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UCLA FYI

Bruins aren't all they can be on offense

While defense carries the team to a 19-15 victory over Tennessee, offense manages only 186 total yards. Coach Rick Neuheisel promises improvement.

September 13, 2009|Chris Foster

KNOXVILLE, TENN. — The defense stole the show -- and won the game -- for UCLA on Saturday.

And the offense?

Well, it was shades of last season.

The Bruins had only 186 total yards in a 19-15 victory over Tennessee. Quarterback Kevin Prince was a humble 11 for 23 for 101 yards. The running game netted 85 yards and averaged 2.4 yards a carry. UCLA was three for 14 on third down.

"We'll be a better offense; we will be more explosive," Coach Rick Neuheisel said. "We have the ingredients to get all that done."

What was different from last season was that the offense didn't repeatedly put the Bruins' defense in no-win situations. UCLA turned the ball over once, when Prince was sacked and fumbled.

Prince did not have a pass intercepted. Tailback Johnathan Franklin had 80 yards in 17 carries.

It wasn't a lot, but it was enough.

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Noise poise

Legendary Neyland Stadium was as advertised.

"It was the loudest place I have ever been in," Prince said.

But the Bruins seemed to handle the noise before quieting it.

"I don't think anyone got rattled," Prince said. "I think the coaches did a good job preparing us for it."

Still, the Bruins did have 70 yards in penalties.

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Safety first

Prince rolled out in the end zone, absorbed a wallop from Tennessee safety Dennis Rogan and took a safety with 1 minute 41 seconds left.

Prince walked off bloody and with a loose or chipped tooth. Good thing his father, Stephen, is a dentist.

The safety came a play early. Neuheisel said the plan was to take the safety on fourth down instead of punting from the end zone.

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Hitting his mark

Linebacker Reggie Carter had 14 tackles, his highest total since getting 20 against Brigham Young in the second game of the 2008 season.

He was happy to do a little less in the second game this season. UCLA lost to BYU, 59-0.

"That's a winning 14," Carter said. "That is always better than losing and getting 20."

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First timers

Morrell Presley and Randall Carroll, both true freshmen, had their first college receptions.

Presley caught a 12-yard pass in the first quarter. "That felt good," he said. "That's the first of many, I promise to all Bruin fans out there."

Carroll caught a seven-yard pass for a first down in the third quarter on a drive that ended in a 47-yard field goal by Kai Forbath.

"It was unreal, as soon as I heard the play call, I knew it was coming to me," Carroll said. "It felt like it took 10 minutes for the ball to get to me. I kept thinking, 'I've got to concentrate and catch this one.' I knew if I didn't catch it, they were going to keep me out the rest of the game."

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Quick hits

Forbath kicked field goals of 26, 39, 31 and 47 yards. But his miss from 51 yards just before halftime ended a string of 16 consecutive makes. It was also his first miss from 50 or more yards in eight tries during his college career. . . . Safety Rahim Moore remains the nation's leader in interceptions. Moore picked off two Jonathan Crompton passes, giving him five for the season. The last Bruins player to have that many in a season was cornerback Trey Brown in 2007. . . . The victory was only the sixth by UCLA in its last 23 games away from the Rose Bowl.

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chris.foster@latimes.com

twitter.com/cfosterlatimes

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