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Jeff Locke didn't allow Marqise Lee to have his kicks

UCLA FOOTBALL FYI

USC's Marqise Lee came into Saturday's game averaging nearly 30 yards a kickoff return. He didn't get a chance to show his stuff as Bruins kicker Jeff Locke's first six kickoffs cleared the end zone.

November 17, 2012|By Chris Foster

It was a simple plan and UCLA kicker Jeff Locke had the leg to implement it.

USC's Marqise Lee came into Saturday's game averaging nearly 30 yards a kickoff return. His game-changing returns were well documented. He didn't get much of a chance in UCLA's 38-28 victory.

Locke buried his first six kickoffs, all of them clearing the back of the end zone. Lee returned the last kickoff 27 yards.

"I wanted those kickoffs so bad," Lee said. "He's a great kicker. That dude was kicking it out of the end zone. I was lucky to get one."

That was the plan.

"We didn't want to see him with the ball in his hands," Locke said. "He's very dangerous. We have a lot respect for him. We definitely didn't want to give him a chance."

Locke was sure he wouldn't.

"Today, all those kicks felt pretty pure," Locke said. "By the time I looked up, the ball was out of the end zone."

Franklin grinds

UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin finished with 171 yards in 29 carries, the 18th 100-yard game of his career. Gaston Green (1984-87) holds the UCLA record with 20.

Franklin said he got stronger as the game went on. He had 97 yards in the second half.

"I was definitely feeling I was in a zone," Franklin said. "Every player wants to get that feeling they can't be stopped."

Franklin needs only 131 yards to break Karim Abdul-Jabbar's single-season rushing record. Abdul-Jabbar had 1,571 yards in 1995.

Our turn

In the week leading up to the game, UCLA players had heard all about USC receivers Lee and Robert Woods. Bruins receiver Shaquelle Evans didn't take exception, but he took note.

Evans had eight receptions for 114 yards Saturday. Teammate Joseph Fauria had four receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown.

"We knew there was a lot of attention on the other side," Evans said. "We knew we had the abilities to do what they can do. We showed it today."

Evans had a 25-yard reception in the third quarter to set up quarterback Brett Hundley's three-yard touchdown run for a 31-20 UCLA lead.

Block that kick

UCLA special teams took care of business.

Sheldon Price blocked Andre Heidari's 38-yard field goal attempt in the fourth quarter.

Linebacker Eric Kendricks deflected a punt in the third quarter. It gave UCLA the ball on the USC 33-yard line and led to a touchdown.

The Bruins blocked two field goals and two punts in their previous game against Washington State.

Donahue honored

The Rose Bowl announced that the stadium's press box will be named Terry Donahue Pavilion, after the former UCLA coach. Donahue took the Bruins to four Rose Bowl games, the most by a UCLA coach.

Quick hits

The Bruins had scored 35 points combined in their last five games against USC, all losses. They topped that on Franklin's fourth-quarter touchdown run. … The victory gave Coach Jim Mora nine victories in his first season. Donahue is the only other UCLA coach to have nine victories in his first season. He went 9-2-1 in 1976. … Running back Damien Thigpen re-injured his left knee in the second quarter.

chris.foster@latimes.com

twitter.com/cfosterlatimes

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