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COLLEGE FOOTBALL / WEEK 8 | NOTES

Defensive Line Is Hobbled

October 15, 2000|BILL SHAIKIN and THOMAS BONK | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

The Bruins face Oregon State next week. The Beavers feature Ken Simonton, the leading rusher in the Pacific 10 Conference, and the Bruins might be forced to try to stop him without three of their top defensive linemen.

Kenyon Coleman remains sidelined after knee surgery. Sean Phillips, Coleman's replacement, severely sprained his left ankle on the second play of Saturday's game and watched the rest of the game on crutches. Rusty Williams injured his right foot and also needed crutches.

UCLA Coach Bob Toledo said he wasn't yet sure when the players could return, though he was particularly pessimistic about Phillips' status. The injuries forced the Bruins to grant extensive playing time to redshirt freshman twins Dave and Mat Ball.

The offensive line is a concern, too, although not for medical reasons. The Bruins are extremely concerned about the health of quarterback Cory Paus, yet he has been sacked eight times in two games since returning from a separated shoulder.

California not only blitzed repeatedly but succeeded without fear in keeping eight and nine defenders close to the line of scrimmage to contain the run.

"We weren't being very consistent in our blocking," offensive lineman Brian Polak said.

*

The Bruins lost their eighth consecutive road game, and there is no explaining this one away, not against a Cal team the UCLA players believe should have been soundly beaten.

Safety Marques Anderson said the players need to face up to the road losing streak instead of dismissing it as some freak statistic.

"It's got to be on the front burner right now," he said. "You have to win on the road."

*

Embattled Cal quarterback Kyle Boller, the one-time UCLA recruit and prep phenom at Newhall Hart High, completed 16 of 34 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns. He also frustrated UCLA with his scrambling ability.

No doubt, some of the fans that clamored for Boller to be demoted were the same ones storming the field in celebration Saturday.

"This is crazy," Boller said. "I never imagined the fans running down the field."

Paus completed 20 of 39 passes for 309 yards and a career-high four touchdowns but also threw three interceptions.

*

Outspoken and confident, Freddie Mitchell never met a receiver he didn't like, as long as it's him. He caught eight passes for a career-high 167 yards and a game-tying touchdown in the fourth quarter and sort of shrugged it off.

Said Mitchell: "I was born to play good in big games. That's what I'm trying to do, man."

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