Many happy returns.
Keith Brown had his Saturday night with the average of 4.2 yards per carry, best among the tailbacks. Ryan Roques had his with the 38-yard kickoff return to open the game. Ryan Nece had his with 10 tackles and a broken-up pass.
But no Bruin who missed the opening two games of the season because of the handicapped-parking violations played a bigger role against Fresno State than Robert Thomas, who started and starred at the same time, and for the first time.
After averaging about 15 snaps a game as a true freshman in 1998, and then missing the beginning of this season, he moved right into the opening lineup at middle linebacker, went the whole way and finished with a game-high 14 tackles. Not only a career best by six, it was the most for any Bruin in nearly three years, since Brian Wilmer had 15 against Arizona on Nov. 16, 1996.