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UCLA's Kevin Prince is expected to start against California

UCLA FOOTBALL FYI

Quarterback is cleared to play after missing game against Washington State with a knee injury. Prince says swelling in knee has subsided and that he is fine.

October 04, 2010|By Chris Foster

UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince was medically cleared to play and is expected to start against California on Saturday.

"He said he feels good. Now we have to be careful we don't overwork him" in practice, Coach Rick Neuheisel said.

Prince missed last Saturday's game against Washington State with a knee injury. Richard Brehaut started in his place.

Bruins coaches were waiting to see whether Prince was healthy enough to run with the ball and are now convinced. Prince said Monday the swelling in his right knee had subsided and that he was "fine."

Prince's legs may figure prominently in this week's game.

In a 52-31 loss to Nevada, Cal faced a "pistol" offense similar to UCLA's and Wolf Pack quarterback Colin Kaepernick had room to run. Kaepernick gained 148 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns.

"Kaepernick had a number of long runs and also made some great plays on third down to keep drives alive," Neuheisel said.

Prince has not run as much as Kaepernick in the Bruins' version of the pistol. He has 142 yards and three rushing touchdowns in four games.

"I don't think that is necessarily who we are," Neuheisel said, referring to the prospect of Prince running for long gains. But he added, "Kevin has shown he has the ability to make plays with his legs."

Brehaut gained eight yards in five carries and scored once in the Bruins' 42-28 victory over Washington State.

"The good news is Richard now has a little experience under his belt," Neuheisel said. "We won't hesitate if we have to put him in the game."

Fully loaded

Just two weeks ago, Neuheisel said he didn't think Johnathan Franklin was the type of running back who could carry the ball 25 to 30 times per game.

Franklin had 216 yards in 30 carries the victory over Washington State.

"He proved me wrong," Neuheisel said. "There's nothing like lighting a fire under somebody. Johnathan is one of those guys who will do whatever the game calls for."

However, Neuheisel added, "I'm not sure we do that on an every-game basis."

Franklin averages 125 yards per game, ranking him 10th nationally and second in the Pacific 10 Conference. With 630 yards, he has already topped his rushing total from 2009. Franklin had 566 yards last season.

"It's not me, it's the offense," Franklin said. "It's the line blocking. It's the quarterback making the read. I don't care about the national stuff. I just want the team to win."

UCLA ranks 10th nationally in rushing, averaging 262.4 yards per game. The Bruins have scored 13 rushing touchdowns, one more than they had in 2009.

Cal is allowing an average of 126 yards rushing per game. The Bears are 38th nationally against the run despite giving up 316 yards rushing to Nevada.

Eye level

USC and UCLA are both unranked for the first time since the end of the 2001 season.

Since that time, USC is 95-14 and won seven Pac-10 titles. UCLA is 57-49 and finished higher than fifth only twice.

chris.foster@latimes.com

twitter.com/cfosterlatimes

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