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CAN'T HOLD HIM BACK: In his second start, UCLA tailback Johnathan Franklin rushed for 80 yards and he'll need a bigger effort on Saturday against Kansas State now that UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince will miss at least three weeks following jaw surgery.Â Photo Credit: AP photoUCLA takes major step in right direction
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Staff Writer
Tennessee Head Coach Lane Kiffin said that his Vols would beat Florida. UCLA claimed that the football monopoly in Los Angeles was over. Well after the two teams met this past week it is apparent that neither team is about to make due on their statement. But the victory for UCLA shows that they are at least on their way.
Taking a young team back East and playing in front of over 102,000 fans has disaster written all over it, but UCLA's young players have stepped up like veterans. Quarterback Kevin Prince and running backs Johnathan Franklin and Milton Knox are only red-shirt freshmen. UCLA has very young players on their offensive line, including a true freshman at left tackle. These players are playing like veterans, but it is really the Bruins defense that has led to their 2-0 start.
The Bruins defense has gotten off to rough starts over the first two games of the season. They gave up 14 first quarter points week one against San Diego St, and then shut them out the rest of the way. This past week at Tennessee they gave up 10 first quarter points, but then held the Vols to only a 4th quarter field goal, and they held Tennessee at the goal line in the 4th quarter with the game on the line.
USC All American safety Taylor Mayes is one of the best in the nation, but UCLA's sophomore safety Rahim Moore has been the best safety in the city through two games. Moore had the knack for getting his hands on the ball since his days at Dorsey High School. He set a UCLA single game record against San Diego St. when he intercepted three passes. This past week he picked off another two. He actually had a third interception, but it was called back because the Bruins were offside.
UCLA held Tennessee to only 208 total yards, while forcing four turnovers. Their defense has forced seven turnovers on the season so far, Moore accounting for five of those.
UCLA is not ready to compete for a national title, but this win, in a hostile environment, shows that the program is going in the right direction. The defense is playing at a very high level. Once the young players on offense catch up and start to put some points on the board they will be a very tough team to beat.
The Bruins will be hosting Kansas St. this Saturday, but they will be doing it without quarterback Prince, who will be sidelined for 3-4 weeks with a broken jaw. True freshman Richard Brehaut looks like he will get his first start, or last year's starter, Kevin Craft, may get the nod.
UCLA may catch a break because their next two opponents are Kansas St. and Stanford, who are not very strong opponents. Prince may be able to return for the Oregon game, and he should be back for their match up against No. 8 Cal.