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The Bruins (2-0), ranked 22nd in the Associated Press poll and 23rd in the USA Today Coaches poll, will conclude the non-conference segment of their schedule against Conference USA opponent Houston (0-2) on Saturday, September 15. Kickoff is set for 7:37 p.m. PT and the game will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks with Ted Robinson and Glenn Parker in the booth and former Bruin linebacker Ryan Nece (1998-2001) on the sidelines. UCLA will play a game as a ranked team for the first time since Sept. 15, 2007 after posting season-opening wins over Rice and then 17th-ranked Nebraska.
The Last Meeting
September 3, 2011
The Bruin IMG Radio Network (Chris Roberts, Matt Stevens and Wayne Cook) will radio broadcast the contest on 1150am in the Los Angeles area. The game will also be aired nationally on SIRIUS (Ch. 92), XM (Ch. 199).
VS. HOUSTON --
The Cougars and the Bruins will wrap up a three-game series with this year's meeting in the Rose Bowl. The teams have split the first two meetings and the all-time series is tied at 3-3.
These two teams clashed in Houston in the 2011 season-opener and the Cougars came away with a 38-34 win. Johnathan Franklin ran for 128 yards in that contest and Joseph Fauria caught six passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. Richard Brehaut passed for 264 yards and two scores. UCLA racked up 554 yards of total offense, but it was not enough as UH jumped out to an early lead and held on. In the last meeting in the Rose Bowl, UCLA prevailed 31-13 over the 23rd-ranked Cougars in game three of the 2010 season. Franklin scored three rushing touchdowns in that battle and accumulated 158 yards rushing.
**RB Johnathan Franklin leads the nation in rushing after putting back-to-back 200 yard-plus rushing efforts together against Rice (214) and Nebraska (217)...he also leads the nation in all-purpose yardage (249.5)
**QB Brett Hundley's 358 yards of total offense were the third-highest total ever by a Bruin freshman and rank #16 on the all-time school list
**In the second half of its first two contests, UCLA has allowed a total of 183 yards of offense and six points
**Franklin's individual rushing average of 215.5 yds/g would rank 31st in the nation as a team on the list of 119 other (not including UCLA) NCAA FBS schools
**This was Franklin's 12th career 100-yard rushing game, tied for sixth on all-time list with Wendell Tyler
**LB Eric Kendricks has started the last five games and totaled 41 tackles in those contests (8.2 avg.) ... he had a career-best 11 stops at Rice
**UCLA has won 22 of its last 27 non-conference matchups in the Rose Bowl (dating back to 1998)
**The 653 yards gained against Nebraska was the sixth-highest total in school history and most since 2005; It marked the first time UCLA has put together back-to-back games with at least 645 yards of total offense (646 yards at Rice)
**Franklin's 3,100 yds rushing total ranks five among active FBS players (1-Montee Ball of Wisconsin - 3,491)
**UCLA has now won nine of its last 16 home games played against AP-ranked opponents (dating to 2005)
**Franklin became the third UCLA back to rush for at least 200 yards in at least three games, joining Gaston Green (3) and Karim Abdul-Jabbar (3) ... Abdul-Jabbar rushed for over 200 yards in three straight games in the 1995 season against Stanford (261), Cal (217) and Arizona State (207).
**UCLA had six 200-yard rushing games last season and has opened the 2012 season with a 344-yard total vs. Nebraska and a 343-yard total at Rice ... The Bruins have won 23 straight games in which they have rushed for at least 250 yards (80-3-1 all-time)
**The 85 points scored in first two games of season are most in two opening games since 2005 season (107)
** Y receiver Joseph Fauria, on the Mackey Award Watch List, caught his 10th and 11th career scoring passes vs. Nebraska marking the third game in his career with multiple tds
**UCLA played eight true freshmen in the opener at Rice - OL Simon Goines, WR Jordan Payton, F Kenneth Walker, CB Ishmael Adams, CB Fabian Moreau, DL Ellis McCarthy, PK Ka'imi Fairbairn, DB Randall Goforth
**With a career total of 3,100 yds, Franklin became the seventh UCLA back with 3,000 yards rushing and is now just 41 yards shy of moving into sixth on the all-time school rushing list
**True freshman Randall Goforth started at safety against Nebraska and led the team with nine tackles
**UCLA had 5-1 record in Rose Bowl last season and Bruins won all four Pac-12 conference home games
**The 2011 season marked the eighth straight season in which UCLA has won its first conference game of the year and then gone on to become bowl eligible
**Nine of the last 13 UCLA quarterbacks making their first start have helped lead the team to a win
**Redshirt soph safety Tevin McDonald tied the school record in 2011 with three interceptions against Cal
**Senior punter Jeff Locke, on the Ray Guy Watch list, placed a personal-best 26 punts inside the 20 in 2011 and has seven so far this season, with four fair catches, as he helps UCLA win the field position battle
FOR THE HOUSTON GAME -- Honorary Captain
The Bruins welcome back Nick Ekbatani (2006-09) as this week's honorary captain. Ekbatani started 14 games in his career at UCLA after transferring in from LA Harbor College. He was the only Bruin offensive lineman to start all 12 games in the 2008 season. He made his first career start against Tennessee in 2008 and was named the Offensive Player of the Game. Ekbatani was named to the Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 Academic team in 2008 and to the UCLA Athletic Director's Honor Roll over three different years. He attended South High School in Torrance, CA and where he was an All-CIF performer.
Upon his graduation from UCLA in 2009, he began a job at ESPNHS, a website that focuses on high school sports. In July, Ekbatani was involved in a serious motorcycle accident and doctors were forced to remove part of his left leg below the knee. Since that accident, Nick's positive and competitive attitude has served as an inspiration to his family, friends, and the UCLA and South Bay communities. In addition, a website devoted to raising funds for a prosthetic has realized more than $60,000, through last week.
THIS AND THAT ABOUT THE BRUINS
Linebacker Eric Kendricks(#6) is the son of former Bruin, Marv Kendricks, who led UCLA in rushing in 1970 and 1971; Eric's brother, Mychal, is a former linebacker at Cal who is now in the NFL ... Defensive back Tevin McDonald's(#7) brother, Tim Jr., plays at USC and his dad, Tim, played in the NFL from 1987-99 with the Cardinals and 49ers ... Defensive back Sheldon Price's(#22) dad, Dennis, played at UCLA from 1984-87 and then in the NFL with the Raiders ... Punter Jeff Locke(#18) has been named to the All-Conference academic team the past three seasons; he has finished 12th (2011), fourth (2010) and 16th (2009) in the nation in punting average ... OL Xavier Su'a-Filo (#56) spent the last two years on an LDS mission in Alabama and Forida during which time he learned the Spanish language ... LB Anthony Barr's(#11) dad, Tony Brooks, was a fourth-round pick of the Eagles in the 1992 draft, after playing at Notre Dame ... Reserve fullback Luke Gane(#49) underwent chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant in high school to help overcome a rare blood disorder (aplastic anemia) ... Offensive guard Alexandru Ceachir (#76) came to this country two years ago from Moldova (located between Romania and Ukraine) and can speak four languages - Russian, English, Romanian, Ukranian ... Freshman linebacker Aaron Porter's (#30) mom, Sandy, played in the Softball World Series for Long Beach State and is in the school's Hall of Fame ... Running back Jordon James (#6) has a black belt in Taekwondo ... Defensive back Brandon Sermons'(#2) brother, Rodney, also played for USC ... Brett Hundley's(#17) dad, Brett, Sr., lettered at running back for the University of Arizona ... Most of the Bruin coaching staff has a tie to the NFL - head coach Jim Mora - 25 seasons with San Diego 1985-91, New Orleans 1992-96, San Francisco 1997-2003, Atlanta 2004-06, Seattle 2007-09; receivers coach Eric Yarber - 5 seasons with Tampa Bay 2010-11, San Francisco 2003-04, Seattle 1998; Defensive Coord. Lou Spanos - 17 seasons with Washington 2010-11 and Pittsburgh 1995-2009; Special teamsCoord./ Linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich - 2 seasons with Seattle 2010-11; Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone - 3 seasons with NY Jets 2006-08 ... Coaches who played in the NFL include Yarber, Ulbrich (who was on 49ers' defense coached by Jim Mora), Y receivers coach Marques Tuiasosopo, running backs coach Steve Broussard, offensive line coach Adrian Klemm ... Other players with NFL ties include freshmen Ishmael Adams (#24) (dad, Stefon, was selected in third rd. of 1985 draft); Paul Perkins' (#24) dad played football at Arizona State and with Tampa Bay and Indianapolis and his uncle, Don Perkins played with the Dallas Cowboys; redshirt freshman linebacker Aaron Wallace's (#12) dad played at Texas A&M and for eight seasons with the Raiders; freshman quarterback Jerry Neuheisel's (#11) dad played with Tampa Bay and San Diego and was the head coach at UCLA (2008-11) ... In addition, Jerry Rice, Jr.'s (#88) dad was a 13-time Pro Bowler with San Francisco and Oakland ... Y receiver Joseph Fauria's (#8) uncle, Christian, played at Colorado and for 13 seasons in the NFL with Seattle, New England, Washington, Carolina ... P Jeff Locke was named UCLA's male Scholar Athlete of the Year for 2011-12.
COACH MORA's TEAM
First-year head coach Jim Mora, a former NFC Coach of the Year while with the Atlanta Falcons, has 43 letterwinners returning for action. The Bruins welcome back six players who started the bulk of the games at their defensive positions in 2011 and seven more on the offensive side of the ball who were on the field for the first snap in the majority of games. Returning players with 20 or more starts under their belts include -- Offensive lineman Jeff Baca (35), running back Johnathan Franklin (34), defensive cornerback Sheldon Price (33), defensive end Datone Jones (31), quarterback Kevin Prince (26), defensive cornerback Aaron Hester (26), linebacker Damien Holmes (21). Also back is Y receiver Joseph Fauria who led the team with six touchdown grabs last season. Linebackers Eric Kendricks and Jordan Zumwalt, who ranked second and third, respectively, on the team in tackles last season return. Interception leaders Andrew Abbott (4) and Tevin McDonald (3) move back into the secondary. Punter Jeff Locke, one of the nation's best, is primed for a standout season.