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Austin makes kickoff returns pretty special

September 28, 2008|Chris Foster and Diane Pucin | Times Staff Writer

UCLA's Terrence Austin set a school record with 206 yards in kickoff returns, a number that would have been significantly higher had his 100-yard return of the opening kickoff not been called back for holding.

It was part of an up-and-down day for the Bruins' special teams.

Bret Lockett picked up two points, returning a blocked extra-point attempt 95 yards to keep the Bruins within a touchdown, down 30-24, in the third quarter.

That was after Fresno State's Marlon Moore went 62 yards for a touchdown on a punt return for the game's first score.

Austin nearly made up for it. He had returns of 73 and 56 yards to give the Bruins good field position. One drive ended in a touchdown, the other in a field goal.

"They definitely won that phase of the game," Fresno State Coach Pat Hill said.

Craft stays afloat

A week after a woeful performance, UCLA quarterback Kevin Craft made offensive coordinator Norm Chow proud.

"That's what a quarterback is suppose to do," UCLA's offensive coordinator said.

Craft, who threw for only 81 yards last week, had a modest 150 against Fresno State but also ran for 46. With the Bruins trailing, 36-31, he scrambled for 16 yards and 18 yards on back-to-back plays, giving the Bruins the ball at the Fresno 13. Derrick Coleman fumbled on the next play.

Still, Craft saw plenty of room for improvement: "We've got to convert those third downs and keep those drives going." The Bruins were two for nine on third down Saturday.

They're running

UCLA ran for 234 yards and averaged 6.2 yards a carry.

"When we start rolling, we feed off each other, especially us five up front," guard Scott Glicksberg said. "The minute one of us breaks a big block, he's all hyped up. Then the guy next to him gets going. It's a trickle-down thing."

Kahlil Bell's return from a sprained ankle helped. He gained 73 yards in 20 carries, playing for the first time since the season opener. But Bell was not in the game much during the fourth quarter, as his ankle "tightened" up.

Coleman, his replacement, had a 44-yard run to set up a TD. He also had the fumble.

"I don't know what happened," Coleman said. " . . . The ball just came out. I should have had control of it."

Twice Price

UCLA defensive tackle Brian Price had an interception, on a pass that was tipped at the line of scrimmage by defensive end Tom Blake.

That was after he was sent in at fullback and threw the lead block on a one-yard touchdown run by Bell.

"I was ready to knock some heads," Price said. "I can't wait until they call me in again."

Reed injured . . . again

Micah Reed returned to the offensive line two weeks after he injured his right knee. He played both guard positions, but left the game after suffering a sprained left knee.

Back home

Chastin West, a wide receiver for Fresno State, had five catches for 69 yards and a touchdown. He is from Moorpark High, and some of West's teammates said the 6-1, 215-pound junior, who missed last season after suffering a knee injury in training camp, was looking forward to playing at the Rose Bowl more than any other Bulldog.

"He really wanted to win here," Fresno tight end Bear Pascoe said.

After West led Fresno in receptions with 30 in 2006, he was sidelined last year after having surgery. His first catch since that injury came in last week's 55-54 double-overtime win at Toledo.

"It feels good to come up big at this place," West said. "I'm back in rhythm."

Bumbled and fumbled

After tailback Ryan Mathews scored Fresno's second touchdown to put the Bulldogs ahead, 13-10, the Bulldogs attempted a curious two-point conversion. After the game, Coach Pat Hill said cryptically that the play hadn't been called by him. "But I'll take the blame," he added.

It turns out the play was called by tight end Pascoe, who bobbled the ball.

"It was all on me," Pascoe said. "I fumbled the snap so I'll take full blame. I had a choice to shift it or run it and I ran it. It looked bad."

Hill said the team had worked on the play. "But we weren't supposed to run it then, we were just supposed to get an idea of what [UCLA] looked like on that play."


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