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COLLEGE FOOTBALL / 1996 | GAME REPORT / UCLA 44, NE
Louisiana 0

Are They Experienced? They Are Now

September 15, 1996|JIM HODGES

There was plenty of letter time to be had Saturday night in the Rose Bowl.

Seldom-used senior punter Justin Sogoian punted once for 49 yards, helping his lifetime average only slightly. Sogoian had punted only one other time, against Fresno State last season, and that went for 48 yards.

And, with 11 Bruins carrying the football, with 344 yards in 56 carries, there was plenty of opportunity for everybody.

Third-string running back Keith Brown, who had been used only to run back kickoffs against Tennessee, had nine carries for 32 yards. Akil Davis ran four times for 57 yards, including a 41-yard run, and third-string fullback Jarvis Watson had 29 yards and a touchdown to show for his four carries.

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Seeking to put his stamp on UCLA football, Coach Bob Toledo abandoned the old practice of bringing the Bruins underneath the Rose Bowl in buses and letting them off near the locker-room door. Instead, the team was let off south of the stadium, to walk through picnicking fans, about 200 yards to the front gate. It's a tradition at Tennessee, where the Volunteers walk about a quarter-mile down a street lined with cheering fans to Neyland Stadium. The crowd for the first UCLA walk was somewhat smaller.

In another borrowed tradition, the first 20,000 fans into the Rose Bowl were given a "Toledo Towel," on which was emblazoned "12th Bruin." Before coming to UCLA, Toledo was offensive coordinator at Texas A&M, where the "12th man" has been part of Aggie lore.

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Northeast Louisiana replaced Long Beach State on the UCLA schedule when Long Beach dropped football after the 1991 season. The switch cost the Bruins a fair amount because they were to pay Long Beach $125,000 to come to the Rose Bowl. Northeast took home a $250,000 check.

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