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Neuheisel: Prince is starting quarterback

October 12, 2009|Chris Foster

Kevin Prince is UCLA's quarterback. End of story.

That was the message from Coach Rick Neuheisel on Sunday, a day after the Bruins lost to 13th-ranked Oregon, 24-10.

Prince, who sat out two games because of a fractured jaw, labored throughout the game. He completed 13 of 25 passes for 81 yards and had one pass intercepted, which was returned for a touchdown.

Richard Brehaut replaced Prince in the fourth quarter and Neuheisel said he would "review" the quarterback situation. The reviews are in.

"Kevin Prince is our quarterback," Neuheisel said. "Richard went in and did some good things, and we want him to keep coming." But, "for the immediate future, Kevin Prince is our quarterback."

Neuheisel said he had yet to tell his quarterbacks of the decision, saying he first wanted to look at the game tape Sunday night.

"I think Kevin hung in there," Neuheisel said. "We're giving the benefit of the doubt that there was some rust. I think he is going to come back from this and be a very good player."

UCLA's offensive woes go beyond Prince. The Bruins have scored five touchdowns when reaching the red zone. Clemson, with three, is the only one of 119 major college teams that has scored fewer.

Prince, though, did get the offense into the end zone three times in the season opener against San Diego State and managed the game in the Bruins' 19-15 victory over Tennessee. He was injured late in that game.

"It is way too early to pull the plug on a guy that you have so much hope and promise for," said Neuheisel, who then covered his bases by adding, "I thought Richard did well."

Brehaut completed five of 10 passes for 64 yards, and one of his passes was intercepted, after it bounced off the hands of receiver Taylor Embree.

Neuheisel shouldered some of the blame for Prince's performance, saying, "Hindsight being what is, maybe we rushed him a little bit."

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Abandon ship

The thud heard around the Internet late Saturday was caused by Bruins fans hopping off the bandwagon.

The online chatter was harsh, even if the website dwellers represented a small percentage of UCLA fans.

"We're trying to keep each other uplifted," said linebacker Reggie Carter, one of four team captains. "It'd be great if the fans stayed with us too. We're all one family. You don't run out on your family when things are going bad.

"Hopefully, they'll stay with us and understand we're fine. We're fighting. It's not like we're not trying. We want to win for ourselves as much as we want to win for them. They were with us when we were winning. We'll see how many stay loyal and stay with us now."

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Injury report

Carter is scheduled to have an MRI exam on his left knee. He said he was injured Saturday when two Oregon players cut him on the same play.

"One man cut me from the right, and I fought him off with my hands," Carter said. "Then I looked to my left and saw the other guy coming. I knew he was going to cut me and I knew it was going to hurt."

Tailback Johnathan Franklin is day to day because of a sprained left ankle, Neuheisel said. Safety Glenn Love suffered a sprained right ankle, but ran during workouts Sunday, Neuheisel said.

Tailback Milton Knox has flu, Neuheisel said.

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Up next

UCLA (3-2, 0-2) VS.

CALIFORNIA (3-2, 0-2)

Saturday at the Rose Bowl, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7

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chris.foster@latimes.com

twitter.com/cfosterlatimes

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