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Inside College Football | UCLA REPORT

Emanuel Creates Big Plays and a Flexible Secondary

September 19, 2002|Steve Henson

Ben Emanuel is proving to be a ball magnet. Big Play Ben.

Which is making him the last piece of the puzzle that would enable Matt Ware to move from free safety to cornerback.

Last week against Oklahoma State, Emanuel had an interception in each half.

In the Bruins' opener, he returned a fumble 89 yards on a Colorado State two-point conversion attempt with 1:30 to play, cementing the victory.

Last season in his first career start, he had two interceptions against Washington State.

"I'm looking to make an impact," Emanuel said. "I'm looking for ways to turn the momentum our way."

Emanuel, a sophomore, won the job at strong safety this fall despite missing spring practice because he was recovering from shoulder surgery. He moved to free safety in the third quarter against Oklahoma State when Ware suffered a sprained ankle.

Although Emanuel will return to strong safety Saturday against Colorado, eventually he is expected to play free safety when the 6-foot-3 Ware plays cornerback to match up against tall receivers.

"Ben Emanuel has done a fabulous job, and that's a big reason we feel comfortable moving Ware to corner when the situation dictates," Coach Bob Toledo said.

Free safety was Emanuel's position at Clear Brook High in Friendswood, Texas, and he had 13 interceptions there.

He chose UCLA in part because his cousin, former NFL receiver Bert Emanuel, played in 1990 for the Bruins before transferring to Rice.


UCLA is plus five in the turnover department, forcing five by Oklahoma State and two by Colorado State while committing only one in each game.

The Bruins have intercepted five passes and recovered two fumbles--not counting the pivotal fumble caused by Spencer Havner and recovered and returned for two points by Emanuel.

UCLA has converted turnovers into three touchdowns.

The Bruin turnovers are interceptions thrown by Cory Paus and were converted into 10 points.


Senior receiver Jon Dubravac will start ahead of Tab Perry because Dubravac is from Denver. He missed last season because of a back injury and does not have a catch this season.... Fullback J.D. Groves suffered a sprained neck Wednesday and is questionable for Saturday.

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