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UCLA Opens 2000 Season Sept. 2 In Rose Bowl vs. Alabama
Courtesy: UCLA Athletics  
Release:  07/29/2000

July 29, 2000

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FIRST GAME - UCLA will open the 2000 season versus Alabama on Sept. 2 in the Rose Bowl at 12:30 p.m. in a game to be televised on ABC. The Bruins concluded the 1999 season with a record of 4-7 overall and 2-6 (ninth) in Pac-10 play.

OUTLOOK - UCLA returns 17 starters from last season - seven on offense and eight on defense plus both kickers. In addition, three 1998 starters who redshirted a year ago also return.

On offense, the Bruins return all five starters on the line, including tackles Brian Polak and Blake Worley, guards Oscar Cabrera and Mike Saffer and center Troy Danoff, plus tight end Gabe Crecion, quarterback Cory Paus and wide receiver Brian Poli-Dixon, a 1998 starter.

On defense, the returnees include end Kenyon Coleman, the linebacker trio of Tony White, Robert Thomas and Ryan Nece, tackle Ken Kocher, end Rusty Williams, cornerback Ricky Manning,Jr., safety Lovell Houston and two 1998 starters - defensive backs Jason Bell and Marques Anderson. Punter Nate Fikse and place kicker Chris Griffith round out the returning starters.

Other key returnees include leading receiver Freddie Mitchell, 1998 leading rusher DeShaun Foster at tailback, tight end Bryan Fletcher and quarterback Ryan McCann on offense. Tackle Anthony Fletcher, linebacker Santi Hall and 1998 starting safety Jason Stephens are back on defense.

BRUIN HEAD COACH BOB TOLEDO - The Bruin head coach owns a record of 29-17 (21-11 in Pac-10 play) and a winning percentage of .630 during his four 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 24-5 when it scores at least 30 points and 13-1 when it scores at least 40. It is 5-12 when it scores 29 or fewer points. The Bruins are 24-3 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 20-3 when leading at the half and has won five times after trailing at the half and four when tied at the half.

DID YOU KNOW? - UCLA has compiled a winning percentage of .686 over the last three years, best in the Pac-10. UCLA has won 24 games in those three seasons and only Arizona has more wins (25-12, .676), winning once in two games. UCLA's 17 conference wins in that span are more than any other school in the Pac-10. 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.

Nineteen Bruins made their varsity debut in last year's opener against Boise State - 13 redshirt freshmen 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).

UCLA is the only school to produce five quarterbacks - Troy Aikman, Steve Bono, Billy Kilmer, Tom Ramsey, Jay Schroeder - who have played in the Super Bowl. 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. 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.

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.

Defensive back Lovell Houston's 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown at Stanford, on his first-ever touch of the football as a Bruin, was the first by a Bruin since Jojo Townsell's 100-yard scoring effort vs. California in 1980. 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.

THE DEFENSE

DEFENSIVE END KENYON COLEMAN - Senior defensive left end Kenyon Coleman, one of the leaders of the defensive line, enjoyed a successful 1999 season. He was one of just four Bruins to start all 11 games.

In the 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.

On the year, Coleman made 50 tackles to rank sixth on the squad and most 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 with his leaping ability at the line.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE KEN KOCHER - The true junior, who made his first career start in the 1999 Rose Bowl, ranked second among defensive linemen with 43 tackles last season, including five for loss. At Arizona State, Kocher made seven tackles, including one for loss. Against Fresno State, he was credited with six tackles, including one for loss, and broke up one pass. 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.

LINEBACKER ROBERT THOMAS - A true junior, Thomas moved into the starting lineup in 1999 at middle linebacker. 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 the season finale against USC, he was credited with seven tackles.

On the year, 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 - Nece, a junior linebacker who was a 1998 first-team Freshman All-American, made his debut last season against Fresno State. Starting on the outside, he 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. On Oct. 9 against Oregon, he made two tackles, broke up one pass and blocked a punt with one hand.

He played very well in the final four games of the year, averaging 9.8 tackles (39 total). On Oct. 23 at Oregon State, he led the Bruins with 10 tackles, including his first sack of the season. The following week against Arizona, he again made 10 tackles, including seven primaries. On Nov. 13 against Washington, he recorded nine tackles and recovered a fumble. In the finale 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. He averaged 7.2 stops per game, the second-highest average on the team.

LINEBACKER TONY WHITE - The true senior, who did not play in the team's first two games, started at one of the outside spots after playing inside in 1998. However, on Oct. 30 against Arizona, he shifted back to the middle because of the absence of Robert Thomas and responded with a team-high 12 tackles, (11 primaries), including two for losses. Against USC, he made seven tackles, including five primaries.

On Oct. 23 at Oregon State, White came off the bench (the Bruins started two linebackers and five defensive backs) to make eight tackles. On Oct. 16 against California, he made seven tackles, including 1.5 quarterback sacks and a third stop behind the line of scrimmage. Against Fresno State, he made seven tackles and recovered a fumble to set up UCLA's go-ahead touchdown late in the third quarter. On the year, 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.

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS - True sophomore corner Ricky Manning Jr. made his first career start against Fresno State in 1999. 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 Fresno State, he returned an interception 83 yards to set up a field goal. Against Ohio State, Manning made a career-high eight tackles, including two for losses. Manning ranked fourth (tied) on the squad with 53 tackles and led the Bruins with 10 stops behind the line.

True sophomore outside linebacker Marcus Reese, who was the lone linebacker in UCLA's dime package, 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, he made 37 tackles, including four for losses.

Redshirt sophomore Lovell Houston made his first career start in 1999 at Oregon State and recorded nine tackles. Prior to his start, he had played just 11 defensive snaps, including six at Ohio State. Against Arizona, he added four tackles and broke up two passes. In the win over Washington, Houston was credited with six tackles but suffered a concussion and did not play versus USC.

Two players who figure to start in 2000, Jason Bell and Marques Anderson, were forced to use the 1999 season as a redshirt campaign. Senior cornerback Jason Bell, a 1998 starter, did not play past the second game of 1999 due to pain in his heel following off-season surgery. Junior cornerback Marques Anderson, a part-time starter in 1998, missed the entire season due to off-season problems. After a strong showing during Spring practice, Anderson is projected to start at a safety position.

THE OFFENSE

RYAN McCANN - Redshirt sophomore Ryan McCann, entered the 1999 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 the victory over Washington, McCann became the Bruins' No. 1 quarterback when Cory 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 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. However, he also threw three interceptions (none were converted into scores) and was sacked six times.

CORY PAUS - The redshirt sophomore quarterback started seven games in 1999 after beginning the season as the No. 2 signalcaller. Coming off the bench in relief of Drew Bennett, Paus completed 12 of 18 passes for 128 yards with one touchdown versus Boise State, a five-yard strike to Gabe Crecion. When he connected with Crecion, he became the first Bruin quarterback to throw a touchdown pass in his first game since Bret Johnson did it as a redshirt freshman in 1989. The following week at Ohio State, he saw action in both halves, completing eight of 20 passes for 97 yards and one interception in relief of Bennett.

He made the first start of his career against Fresno State on Sept. 18 and was playing well when he suffered bruised ribs early in the second quarter. At that time, he had completed nine of 12 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. On Oct. 2, Paus returned to action at Arizona State and completed 15 of 40 passes for 235 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Paus had the best game of his young career against Oregon. He completed 21 of 34 passes for a career-high 332 yards and two touchdowns. His 332 passing yards tied Tommy Maddox (1990 vs. Oregon) for the No. 3 effort among Bruin freshmen. Only Maddox (409 vs. USC and 353 at Michigan) ever threw for more yards as a freshman. His 324 yards total offense ranked No. 4 on that list.

Against Arizona, he threw for 230 yards and one touchdown but was sacked seven times. Against Washington, his season came to an end when he suffered a fractured left collarbone on UCLA's second offensive play of the second quarter.

JERMAINE LEWIS - The dependable senior gained 216 yards on 63 attempts and scored one touchdown in 1999. Last year 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.

DESHAUN FOSTER - True junior DeShaun Foster, a first-team Freshman All-American in 1998, led the Bruins in rushing five times in 1999. However, he carried just five times in the month of October due to a high sprain of his right ankle incurred at Stanford. On the year, he finished as the team's second-leading rusher with 375 yards and led the squad with six touchdowns. He also placed fourth on the squad with 17 receptions. Foster played in nine games and started five times (first four / USC).

He enjoyed his best game of the season at Stanford when he romped for 100 yards on 19 carries and scored two touchdowns. He produced seven runs resulting in first downs in addition to the two TDs. Foster also caught three passes for 33 yards. The 100-yard performance at Stanford was the third of his career (118 at Arizona in 1998, 109 vs. USC in 1998).

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 receiving), a school record for true freshmen.

WIDE RECEIVERS - Junior Freddie Mitchell, recovered from his fractured right femur (hurt in the second game of the 1998 season during a kickoff return) to become UCLA's leading receiver. On the year, he made 38 receptions for 533 yards (14.0 average). 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. On Oct. 23 at Oregon State, he led the team with five catches for 58 yards. Against Washington, he led the Bruins with 82 receiving yards on four catches In the finale against USC, he made five catches for a team-high 88 yards, including two 37-yard receptions.

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. He returned to action in the 1999 Rose Bowl and tossed a 61-yard touchdown to Durell Price off a fake reverse.

Redshirt junior Brian Poli-Dixon, an All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection in 1998, was the team's second-leading receiver that season 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.

OFFENSIVE LINE - All five starters return to the unit, which is led by a pair of seniors and three-year starters Oscar Cabrera (left) and Brian Polak (right) at guard.

Fourth-year junior Troy Danoff started the first nine games of 1999 at center before suffering a knee injury. Sophomore Bryce Bohlander, who started the final two games at left tackle, is expected to open there this season. Sophomore Mike Saffer will move to right tackle after starting seven times at right guard in 1999. Sophomore Blake Worley, who started 10 games last season at tackle, will compete for playing time at guard this year.

TIGHT ENDS - The tight end position is one of the deepest and most experienced units on the Bruin team. Senior starter Gabe Crecion, who led the group with 12 catches last season, made the first touchdown catch of his career in the season opener against Boise State. Junior Bryan Fletcher, who also started against the Broncos, made two catches for 34 yards, including a diving grab for 28 yards to set up UCLA's first score.

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 Mike Seidman chipped in with an eight-yard reception, the first of his career.

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.

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.

CAREER STARTS (1999 starts / career starts) -

Offense - WR: Brian Poli-Dixon (0/10) Freddie Mitchell (6/6), OL: Brian Polak (11/23), Troy Danoff (9/9), Blake Worley (10/10), Mike Saffer (7/7), Oscar Cabrera (9/16), Bryce Bohlander (2/2), Micah Webb (1/11 (10 at DL)), TE: Gabe Crecion (7/7), Bryan Fletcher (3/3), QB: Cory Paus (7/7), Ryan McCann (1/1), Drew Bennett (3/3), RB: DeShaun Foster (5/5), Jermaine Lewis (0/9), Matt Stanley (1/1), PK: Chris Griffith (10/10).

Defense - DL: Kenyon Coleman (11/20), Ken Kocher (9/10), Rusty Williams (11/11), Anthony Fletcher (3/4), Stephen Sua (0/1), LB: Ed Stansbury (2/2), Billy Pieper (2/2), Asi Faoa (1/1), Tony White (8/20), Ryan Nece (9/18), Robert Thomas (8/8), Santi Hall (1/12), DB: Jason Bell (2/19), Jason Stephens (1/8), Joe Hunter (4/4), Ricky Manning Jr. (9/9), Julius Williams (2/2), Lovell Houston (3/3), Paul Nelson (1/1), P: Nate Fikse (11/11).

RED ZONE - In 11 games, 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 11 games, 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.

UCLA In the Magazines
National Rankings: No 20 by The Sporting News, No. 22 by Athlon, No. 29 by Lindy's Pac-10 Rankings: No. 3 by The Sporting News, Athlon, Lindy's, Street & Smith's, Preview Sports

Defensive end Kenyon Coleman
Second-team All-America: The Sporting News
Honorable mention All-America: Street & Smith's
First-team All-Pac-10: The Sporting News, Street & Smith's
Second-team All-Pac-10: Lindy's

Guard Brian Polak
Second-team All-America: The Sporting News
First-team All-Pac-10: The Sporting News, Lindy's, Street & Smith's

Tailback DeShaun Foster
Honorable mention All-America: Street & Smith's
Doak Walker Candidate: Street & Smith's
First-team All-Pac-10: The Sporting News, Lindy's

Wide receiver Freddie Mitchell
Honorable mention All-America: Street & Smith's
Biletnikoff Award Candidate: Street & Smith's
First-team All-Pac-10: The Sporting News, Lindy's (all-purpose)

Outside linebacker Ryan Nece
Honorable mention All-America: Street & Smith's
First-team All-Pac-10: Preview Sports

Middle linebacker Robert Thomas
Honorable mention All-America: Street & Smith's

Wide receiver Brian Poli-Dixon
First-team All-Pac-10: Lindy's
Second-team All-Pac-10: The Sporting News

Guard Oscar Cabrera
Second-team All-Pac-10: Lindy's

Defensive tackle Ken Kocher
Second-team All-Pac-10: Lindy's

Inside linebacker Robert Thomas
Second-team All-Pac-10: Lindy's

BRUINS IN THE NFL - As of July 20, 35 former Bruins were listed on 2000 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 and Billy Ray Smith will call the action from the booth and Matt Stevens will again be on the sidelines. In addition, XTRA 1150 provides ancillary programming during the week, including Bob Toledo shows.

UCLA games will also be 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). 77 of UCLA's last 82 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 one on Fox Sports Net West 2.

  • 2000 UCLA FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
  • 1999 UCLA FOOTBALL RESULTS


  • ‹ UCLA Football



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