California, six at Washington and Arizona and four each versus Stanford and Houston. He also forced a fumble against USC.
His four interceptions came in consecutive games against Houston, Washington State, Arizona and Oregon. He returned his pick against Houston 17 yards for a touchdown to give the Bruins a 35-14 lead. He played at least 60 defensive snaps in seven games, including 82 versus Oregon, 78 at Arizona, 73 against Stanford, 72 at Oregon State and 71 at California (Miami and Wisconsin games not included).
Roques became an outstanding special teams weapon and earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention in that area. During the regular season, he averaged 12.5 yards (14th nationally) on 19 punt returns and 27.9 yards on 12 kickoff returns. Including the Rose Bowl, his final averages were 12.7 yards on punt returns and 27.2 on kickoff returns. His punt return average was the highest by a Bruin since 1995, when Paul Guidry averaged 15.1 yards on 25 returns. His kickoff return average was the highest by a Bruin with six or more returns since 1969, when Ron Carver averaged 31.9 yards on eight attempts. His 81-yard kickoff return at Washington was UCLA's longest since 1980 (Jojo Townsell, 100 yards vs. California) while his 77-yard punt return for a touchdown was UCLA's first TD of that kind since 1995 (Paul Guidry vs. Arizona State). He had 211 total return yards against the Huskies -- 120 on three kickoffs and 91 on three punts.
OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS - Due to the aforementioned suspensions, several players had a chance to contribute in the 1999 opener, and many took advantage of the opportunity.
In the secondary, senior walk-on safety Joey Strycula has made a team-high 16 tackles in the first two games. Against Ohio State, he accounted for seven tackles and made his second interception of the year, returning it 22 yards. In the opener against Boise State, he led the team with nine tackles and an interception in his first career start.
True freshman corner Ricky Manning has come off the bench to make things happen in his first two games as a Bruin. He leads the team with five tackles behind the line of scrimmage and is second on the squad with 15 tackles. Against Ohio State, Manning made a career-high eight tackles, including two for losses, and also broke up two passes. In the opener versus Boise State, he made seven tackles, including three for losses.
True freshman outside linebacker Marcus Reese came off the bench to lead the Bruins with nine tackles against Ohio State, including three behind the line of scrimmage. He is tied for the team lead with 13 tackles and tied for second with three tackles for loss.
Sophomore Ed Stansbury, starting at middle linebacker, has made 11 tackles in two games, including six at Ohio State and five versus Boise State.
JUST FOR KICKS - UCLA's new kickers have enjoyed some success in the year's first two games. Redshirt freshman place kicker Chris Griffith has made all three of his field goal attempts (35 and 33 yards against Ohio State and 37 yards against Boise State) and has also kicked seven PATs. True freshman punter Nate Fikse has averaged 37.6 yards on 10 kicks and has had just five returned for 37 yards (33.9 net). He averaged 40.7 yards on six kicks at Ohio State after averaging 33.0 yards on four kicks in his career debut versus Boise State. Fikse is also handling the kickoff chores, and opponents are averaging just 16.3 yards on 10 returns.
NEW STARTERS - Against Ohio State, fullback Matt Stanley and strong safety Julius Williams made the first starts of their careers. In the first two games, 16 position players plus both kickers have made their first career starts. In the opener against Boise State, 14 position players - eight on offense and six on defense - made their first starts. Defensively, the new starters in the opener were CB Joe Hunter (redshirt freshman), OLBs Billy Pieper (redshirt junior) and Asi Faoa (true freshman), MLB Ed Stansbury (redshirt sophomore), FS Joey Strycula (redshirt senior), and DE Rusty Williams (redshirt freshman). Offensively, the new starters were FL Freddie Mitchell (redshirt sophomore), OT Blake Worley (redshirt freshman), OG Mike Saffer (redshirt freshman), C Troy Danoff (redshirt sophomore), TEs Gabe Crecion (redshirt junior) and Bryan Fletcher (redshirt sophomore), RB DeShaun Foster (true sophomore) and QB Drew Bennett (redshirt junior). Place kicker Chris Griffith (redshirt freshman) and punter Nate Fikse (true freshman) also made their debuts.
The starting lineup at Ohio State included five seniors, four juniors, nine sophomores and four redshirt freshmen. Of the five seniors, one made his fifth career start, one made his third start and one made his second start.
FIRST TIME - Nineteen Bruins made their varsity debut against Boise State - 13 redshirt freshmen (offensive linemen Blake Worley and Mike Saffer, quarterback Cory Paus, running backs Adam Geitner and Ken Pritchett, defensive linemen Sean Phillips, Steve Morgan, Rusty Williams and Saia Makakaufaki, linebacker Chris Jackson, defensive backs Joe Hunter and Paul Nelson and place kicker Chris Griffith) and six true freshmen (linebackers Asi Faoa and Marcus Reese, cornerback Ricky Manning Jr., offensive tackle Bryce Bohlander, tight end Mike Seidman and punter Nate Fikse).
Against Ohio State, redshirt freshmen defensive backs Lovell Houston and Audie Attar played for the first time in their careers. Walk-on Kurt Jasso punted for the first time following UCLA's last possession.
CAREER STARTS - Offense - WR: Danny Farmer (0/27), Brad Melsby (2/5), Brian Poli-Dixon (0/10) Freddie Mitchell (2/2), OL: Brian Polak (2/14), Matt Phelan (2/3), Troy Danoff (2/2), Blake Worley (2/2), Mike Saffer (2/2), Oscar Cabrera (0/7), James Ghezzi (0/4), TE: Gabe Crecion (1/1), Bryan Fletcher (2/2), QB: Drew Bennett (2/2), RB: DeShaun Foster (2/2), Jermaine Lewis (0/9), Matt Stanley (1/1), Durell Price (0/10), Keith Brown (0/3), PK: Chris Griffith (2/2).
Defense - DL: Pete Holland (2/19), Kenyon Coleman (2/11), Ken Kocher (2/3), Rusty Williams (2/2), Anthony Fletcher (0/1), Travor Turner (0/3), Stephen Sua (0/1), LB: Ed Stansbury (2/2), Billy Pieper (2/2), Asi Faoa (1/1), Tony White (0/12), Ryan Nece (0/9), Santi Hall (1/12), DB: Jason Bell (2/19), Jason Stephens (1/8). Joey Strycula (2/2), Joe Hunter (2/2), Julius Williams (1/1), Eric Whitfield (0/5), Ryan Roques (0/6), P: Nate Fikse (2/2).
BRUINS IN 1999 PAC-10/NCAA RANKINGS -
Joey Strycula - interceptions (T-3rd in NCAA, T-1st in Pac-10, 1.0), tackles (T-5th in Pac-10, 8.0)
Chris Griffith - field goals (T-16th in NCAA, T-3rd in Pac-10, 1.5), field goal percentage (T-1st in Pac-10, 100.0), scoring (T-9th in Pac-10, 8.0)
DeShaun Foster - rushing (9th in Pac-10, 53.0)
Drew Bennett - passing efficiency (5th in Pac-10, 133.1), passing yards (7th in Pac-10, 129.0), total offense (10th in Pac-10, 132.0)
Cory Paus - passing efficiency (10th in Pac-10, 112.5)
Freddie Mitchell - kickoff returns (6th in Pac-10, 17.6), punt returns (8th in Pac-10, 7.0)
Julius Williams - interceptions (T-6th in Pac-10, 0.5)
Nate Fikse - punting (8th in Pac-10, 37.6)
Ricky Manning Jr. - tackles (T-10th in Pac-10, 7.5), tackles for loss (T-2nd in Pac-10, five)
Rush Offense - 5th in Pac-10, 132.5
Pass Offense - 4th in Pac-10, 250.5
Total Offense - 5th in Pac-10, 383.0
Scoring Offense - 6th in Pac-10, 29.0
Pass Efficiency Defense - 4th in Pac-10, 109.8
Scoring Defense - 4th in Pac-10, 24.5
CLASSROOM STANDOUTS - In 1998, center Shawn Stuart was selected first-team GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American. Punter/place kicker Chris Sailer and offensive guard Andy Meyers were selected to the 1998 GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-District-8 team.
Twenty members of the 1999 team earned a spot on the Director's Honor Roll (3.0 or higher GPA) during the 1998-99 school year. Ten of them earned a spot during two or more of the three quarters.
UCLA's football program has produced 15 NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship winners (50 in all sports, including three in 1997-98 and two -- center Shawn Stuart and kicker Chris Sailer, in 1998-99), 16 Academic All-Americans (13 first-team selections), four NCAA Today's Top Six honorees, one NACDA/Disney Scholar-Athlete and two Academic All-America Hall of Fame inductees.
RED ZONE - In two games, UCLA has reached the Red Zone on seven occasions and has scored six times -- four touchdowns (three rushing, one passing) and two field goals. The seventh drive ended in an interception. Against Ohio State, the Bruins scored one rushing TD and two field goals on three trips. UCLA's two opponents have been in the Red Zone nine times and have scored seven times (four rushing touchdowns and three passing touchdowns). Ohio State was six for seven with four of the TDs on the ground.
In 1998, the Bruins converted their first 14 red zone opportunities in 1998 and finished the year 50 of 57 (38 TDs and 12 FG). A breakdown of the 38 touchdowns - 27 rushing and 11 passing. UCLA opponents scored 28 touchdowns(19 rushing and 9 passing) and 10 field goals on 44 trips into the red zone.
TURNOVERS - In two games, UCLA has created six turnovers (four interceptions and two fumbles) and has converted them into 14 points (two touchdowns). The Bruins accounted for only 12 interceptions in 12 games a year ago. UCLA has turned the ball over seven times (five interceptions and two fumbles) and opponents have converted them into 14 points (two touchdowns).
In 1998, the Bruins forced 34 turnovers (12 interceptions and 22 fumbles) and converted them into 92 points (11 touchdowns, five FGs and 11 PATs). Conversely, opponents converted 19 UCLA turnovers (12 interceptions and seven fumbles) into 76 points.
PAC-10 STANDINGS - 1997-99 (Two-plus Years)
Team Overall Pac-10 UCLA 21-5 15-1 Arizona 21-7 11-5 Arizona State 15-9 10-6 Oregon 16-10 8-8 USC 15-10 9-7 Washington 14-11 9-7 Wash. State 13-12 7-10 Oregon State 10-14 2-14 California 9-15 4-12 Stanford 9-15 6-11
PAC-10 STANDINGS - 1996-99 (Three-plus Years)
Team Overall Pac-10 Arizona State 26-10 18-6 UCLA 26-11 19-5 Arizona 26-13 14-10 Washington 23-14 16-8 Oregon 22-15 11-13 USC 21-16 12-12 Wash. State 18-18 10-15 Stanford 16-20 11-14 California 15-21 7-17 Oregon State 12-23 3-21
BRUINS IN THE NFL - As of Sept. 12, 27 former Bruins were listed on 1999 NFL rosters, including two on injured reserve and two on practice squads.
Including Cade McNown (No. 12 selection of the Bears) this past April, UCLA has had seven first-round selections in the last nine years and 16 in the last 21 years. In 1993, UCLA led the nation with former players on opening day rosters. Twelve former Bruins on active NFL rosters have played in 24 Super Bowls, including six-time performer Mike Lodish, Marvcus Patton with four appearances and Troy Aikman and Ken Norton with three each.
Ten members of last year's team signed NFL contracts as draftees or free agents and four were on opening day rosters.
RADIO - The 1999 season is UCLA's third 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. In addition, XTRA 1150 provides ancillary programming during the week, including Bob Toledo shows.
Chris Roberts, a four-time Golden Mike Award winner, is in his eighth 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 / pre-game host. Stations on the Bruin network include: KNZR 1560AM (Bakersfield, CA), KMET 1490AM (Banning, CA), KCBL 1340AM (Fresno, CA), KAVL 610AM (Lancaster/Palmdale, CA), KBAD/KENO 920/1460AM (Las Vegas, NV), KAOI 1110AM (Maui, HI), KCKC 1350AM (Riverside/San Bernardino, CA), KXXT 1340AM (Santa Barbara, CA), KBET 1220AM (Santa Clarita, CA), KRKO 1380AM (Seattle/Tacoma, WA), KLYF 850AM (Thousand Oaks, CA), KVEN 1450AM (Ventura/Oxnard, CA), KVBL 1400AM (Visalia, CA).
UCLA games are also available via the internet at (www.uclabruins.com), (www.xtra1150.com) and (www.broadcast.com) or by dialing 1-800-846-4700 (ext. 5929) to listen to the broadcast on the telephone.
TELEVISION - This week's game against Fresno State will be televised live on Fox Sports Net West 2 with Bill Macdonald and Mike Sherrard in the booth and Heather Cox on the sidelines. Including last week's game on ABC, 69 of UCLA's last 73 games have appeared on live television.
Each of UCLA's first three games - Boise State, Ohio State and Fresno State (Fox Sports West 2) will have been televised live. The Stanford game (Sept. 25) will begin at 2 p.m. and will not be televised live.
The UCLA Sports Magazine show, featuring highlights and interviews, airs several times each week during the season, beginning on Thursdays at 4:00 p.m.
PASADENA PARKING SHUTTLE - UCLA is again operating a free shuttle service from the Parsons Engineering Building in Pasadena to the Rose Bowl. However, there is a $4 charge for parking at the Parsons lot. Service from the supervised lot, located at Fair Oaks and Walnut, begins four hours prior to kickoff. Return service begins at the start of the third quarter and continues for up to one hour after the game.