Bruins Open Season Against Surging Rams

Sept. 3, 2002

After upsetting intrastate rival Colorado last weekend, Colorado State hopes to continue its success as it plays UCLA at the Rose Bowl on Saturday.

The Rams (2-0) went from unranked to No. 19 in the AP poll after knocking off the Buffaloes for the third time in four years last Saturday.

Running back Cecil Sapp is also off to a fast start for the Rams, and should figure heavily into Saturday's game plan. Sapp has run for 259 yards and four touchdowns on 47 carries in Colorado State's first two games.

This game pits the Rams against the Bruins (0-0) for just the second time. UCLA came away with a 35-7 win over Colorado State in 1962.

The Bruins open their season after finishing 2001 with a 7-4 mark.

UCLA returns 11 positional starters from last season - six on offense and five on defense. The Bruins lost standout tailback DeShaun Foster to the NFL draft but they still have enough talent in their backfield and on their offensive line to give teams fits.

'UCLA has big, strong runningbacks, and a big offensive line. They are similar to Colorado,' said Lubick. 'Their strength may be their defense. They are excellent on defense.'

Junior Akil Harris will get most of the carries for the Bruins this season. The 6-foot, 216-pound Harris was UCLA's second leading rusher behind Foster in 2001, tallying 375 yards and three touchdowns on 76 attempts for a 4.9 yards per carry average.

The Bruins offensive line returns four starters led by senior tackles Mike Saffer and Bryce Bohlander.

The defense features standout defensive backs Ricky Manning Jr. and Matt Ware. Defensive tackle Rodney Leisle anchors the defensive line. The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Leisle made 36 tackles and recorded two sacks last season.

The key to the Bruins season could be the play of their quarterback. Senior Cory Paus must overcome injuries and personal issues in order for UCLA to make any noise in the Pac-10.

Paus was bothered by an injured thumb most of last season. He threw for 1,740 yards with eight touchdowns and eight interceptions in 10 games. Paus, who threw 17 touchdown passes in eight games as sophomore in 2000, sat out the Bruins season finale last year.

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