No. 10/12 Bruins On Road Again At No. 19 Oregon State
Sept. 24, 2001
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GAME 4 - The UCLA Bruins (3-0) will take to the road for the third time in four games when they travel to Oregon State (1-1) on Saturday, Sept. 29 for the Pac-10 conference opener for both schools. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m PT. The game will be televised by ABC Sports with Keith Jackson and Tim Brant in the booth and Todd Harris on the sidelines.
The Bruins are currently ranked 10th on the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll and 12th on the Associated Press poll. The Beavers are ranked No. 19 on both polls.
Due to a conflict with the Dodger baseball game, the Bruin-Buckeye contest will be broadcast over KLAC (570 AM) and the Bruin Radio Network, featuring Chris Roberts and Matt Stevens in the booth and John Ireland on the sidelines, broadcasts all games. In addition, the game will also be broadcast nationally by Pacific West Radio Sports.
LAST GAME - The Bruins put together perhaps their best defensive performance in several years, limiting Ohio State to just 166 yards of total offense in a 13-6 victory before 73,723 fans at the Rose Bowl.
UCLA's defense did not allow a point because the Buckeyes' lone score came on a blocked punt. Ohio State completed just five of 23 passes for 45 yards, the lowest yardage total versus UCLA since Oregon State failed to complete a pass in 1994, and was one for 14 on third-down conversion attempts and zero for two on fourth down. The Buckeyes took possession in UCLA territory four times, including the 15-yard line in the first quarter and the nine-yard line in the third quarter but were held scoreless by the Bruins. Of OSU's 35 running plays, 23 gained two or fewer yards.
The Bruin offense opened the scoring for the first time since the ninth game of the 1999 season. Cory Paus culminated an 80-yard opening drive by finding Ryan Smith in the end zone on third-and-nine for a 24-yard touchdown. On UCLA's next possession, Nate Fikse's punt was blocked and recovered by Ricky Bryant at the back of the end zone but the Bruins retained a one-point lead when the PAT was no good.
UCLA increased the margin to four points, 10-6, when Chris Griffith kicked a career-best 49 yard field goal with 2:31 remaining in the first half. Griffith added a 33-yard field goal with 3:00 remaining in the third quarter to complete the scoring.
On the day, twelve of the 14 Buckeye possessions ended in five or fewer plays.
Individually, Robert Thomas led the Bruins with nine tackles, including five behind the line of scrimmage. Marques Anderson made eight tackles, including one sack, and an interception while Ryan Nece also made eight tackles (six solos). Ken Kocher led the linemen with five tackles, including two for losses, and Jason Stephens made four stops. In addition, Matt Ware made the first interception of his career.
Offensively, Paus led the Bruins, completing 16 of 25 passes for 262 yards and the game's only offensive touchdown, a strike to wide receiver Ryan Smith. His efforts for completions and yardage almost matched his totals from the first two games combined.
DeShaun Foster, running against a defense designed to key on him, ran for 66 yards on 29 carries, his first game under 100 yards this season. He also fumbled the ball four times, losing two. Overall, UCLA lost the football four times, three on offense and once on special teams.
Smith and Tab Perry each had four receptions. Smith (49 yards) scored the first touchdown of his career while Perry (83 yards) had a reception of at least 40 yards for the third straight time. Tight ends Bryan Fletcher and Mike Seidman both made two receptions.
Griffith made two of four field goal attmpts, including one from a career best 49 yards, and Fikse averaged 45.8 yards on four punts, although a fifth was blocked for the only Buckeye score.
PRE-SEASON HONORS - Senior tailback DeShaun Foster is on the list of pre-season candidates for the Doak Walker Award. Senior free safety Marques Anderson and junior cornerback Ricky Manning, Jr. are both listed on the pre-season Jim Thorpe Award list. There are six defensive backs from the Pac-10 on the list, including the two Bruins. Placekicker Chris Griffith is a pre-season nominee for the Lou Groza Award. Linebackers Robert Thomas and Ryan Nece are on the Butkus Award pre-season watch list. Defensive lineman Kenyon Coleman joins Thomas on the Rotary Lombardi award list. Wide receiver Brian Poli-Dixon is on the Biletnikoff Award pre-season list. Punter Nate Fikse has been selected to the Ray Guy Award watch list. Center Troy Danoff is on the pre-season watch list for the Rimington Award.
BRUINS IN THE 2001 POLLS - AP: Pre-season, No. 15, Aug. 27, No. 15, Sept. 2, No. 14, Sept. 9, No. 14, Sept. 16, No poll, Sept. 23, No. 12. USA Today/ESPN: Pre-season, No. 17, Aug. 27, No. 17, Sept. 2, No. 14, Sept. 9, No. 12, Sept. 16, No poll, Sept. 23, No. 10.
DID YOU KNOW? -
UCLA has won 12 of its last 16 games versus ranked opponents dating back to a 1997 win at #11 Texas and has posted a 20-4 record in regular season games played in the Rose Bowl since that win over the Longhorns. The Bruins have defeated two ranked teams to date in Alabama (No. 25-AP) and Ohio State (No. 21-both polls) and face another one this week (Oregon State).
In the last 31 years (1971-01), UCLA has opened the season 3-0 eight times, including this year. Its record in game four of the seven previous seasons is 4-2-1. The Bruins won at least nine games in five of those seven seasons, including 10 games on three occasions.
This is the third time UCLA has started 3-0 in Bob Toledo's six seasons.
Four Bruins on the 2001 roster are the sons of former Bruin football players - TE Blane Kezirian (dad, Ed played offensive line in 1972-73 for coach Pepper Rodgers and posted a 17-5 record), DB/ Holder Garrett Lepisto (dad, Vic played defensive end in 1964-66-67 for coaches Bill Barnes and Tommy Prothro), FB Matt Stanley (dad, Steve played fullback in 1965-67 and was a member of the 1966 Rose Bowl team), QB John Sciarra (dad, John played 1972-75 and quarterbacked the Bruins to a win over No. 1 Ohio State in the 1976 Rose Bowl game).
Tailback DeShaun Foster, linebacker Robert Thomas and free safety Marques Anderson have been selected season tri-captains by their teammates. Head coach Bob Toledo selects a fourth captain on a weekly basis.
Cornerback Ricky Manning, Jr. played this past summer for the Minnesota Twins' minor league team at Elizabethton, TN in the Appalachian League (rookie level). Manning, an outfielder, hit .253 in 22 games with a .364 on base percentage and four stolen bases. He played on the same team as the nation's number one selection in this past summer's Major League Baseball draft, Joe Mauer.
SERIES NOTES - UCLA leads the series with Oregon State by a count of 34-13-2, but has come up on the losing end in the last two contests.
After UCLA took a 10-7 lead into the lockerroom in last year's battle, the teams combined for a 65-point second-half shootout. A 67-yard Cory Paus pass to tight end Gabe Crecion gave UCLA a 31-21 advantage with 12:45 remaining in the contest. However, the Beavers would score the game's next 23 points. A field goal and a touchdown, following a Bruin fumble, knotted the score at 31-all just over three minutes later. Two more Beaver field goals put OSU in the lead at 37-31. After converting on third-and-21 from deep in its own territory, OSU's Patrick McCall ran 66 yards to make the score 44-31 with 1:52 to play. UCLA, with no timeouts remaining, drove 80 yards for a touchdown. The Bruins then recovered the ensuing onside kick and had one last chance, but could not make a first down. Paus passed for a career-best 363 yards during the game, the 10th highest total in UCLA history.
The last time the teams met in Corvallis (Oct. 23, 1999), the Beavers defeated the Bruins, 55-7.
BRUIN HEAD COACH BOB TOLEDO - The Bruin head coach owns a record of 38-23 (24-16 in Pac-10 play) and a winning percentage of .623 during his first five years on the job. Toledo guided the Bruins to a 20-game winning streak (starting on Sept. 13, 1997 vs. Texas and snapped at Miami on Dec. 5, 1998) which was the longest in school history and twice the length of the previous streak (10, set in 1946 and tied in 1954-55). His teams have won two Pac-10 titles (1997 and 1998) and played in bowl games in three of the last four seasons.
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 total games in back-to-back seasons (Terry Donahue in 1987-88).
Under Toledo, UCLA is 28-8 when it scores at least 30 points and 14-1 when it scores at least 40. UCLA is 25-6 when leading at the half and has won nine times after trailing at the half and four when tied at the half. The Bruins are 3-1 in overtime games. When ranked, the Bruins sport a 27-7 record under Toledo.
Under Toledo, UCLA is 13-9 versus ranked teams. It has won six of the last eight (in 1999 versus Washington and in 2000 against Alabama, Michigan and Arizona) and is 12-4 in the last 16 games against Top 25 teams. The Bruins were 3-2 last year versus the Top 25, 2-1 versus the Top 10.
Toledo is 2-2 versus Oregon State, 1-1 in Corvallis.
NEW STARTERS AND DEBUTS -- Four Bruins made their first career starts versus Alabama - LG - Eyoseph Efseaff, RG - Shane Lehmann, WR - Tab Perry and CB - Matt Ware. Eleven Bruins made their varsity debut versus Alabama, including true freshmen Ware, Jibril Raymo and Matt Clark, redshirt freshmen Craig Bragg, Efseaff, Ben Emanuel, Patrick Norton, Steve Vieira, Manuel White, sophomore Blane Kezirian and senior Adam Peters.
Against Kansas, OLB Brandon Chillar made his first career start. Redshirt freshmen Ray Cassaday, Paul Mociler, John Ream and Tim Warfield and sophomore Nick Carey made their varsity debuts. Norton and Cassaday had their first career carries while tailback Ken Pritchett carried for the first time since 1999. Emanuel, Peters and Raymo saw their first action on defense (they played on special teams against Alabama) while Kezirian saw his first offensive action.
UCLA's defense has allowed only one of seven turnovers to be converted into an opponent score (one touchdown at Kansas). Ohio State was unable to score after any of four Bruin turnovers.
The last time UCLA allowed fewer than 40 points in the first three games of the season was 1992 (31) against Cal State Fullerton, BYU and San Diego State. Of those 40 points, 27 have come against the first unit (Kansas scored a late touchdown with UCLA leading 41-10 and Ohio State's touchdown came on a blocked punt).
The last time UCLA allowed fewer than 40 points in any three-game span was in 1997 -- 34 versus Oregon State, California and Stanford. That is also the last time they held three straight opponents under 20 points.
The last time UCLA allowed fewer than Ohio State's 166 yards of total offense was in 1996, when the Bruins held Northeast Louisiana to 153 yards.
The 1997 Texas game was the last time UCLA held an offense without a touchdown prior to this year's Ohio State game.
The last time UCLA allowed fewer passing yards than Ohio State's 45 was in 1994, when Oregon State failed to complete a pass. Ohio State was five for 23 with two interceptions.
In its last two games, UCLA has held Kansas and Ohio State to 408 yards of total offense. The last time the Bruins had a lower two-game total was in 1991, holding Arizona (155) and Oregon State (216) to 371 total yards.
ROBERT THOMAS - Robert, a 2001 Butkus and Lombardi Award candidate and a 2000 Butkus semi-finalist, is the anchor of the defensive unit at middle linebacker. He was all over the field in the victory at Alabama, finishing second on the squad and made 11 tackles -- five solos and six assists. He also recorded two sacks and another half-tackle for loss and deflected a pass.
In the win at Kansas, he led the team with 10 tackles (seven solos and three assists), including four for losses (one sack on which he forced a fumble). He was a key reason Kansas could run for just 37 yards through three quarters and 89 for the game.
In the win over Ohio State, he led the Bruins with nine tackles (six solos and three assists), including five behind the line of scrimmage (one sack). Time and again, he made key stops, helping to hold the Buckeyes to one conversion on 16 third or fourth down conversion attempts.
On the year, he leads the Bruins with 30 tackles (18 solos and 12 assists). Twelve of his tackles have been for losses, putting him on pace to shatter Marvcus Patton's school record of 22 tackles for loss in a season. He is first in the Pac-10 in tackles for loss (4.0), second in tackles (10.0) and tied for second in sacks (1.0).
In addition, he now has 27 tackles for loss during his career, placing him 18th on UCLA's career list.
One of three season tri-captains for 2001, Thomas was a semi-finalist for the Butkus Award which honors the nation's top linebacker in 2000. A starter the previous two seasons, he is known for his quick strike ability and sideline-to-sideline coverage. On the year, he led the team with 88 tackles despite being hampered by a stress reaction in his left foot. He was tied for second on the squad with nine tackles for loss and led the Bruins and the Pac-10 with six fumbles forced. His regular-season average of 7.3 tackles per game ranked 11th in the Pac-10.
Thomas moved into the starting lineup in 1999 at middle linebacker. He made a team-high 14 tackles that year against Fresno State, the most by a Bruin since Brian Willmer made 15 versus Arizona on Nov. 16, 1996. For the season, Thomas ranked second on the squad with 68 tackles (he missed three games-the season's first two and the Arizona contest). He also had four tackles for loss, including 1.5 sacks.
KENYON COLEMAN - Senior defensive left end Kenyon Coleman, a Rotary Lombardi Award candidate, was credited with two solo tackles and five assists in the opener versus Alabama, helping hold the Crimson Tide to 159 net rushing yards on 46 attempts. Against Kansas, he made two solo tackles and two assists and helped the Bruins dominate the line of scrimmage.
In the win over Ohio State, he added two solo tackles and deflected a pass. He now has 13 total tackles (six solos and seven assists), most among the linemen, and one for loss.
In 2000, he started the first three games of the season before suffering a knee injury (torn cartilage in his left knee) in the Michigan game and undergoing season-ending surgery.
One of the leaders of the defense, he enjoyed his best season in 1999 when he was one of just four Bruins to start all 11 games. He made 50 tackles, including nine at USC and seven at Stanford. Coleman ranked second on the squad with 3.5 sacks that season and had nine tackles for loss. He also broke up eight passes.
RYAN NECE - Ryan, now a senior, was added to the Butkus Award pre-season candidate list on August 30, his third straight year with that honor. Healthy after surgery on both shoulders during the off-season, he was involved in a team-high 13 tackles in the win over Alabama -- five solos and eight assists, including one for loss.
In the win at Kansas, he scored the first touchdown of his career, returning an interception 22 yards to give UCLA a 20-3 lead. He also recovered a fumble and was credited with two tackles.
In the victory over Ohio State, he ranked second (tied) on the defense with eight tackles (six solos and two assists) and also defensed one pass. On the season, he ranks second on the squad and 10th in the Pac-10 with 23 tackles (7.7 per game), including 12 solos and two for loss. The Buckeye game was also his 24th consecutive start, tied for longest string on the team.
During his Bruin career, Nece has now made 251 tackles and has broken into UCLA's career Top 20.
In 2000, he ranked second on the team last season with 78 tackles. He started all 12 games at weak side linebacker and has a team-high 30 career starts entering the season. Nece played with an injured shoulder for most of the season and missed Spring practice following surgery. He was a 1998 first-team Freshman All-American and was credited with 85 tackles and six sacks that season. He ranked third on the team in tackles in 1999 with 65.
MARQUES ANDERSON - A candidate for the Jim Thorpe Award, senior free safety Marques Anderson is one of the nation's top big-play defenders. In the victory over Alabama, he was involved in seven tackles (six solos and one assist). He was also credited with one pass defensed. In the victory at Kansas, he ranked second with seven tackles (two solos and five assists) and deflected two passes.
The hard-hitting senior helped hold Ohio State to just five completions in 23 attempts for 45 passing yards. He tied for second on the squad with eight tackles (five solos), including one sack, made an interception and also defended two passes.
On the year, he ranks third on the squad with his 22 tackles (13 solos) and leads the team with five passes defensed. His average of 7.3 tackles is 13th in the Pac-10. He is second in the Pac-10 in pass breakups.
In his 10 regular-season games a year ago, he was involved in seven turnovers to tie for No. 1 in the nation with a 0.7 turnovers per-game average. On the year, Anderson finished third on the team in tackles with 73 and led the squad with 11 tackles for loss and four fumble recoveries. He shifted to free safety in the Spring after starting at strong safety last season.
RICKY MANNING- True junior corner Ricky Manning Jr., one of two Bruins on the Jim Thorpe Award pre-season candidate list, earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors last season in the vote of league coaches. He has started in each of the last 24 games (tied for longest starting streak on the team) after making his first career start against Fresno State in 1999.
Manning was at his best in the 20-17 victory at Alabama. He made four solo tackles, including one for loss. He forced Ahmaad Galloway out of bounds at the two-yard line, helping the Bruins complete a fourth-quarter goal line stand. He also intercepted a pass that the Bruins turned into a Chris Griffith field goal and defensed two other passes.
Against Kansas, he made his second interception (UCLA converted it into a touchdown) and had four tackles (two solos and two assists), including one for loss. He was credited with one solo tackle and one pass defense in the victory over Ohio State.
On the year, he leads the Bruins with his two interceptions and is seventh with his nine tackles.
Last season, he ranked fifth on the team with 65 tackles. His four interceptions led the team, as did his 14 pass defenses. As a freshman in 1999, he led the Bruins with 10 tackles for loss and ranked fourth on the team with 53 tackles.
He has also served as a punt returner throughout his career.
LINEBACKERS-True junior linebacker Marcus Reese, who has been a major contributor the last two seasons, continues to see action on the weak side and in the middle. In the win over Alabama, be played well off the bench and was credited with six tackles (three solos and three assists). He added one solo tackle at Kansas and one solo stop against Ohio State. In 2000, he came off the bench to appear in all 12 games and finished with 34 tackles, ninth on the team.
Redshirt freshman Mat Ball, who started four games at defensive end a year ago, was switched to strongside linebacker during Fall camp. He started versus Alabama and made one tackle at his new position. He came off the bench at Kansas and made three tackles, including one for loss, and had one assist off the bench versus Ohio State. In 2000, he made 14 tackles and had one interception.
True sophomore Brandon Chillar will battle with Ball for playing time on the strongside. He made one tackle versus Alabama. He made his first career start at Kansas and was credited with two tackles and one assist, including 0.5 sacks. He started versus Ohio State and was credited with one solo tackle. In 2000 as a true freshman, Chillar saw action as a backup linebacker and special teams performer. He appeared in a total of seven games.
DEFENSIVE LINE-Redshirt sophomore tackle Rodney Leisle has played very well all season. In the opener at Alabama he made seven tackles (three solos and four assists). Late in the third quarter with the Bruins leading 17-10, the Crimson Tide drove to the Bruin 33-yard line. Alabama then tried a reverse, but Leisle stripped the ball carrier and recovered the football to halt the drive. UCLA then converted the turnover into a field goal. At Kansas, he again stuffed the middle and made two solo tackles, including one for loss. In the win over Ohio State, he added three tackles (two solos).
On the year, he has made 12 tackles, second among the linemen and sixth overall. He has now started 15 consecutive games stretching back to the 2000 opener.
Leisle started all 12 games in 2000 and ranked first among the linemen with 36 tackles. He earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors and was named a Freshman All-American by The Sporting News.
At the other tackle position, senior Anthony Fletcher came off the bench and made two tackles against the Crimson Tide. At Kansas, he started and made one solo tackle, a sack for seven yards. He also started against Ohio State and made one tackle. Senior Ken Kocher, who suffered a separated right shoulder in the first quarter of the Alabama game, did not play at Kansas. He came off the bench versus Ohio State and was a monster in the middle. He finished with five tackles (two solos and three assists), most among the linemen, and two of his stops were for losses.
In 2000, Fletcher ranked second among the linemen with 28 tackles and was a starter in seven games. Kocher battled through nagging injuries to see action in nine games.
The reserves have also played well this season. Junior Steve Morgan came off the bench to make two tackles, including a five-yard sack, against Alabama and two tackles, including 0.5 sacks, against Kansas.
Sophomore Dave Ball started at right end against Alabama and did a good job on his assignments, just missing a quarterback sack late in the game. Against Kansas, he made three tackles but was not credited with a stop versus Ohio State. A year ago as a redshirt freshman, he started three games at end and saw action in all 12 contests.
Junior Rusty Williams had a 22-game starting streak at defensive end stopped at the Sun Bowl. He missed that contest after undergoing shoulder surgery. He sat out Spring practice and reported to Fall camp ready for action and played at defensive right end versus Alabama. He also played well against Kansas with one solo tackle and added a solo tackle in the win over Ohio State.
DESHAUN FOSTER - The Heisman and Doak Walker candidate was at his spectacular best against Kansas. Foster ran over, around and through the Jayhawk defense for a career-high 189 yards and one touchdown on 28 carries and retired for the day with 13:23 remaining in the game following his four-yard score that gave UCLA a 41-10 lead. Game reports listed him with 179 yards but the Kansas stat crew corrected that late Saturday night.
Foster repeatedly made would-be tacklers miss and broke numerous tackles en route to the best effort of his career (his previous best was 187 against Alabama last year). Nine of his runs measured at least 10 yards and he gained at least five yards on 18 occasions. Eleven times he produced a first down against the Jayhawks. He also made three receptions for 41 yards, including a 35-yard run after catching a shovel pass from Cory Paus.
Foster is just the fifth player in school history to rush for 187 or more yards twice in a career. The others are Karim Abdul-Jabbar, Theotis Brown, Gaston Green and Freeman McNeil.
In the season opener against Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Foster carried the ball 24 times for 110 net yards, including a 40-yard run in the fourth quarter and a 21-yard run in the first quarter.
In the victory over Ohio State, he rushed for 66 yards on 29 carries against a defense dedicated to stopping him.
With his 189-yard effort against the Kansas, Foster has rushed for at least 100 yards nine times in his career, including six times in his last 14 games.
Foster currently ranks 15th in the NCAA in rushing (121.7) and 34th in all-purpose yardage (137.0). He leads the Pac-10 in rushing by over 16 yards per game and is fourth in all-purpose yards.
His junior season featured four 100-yard games including a 42-carry, 187-yard effort against Alabama. He scored 13 touchdowns for the year to rank eighth on the school single-season list and was named to the first-team All-Pac-10 team. In addition, his 16 receptions ranked third on the team.
As a sophomore, Foster 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. On the year, he finished as the team's second-leading rusher (375 yards) and led the squad with six touchdowns. He also placed fourth on the squad with 17 receptions.
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. His rushing total of 673 yards ranks as the most ever by a Bruin freshman.
CORY PAUS - Junior Cory Paus enjoyed an outstanding year in 2000, becoming only the third sophomore in school history to pass for over 2,000 yards in a season.
In the 2001 opener against Alabama, he completed eight of 22 passes for 123 yards, although several of his passes were dropped. In the third quarter, he hit sophomore Tab Perry along the left sideline for a 53-yard touchdown pass to give the Bruins their first lead, 14-10. The Bruin offense ran 60 plays and did not commit a turnover or a penalty.
At Kansas, he led the Bruins to a 41-10 lead before retiring early in the fourth quarter. On the afternoon, he completed 10 of 16 passes for 160 yards and one touchdown. For the second straight week, he hooked up with Perry for a long score, this time a 49-yard strike on the first play of the drive to give the Bruins a 27-3 lead with 3:20 left in the first half.
In the victory over Ohio State, he enjoyed his best game of the young season. Paus completed 16 of 25 passes for a season-high 262 yards and one touchdown. He gave the Bruins an early 7-0 lead when he connected with Ryan Smith on a 24-yard touchdown on UCLA's first possession of the game. Paus completed all three of his third-down passes on that drive, including a third-and-nine on the touchdown toss. In addition, he did not turn the ball over and has not thrown an interception in 130 straight passes dating back to the 2000 Washington game.
Paus currently ranks 19th in the nation and sixth in the Pac-10 in passing efficiency (142.3).
Paus has moved into the career Top 10 lists in passing yardage (eighth with 4,035 yards), completions (seventh with 263) and touchdown passes (seventh with 27) after playing in just 21 games, including two in which he was injured and threw just five total passes before leaving the field.
Despite missing three full games, and virtually all of a fourth during the 2000 season, Paus passed for 2,154 yards and 17 touchdowns (fifth on the all-time single-season school list). His regular season pass efficiency rating of 145.8 would have led the Pac-10 if he had appeared in enough games, as would his 250.9 passing yards per game figure.
Paus started seven games in 1999 after beginning the season as the No. 2 signal caller. He made the first start of his career against Fresno State on Sept. 18.
His 332 passing yards versus Oregon 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 at the time.
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.
BRIAN POLI-DIXON - Last season, senior Brian Poli-Dixon became just the second receiver (joining Kevin Jordan, '92-95) in school history to catch at least 44 passes twice in a career. His 165-yard game against Washington ranks as the 11th-best single-game performance ever at UCLA.
A pre-season candidate for the Biletnikoff Award, he was the focus of the Crimson Tide secondary and did not catch a pass in the opener. The following week at Kansas, Poli-Dixon made three receptions for 41 yards, tying DeShaun Foster for the team lead. Against Ohio State, he made one reception for 17 yards.
Poli-Dixon's catch against Ohio State moved him into a tie for seventh place (with Freddie Mitchell) on UCLA's career receiving list. He currently ranks 11th with 1,770 career receiving yards but need just four to move into 10th place by himself.
In 1998, Poli-Dixon was an All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection, after being the team's second-leading receiver. His 10 touchdowns tied for the conference lead. He 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. His 1999 season ended in the season's third game, when he suffered a fractured wrist in the game against Fresno State.
EXPERIENCE AT FULLBACK and TIGHT ENDS - Senior fullbacks Ed Ieremia-Stansbury (6) and Matt Stanley (2) shared the starting assignment last season. Ieremia-Stansbury caught 10 passes for three touchdowns. Stanley, who started the Alabama and Michgan games, saw limited action after dislocating his shoulder against the Wolverines.
Ieremia-Stansbury is one of the unsung stars of the team. An outstanding blocker, he started against Alabama and scored the Bruins' first touchdown of 2001 on a tackle-breaking 10-yard run. On the afternoon, he carried five times for 31 yards. He also recovered Alabama's onside kick attempt with 2:13 remaining in the game with UCLA leading by three. He suffered a sprained left ankle at Kansas and did not touch the ball, although he blocked well when he was in the game, and missed the Ohio State contest because of the injury.
Against Kansas, Stanley made a contribution by running four times for 22 yards, his first carries since 1999 (Arizona) and caught one pass for 18 yards. He started against his hometown Ohio State Buckeyes and ran for 19 yards on three carries and added a 25-yard reception.
Senior Bryan Fletcher and junior Mike Seidman provide a one-two punch at tight end capable of rivaling any school in the country. Fletcher made 10 catches for 144 yards and two touchdowns last season. Seidman caught six passes and scored one touchdown. Each player saw action in all 12 games. Seidman underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee to repair cartilage damage on August 10th. He returned to practice on August 24 and played in the opener at Alabama.
Against Kansas, Fletcher made one reception for 16 yards and just missed connections with Cory Paus on a few other passes.
In the win over Ohio State, Seidman made two receptions for 39 yards while Fletcher made two catches for 35 yards.
OFFENSIVE LINE - Three veterans, each in his third season as a starter, return to the unit. Senior Troy Danoff has started 24 games (15 straight) at center, including the first nine games of 1999, all 12 games last season and three this year. He is a candidate for the Rimington Award, presented to the nation's top center. Junior Bryce Bohlander has started 17 straight contests at left tackle, including the final two games of 1999, all 12 last season and three this year. Junior Mike Saffer has started 22 games, including 15 straight at right tackle stretching back to the 2000 opener (he started seven times at right guard in 1999). Redshirt sophomore Shane Lehmann won the starting job at right guard while redshirt freshman Eyoseff Efseaff emerged from Fall camp as the No. 1 left guard. They both made their first starts at Alabama and have started all three games. Three redshirt freshmen -- left tackle/guard Paul Mociler, right tackle/guard Steven Vieira and center John Ream -- are the top reserves -- and all played at Kansas as well as Ed Anderson and Tyson Clayton.
In the opener against Alabama, the line enabled the Bruins to average 4.4 yards on 38 rushing attempts (168 total) after averaging 2.6 yards in 2000. Saffer had the top grade among the linemen at 92% and he and Bohlander both had six KO blocks.
Against Kansas, the Bruins rushed for 292 yards, its best total with the 1998 Arizona game (298 yards), including 189 yards behind a line that dominated most of the game. Danoff graded at 92% and Saffer and Bohlander both finished at 89%. Efseaff had six KO blocks.
Against Ohio State, Saffer and Lehmann each graded at 88% while Bohlander and Efseaff each had six KO blocks.
JUST FOR KICKS - Redshirt junior Chris Griffith, a candidate for the Lou Groza Award and a former walk-on, handled the place kicking chores in 1999 and earned a scholarship for the 2000 season. A second-team All-Pac-10 team selection last year, Griffith ranks among the all-time leaders at UCLA in career field goals.
In the 2001 opener against Alabama, he converted field goals of 30 and 45 yards to help build a 20-10 lead and also pinned the Tide at its seven-yard line with a 28-yard punt from field goal formation. Against Kansas, he made second-quarter field goals of 31-and 36 yards and converted five PATs. In the win over Ohio State, he kicked a career-best 49-yard field goal in the second quarter and added a 33-yard field goal in the third period. However, he also missed from 40 and 38 yards, the first time since his freshman year that he was unsuccessful twice in the same game.
Griffith leads the team with 26 points, making six of eight field goal attempts and all eight PATs. He is eighth in the Pac-10 and 36th nationally in scoring (8.7) and second (tied) in the Pac-10 and eighth in the NCAA in field goals (2.0).
Griffith has now made 12 of his last 15 field goals over two seasons. His career percentage of 75.0% ranks third in school history behind John Lee and Alfredo Velasco. He ranks sixth on the school's career field goal list with 30.
True junior punter Nate Fikse, a candidate for the Ray Guy Award, enjoyed a spectacular night at Alabama. He averaged 44.2 yards on eight punts with a long of 56 yards. Three times, he forced the Crimson Tide to start at their own 10-yard line or deeper, including a 46-yard punt that pinned Alabama at its 10-yard line with 21 seconds remaining in the game. Against Kansas, he averaged 42.0 yards on three kicks with a long of 49 yards.
In the win over Ohio State, he averaged 45.8 yards on his four punts and only one was returned for nine yards. However, due to a missed blocking assignment, a first quarter punt at the Bruin 17-yard line was blocked and recovered in the end zone of the only Buckeye touchdown of the day.
On the year, he is averaging 44.2 yards on 15 punts and is ranked first in the Pac-10 and 21st in the nation.
In 2000, he earned second-team all-conference honors a season ago after averaging 43.3 yards per kick. He had 19 kicks of at least 50 yards and 17 of his punts were downed inside the 20-yard line. His regular-season average of 43.3 ranked first in the Pac-10 and 13th in the nation and he averaged at least 45.0 yards in five games with a high of 48.1 yards against Michigan.
His total of 3,246 yards on his 75 punts set a new school record, breaking the mark of 3,130, set by Matt McFarland in 1978. Fikse's current career average of 42.82 would rank No. 2 on UCLA's all-time list, trailing only Kirk Wilson's record of 44.60 and just ahead of No. 3 Zenon Andrusyshyn (42.63).
WIDE RECEIVER - True sophomore Tab Perry, redshirt sophomores Ryan Smith, redshirt freshman Craig Bragg and seniors Cody Joyce and Devon Reese emerged from Fall camp with the best chances to compete for time in the receiver rotation with senior Brian Poli-Dixon.
Perry made his first start a very successful one. The true sophomore made five receptions for 113 yards and one touchdown, catching a long strike along the left sideline and finishing the play for a 53-yard score, the first of his career.
Against Kansas, he made just one catch -- a 49-yard touchdown on a well-executed post route -- for his second long score in as many weeks. In the win over Ohio State, he made four catches for 83 yards, including a 46-yarder on the right sideline.
On the year, he is leading the team with 10 catches for 245 yards and two touchdowns and has made one reception of at least 40 yards in each game. A year ago, he made six catches for 58 yards and excelled as a kickoff returner, setting school records with 29 returns for 598 yards.
Bragg saw the first action of his career in the Alabama game and made his presence felt. He had a 27-yard kickoff return, a 21-yard punt return and two runs for 23 yards, including one for 22 yards. At Kansas, he ran a reverse for a 37-yard touchdown and made the first reception of his career (five yards). Against Ohio State, he made one catch for 15 yards and had a 14-yard punt return, fumbling at the end of the run.
Smith enjoyed his finest game as a Bruin versus Ohio State. He tied for the team lead with four receptions for 49 yards and scored the only UCLA touchdown of the game on a 24-yard strike in the end zone from Cory Paus. He was also one of just three players to catch a pass versus Alabama (four yards). Joyce caught two passes at Kansas (nine yards) and Reese had a four-yard catch against the Jayhawks.
RUNNING BACK - Sophomore Akil Harris and redshirt freshman Manuel White each demonstrated during practice that they are capable performers. Last season, Harris ran for 100 yards versus Arizona State after Foster went down with an injury. On just the second carry of his career, he went around right end for a 23-yard touchdown. At Alabama, he carried once for eight yards on UCLA's first touchdown drive, setting up Ed Ieremia-Stanley's scoring run. At Kansas, he carried five times for eight net yards. He netted five yards on four carries versus Ohio State.
White, a big, tough back with speed, made his debut against Alabama, carrying four times for no yards. He was the team's No. 2 rusher versus Kansas, carrying nine times for 44 net yards while keeping the clock moving. He did not have a rushing attempt versus Ohio State.
STARTING ASSIGNMENTS (2001 starts / career starts) - Offense - WR: Brian Poli-Dixon (3/23), Tab Perry (3/3), OL: Troy Danoff (3/24), Mike Saffer (3/22), Bryce Bohlander (3/17), Eyoseff Efseaff (3/3), Shane Lehmann (3/3), TE: Bryan Fletcher (3/7), QB: Cory Paus (3/19), Ryan McCann (0/4), RB: DeShaun Foster (3/18), Akil Harris (1/2), Ed Ieremia-Stansbury (2/10, two at LB), Matt Stanley (1/4), PK: Chris Griffith (3/25).
Defense - DL: Kenyon Coleman (3/26), Ken Kocher (1/12), Rusty Williams (0/22), Anthony Fletcher (2/13), Stephen Sua (0/1), Rodney Leisle (3/15), Sean Phillips (0/3), Dave Ball (3/6), Steve Morgan (0/1), Asi Faoa (0/1 at LB), LB: Ryan Nece (3/33), Robert Thomas (3/23), Brandon Chillar (2/2), Mat Ball (1/5, 4 at DE), Audie Attar (0/1 at DB), DB: Jason Stephens (3/11), Joe Hunter (0/4), Ricky Manning Jr. (3/24), Marques Anderson (3/25), Matt Ware (3/3), P: Nate Fikse (3/26).
RED ZONE - UCLA entered the Red Zone twice against Alabama and scored twice (one rushing touchdown, one field goal) for 10 points. At Kansas, UCLA reached the Red Zone five times and scored four times (two rushing touchdowns, two field goals) for 20 points. The other possession ended in a fumble. Against Ohio State, two Red Zone trips resulted in one field goal for three points and one missed field goal. Overall, UCLA has scored seven times (three rushing touchdowns, four field goals) for 33 points on nine tries.
Alabama was in the Red Zone twice and settled for one field goal for three points. The other possession ended on downs at the two-yard line. Kansas reached the Red Zone three times and scored 14 points (two rushing touchdowns). The third possession ended with a fumble. Both of Ohio State's opportunities resulted in missed field goals. Overall, opponents have scored three times (two rushing touchdowns and one field goal) for 17 points on seven tries.
Last year, UCLA was in the Red Zone 47 times and scored 38 times (16 rushing touchdowns, 13 passing touchdowns and nine field goals) for 227 points. The other possessions resulted in two fumbles, three interceptions, one missed field goal, two on downs and one with the game ending.
Bruin opponents entered the Red Zone 45 times and scored on 38 occasions (13 passing touchdowns, 17 rushing touchdowns and eight field goals) for 232 points. The other possessions ended on a fumble, an interception, three missed field goals and twice on downs.
TURNOVERS - In the season opener, UCLA recovered two turnovers (an interception by Ricky Manning Jr. and a fumble recovery by Rodney Leisle) and scored six points (two field goals). UCLA did not have a turnover.
Against Kansas, UCLA forced three turnovers (interceptions by Manning and Ryan Nece and a fumble recovery by Nece) and scored 21 points (three touchdowns), including one by the defense. UCLA turned the ball over three times on fumbles (two by Cory Paus and one by Manuel White) and Kansas scored seven points (one touchdown). The other turnovers led to a fumble and a punt.
Against Ohio State, UCLA forced two turnovers (interceptions by Marques Anderson and Matt Ware) but they resulted in a punt and a missed field goal. UCLA turned the ball over four times on fumbles (two by DeShaun Foster, one by Bryan Fletcher and one by Craig Bragg on a punt return) but the defense kept the Buckeyes from scoring on any of them (two missed field goals and two stops on fourth down).
On the year, UCLA has converted five of seven turnovers into 27 points (three touchdowns and two field goals). Opponents have converted just one of seven Bruin turnovers into seven points.
Last year, UCLA recovered 30 turnovers (17 fumbles, 13 interceptions) and scored 69 points (nine touchdowns and two field goals). The Bruins turned the ball over 23 times (11 fumbles and 12 interceptions) and they were converted into 59 points (eight touchdowns, including three on interception returns, and one field goal).
BRUINS IN THE PAC-10 STATS -- DeShaun Foster: Rushing - 1st in Pac-10, 15th in NCAA (121.7), All-Purpose Yards - 4th in Pac-10, 34th in NCAA (137.0), Cory Paus: Passing Efficiency - 6th in Pac-10, 19th in NCAA (142.3), Passing Yards - 9th in Pac-10 (181.7), Chris Griffith: Field Goals - T-2nd in Pac-10, T-8th in NCAA (2.0), Scoring - 8th in Pac-10, 36th in NCAA (8.7), Kick-Scoring - 3rd in Pac-10 (8.7), Nate Fikse: Punting - 1st in Pac-10, 21st in NCAA (44.2), Ricky Manning: Interceptions: T-3rd in Pac-10, T-14th in NCAA (0.67), Tab Perry: Receiving Yards - 7th in Pac-10 (81.7), Craig Bragg: Punt Returns - 4th in Pac-10 (10.8), Robert Thomas: Tackles - 2nd in Pac-10 (10.0), TFL - 2nd in Pac-10 (4.0), Sacks - T-2nd in Pac-10 (1.0), Ryan Nece: Tackles - 10th in Pac-10 (7.7), Marques Anderson: Tackles - 13th in Pac-10 (7.3).
Team: Total defense - 1st in Pac-10, 28th in NCAA (288.7), scoring defense - 2nd in Pac-10, 20th in NCAA (13.3), rushing defense - 6th in Pac-10, 45th in NCAA (122.0), passing defense - 2nd in Pac-10, 29th in NCAA (166.7), pass efficiency defense - 1st in Pac-10, 15th in NCAA (87.2 rating), rushing offense - 2nd in Pac-10, 34th in NCAA (173.7), passing offense - 10th in Pac-10 (189.3), total offense - 9th in Pac-10 (363.0), scoring offense - 8th in Pac-10 (24.7), net punting - 1st in Pac-10 (37.2).
THIS AND THAT - Offensive lineman Mike Saffer's dad, Don, played on the 1967 UCLA national championship basketball team for coach John Wooden ... Tight end Bryan Fletcher's brother, Terrell, plays for the San Diego Chargers ... Several Bruins have fathers who played in the NFL - Ryan Nece's dad, Ronnie Lott, was one of the top safeties in NFL history with the 49ers, Jibril Raymo's dad, Halim Muhammad, played with the Raiders, John Sciarra's dad, John, played for the Eagles ... Some have dads who played at colleges other than UCLA - Kevin Brant's dad, Tim, played at Maryland, Ryan McCann's dad, John, played at Arizona, Ryan Nece's dad, Ronnie Lott, played at USC, Ryan Wikert's dad, James, played at Northern Arizona ... Robert Thomas' dad, Stan, played major league baseball ... Defensive lineman Rodney Leisle's high school team went 0-10 his senior season ... UCLA is home to the only three-time consensus All-Americans in Pac-10 history - linebacker Jerry Robinson (1976-78) and safety Kenny Easley (1978-80) ... UCLA is the school that produced the only player to participate in six Super Bowls (Mike Lodish), the only quarterback to win three Super Bowls in four years (Troy Aikman) and the only man to play on three straight Super Bowl champions (Ken Norton) ... After winning four NCAA titles during the past school year, UCLA still ranks No. 1 with a total of 86 NCAA team championships.
NCAA GRADUATION RATES - In the 2000 NCAA Graduation Report, which analyzed the freshman class of 1993, 10 of 14 Bruin freshmen earned their 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 mark to 76.5%. In the 2000 NCAA Division I Graduation Rates 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).
UCLA ON THE RADIO - The 2001 season is UCLA fifth on Fox Sports Radio AM 1150. The Los Angeles all-sports station broadcasts the Bruins' games, including a two-hour pre-game show and a one-hour post-game show.
Chris Roberts, a four-time Golden Mike Award winner, is in his 10th season as the voice of the Bruins. Former Bruin quarterback Matt Stevens is in his fifth year on the broadcast team and his first as the analyst in the booth. John Ireland, who is a sportscaster for KCAL-TV, is in his first season as the sideline reporter.
This week's game will be broadcast on KLAC (570 AM) due to a conflict with the L.A. Dodgers.
Stations on the Bruin radio network include: KDFO 800AM (Bakersfield), KCBL 1340AM (Fresno), KAVL 610AM (Lancaster), KSDO 1130AM (San Diego, CA), KSHP 1400AM (Las Vegas, NV), KAOI 1110AM (Maui), KPTT 630AM (Reno, NV), KBET 850AM (Thousand Oaks), KVEN 1450AM (Ventura), KIXW 960AM (Victorville), KVBL 1400AM (Visalia), KDEF 1150 AM (Albuquerque, NM), KEWS 1350 AM (Riverside).
In addition, Fox Sports Radio provides ancillary programming during the week, including Bob Toledo interviews during the week of the games.
UCLA games are also available via the internet at www.uclabruins.com and www.foxsports1150.com. Fans can also hear the game for as little as 10 cents per minute by dialing 1-800-846-4700 (ext. 5929) to listen to the broadcast on the telephone.
TELEVISION - In 2000, 11 of UCLA's 12 games were televised live (four ABC-TV, three on Fox Sports Net West 2, two on the Pac-10's Fox Sports Net package, one on the Pac-10's Fox Syndicated package and one on CBS-TV).
Seven of UCLA's 11 games this season have already been televised or have been selected for live television. The Alabama game was broadcast nationally by ESPN. ABC televised the Ohio State contest nationally and will also carry the Oregon State, Stanford and Oregon games. Fox Sports Net televised the game at Kansas and will carry the California game.
Entering the Oregon State game, 91 of UCLA's last 97 games have been televised live.
The UCLA Sports Magazine show, produced by Fox Sports Net West 2, airs every Thursday night at 6:30 p.m or 7:30 p.m. during the season.
UCLA ON THE WEB - UCLA releases, player information and results can be found on the school's official website - www.uclabruins.com. For more detailed information on Heisman Trophy and Doak Walker Award candidate DeShaun Foster, click on the logo on the right side of the front page.
TOLEDO PRESS CONFERENCE - Bruin head coach Bob Toledo hosts a weekly press conference every Monday. It is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. in the Morgan Center Press Room adjacent to the new Hall of Fame. The opposing coach is usually available by speaker phone at either 1:15 or 2:30 p.m. A few players are usually available prior to 1:15 p.m.
PAC-10 TELECONFERENCES - The Pac-10 holds a weekly teleconference with all 10 head coaches every Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. Each coach has a 10-minute window. Bob Toledo is on the call at 11:30 a.m. Please call the Pac-10 office or a Pac-10 SID to obtain the telephone number.
PAC-10 SATELLITE FEED - The Pac-10 provides a weekly satellite feed containing interviews with coaches and players and game highlight footage. The half-hour feed airs every Wedensday at 11:30 a.m. PT, beginning on Sept. 5. Coordinates for the feed are Telstar 6, Transponder 9 (C-Band).
ASU GAME UPDATE - The Arizona State game, which was scheduled for Sept. 15, will be played on Dec. 1 in the Rose Bowl. The kickoff time has yet to be set. UCLA will honor all tickets which were intended for the Sept. 15 date.Should fans holding tickets for the ASU game not be able to attend the game on Dec. 1, UCLA will work out an exchange for one of the other three home games. If fans have questions regarding ticketing policies, they can call (310) UCLA - WIN. Check the UCLA web site at uclabruins.com for additional information.
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