UCLA Comeback Fails Just Short In 31-22 Loss To Kansas State

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Kansas State, With 313 Yards On The Ground, Runs Away From UCLA

Down eight points with under two minutes remaining, Kevin Prince more than doubled his yardage output on the day on the potential game-tying drive. Prince completed two passes for 64 yards, the last one a 35-yard strike to Rick Marvray to pull the Bruins within 24-22. However, Prince’s pass to Taylor Embree for the two-point conversion fell incomplete.

Kansas State recovered the onside kick, and three rushes by Daniel Thomas later, the Wildcats pulled away with a 31-22 victory over UCLA at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas. Thomas finished the day with 234 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns.

UCLA kicker Kai Forbath kicked three field goals on the day, and has made 40 straight field goal attempts inside of 40 yards. The Bruins managed 190 yards rushing themselves, but Prince was just 9-for-26 on the day with 121 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions.

The Bruins open their home schedule next Saturday night against Stanford.

For more information on today’s game, visit Bruins Nation.

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Kai Forbath's Second Field Goal Brings UCLA To Within One Of Kansas State, 14-13

UCLA cut the Kansas State lead to one, 14-13, with Kai Forbath’s second field goal of the game, a 36-yarder with 7:39 remaining in the third quarter.

The field goal was the final play of a 14-play, 62-yard drive for the Bruins.

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Opening Drive Touchdown Gives Kansas State Second Half Lead Over UCLA

The Wildcats marched 80 yards — actually 90, after a 10-yard penalty on their first play — in four plays on their opening drive of the second half, taking a 14-10 lead on UCLA with 12:40 remaining in the third quarter.

Kansas State had back-to-back long runs, the first a 44-yard run by running back Daniel Thomas on an option play, followed by a 28-yard touchdown scamper by William Powell to reclaim the lead.

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Forbath Field Goal Gives UCLA Lead Over Kansas St

UCLA capped an 11-play, 50-yard drive with a 44-yard field goal by Kai Forbath with 7:45 remaining in the second quarter, giving the Bruins a 10-7 Lead over the Wilcats.

Forbath, the Lou Groza Award winner last season as the nation’s best kicker, has made 38 straight field goal attempts from inside of 50 yards.

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UCLA Capitalizes On Second Kansas St Turnover, Ties Game At 7-7

UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince ran it in from 11 yards out, one play after Kansas State turned the ball over for the second time in the first half. Prince’s touchdown came with 12:43 left in the first half, and tied the game 7-7.

Wildcats’ quarterback Carson Coffman fumbled the snap, which was recovered by Akeem Ayers, leading to the tying score. It was the second fumble recovered by UCLA in the game.

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Kansas State Strikes First After UCLA Penalty

Kansas State was stopped on fourth-and-goal from the one yard line by UCLA, but it turned out the reason the Bruins stopped them was because they had 12 men on the field.

Given new life after the illegal participation penalty, Kansas State punched it into the end zone with a one-yard touchdown by Daniel Thomas, to give the Wildcats a 7-0 lead with 9:15 left in the first quarter.

UCLA went three and out on its first possession, with Kevin Prince throwing three incompletions.

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UCLA Seeks Sixth Straigh Season-Opening Win, Over Kansas State

FACTS & STATS: Site: Bill Snyder Family Stadium (50,000) — Manhattan, Kansas. Television: ABC. Home Record: UCLA 0-0, Kansas St. 0-0. Away Record: UCLA 0-0, Kansas St. 0-0. Neutral Record: UCLA 0-0, Kansas St. 0-0. Conference Record: UCLA 0-0, Kansas St. 0-0. Series Record: UCLA leads, 1-0.

GAME NOTES: The UCLA Bruins head to Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan to open their 2010 schedule against the Kansas State Wildcats in non-league action.

UCLA has won its last five season openers. The Bruins managed seven wins last year under coach Rick Neuheisel, marking an improvement of three victories from 2008’s 4-8 campaign. UCLA returns only six starters on offense and five on defense, but those players represent a significant portion of the team’s production from a year ago.

As for the Wildcats, they welcome back five offensive and seven defensive starters from last year’s 6-6 squad. K-State was tough to beat at home last year, finishing with a 5-1 mark at Bill Snyder Stadium. Still, two of the team’s six wins last year came against FCS opponents, and the Wildcats were never able to gain much momentum from week to week.

UCLA owns a 1-0 series edge after picking up a 23-9 win over the Wildcats in their inaugural meeting last year at the Rose Bowl.

Bruins’ offensive coordinator Norm Chow has a reputation as being one of the top offensive minds in the game. But in Chow’s two years at UCLA, the Bruins have finished 111th and 94th, respectively, in total offense. Still, there is some reason for optimism this year, and that is largely due to the growth of sophomore signal-caller Kevin Prince, who was inconsistent last year as a freshman, but showed flashes of talent and is poised to take a step forward this season. What should help Prince in his second year is the talent that surrounds him, beginning with junior wideouts Taylor Embree and Nelson Rosario. Both receivers are big targets that should help move the chains. Also look for Colorado transfer Josh Smith to play a vital role in the passing attack. Smith, who is also a junior, is not a big target but he has excellent speed to serve as Prince’s deep threat. Sophomore Johnathan Franklin rushed for 556 yards a year ago but faded down the stretch. Highly-touted freshmen Malcolm Jones and Jordan James could figure into the backfield mix.

Roaming the secondary for UCLA is All-American safety Rahim Moore, who led the nation with 10 interceptions in ‘09. He’ll headline a pass defense that ranked 28th in the nation last year and has three starters returning in the defensive backfield. That should help soften the blow of losing top corner Alterraun Verner, as should the emergence of talented sophomore corner Aaron Hester. The Bruins also lose a playmaker at linebacker in Reggie Carter, but coach Neuheisel does return an all-conference player in Akeem Ayers, who finished with 75 tackles and six sacks last year. While losing Verner and Carter hurt, the biggest hole left by a departing player is on the front line where Brian Price handled the opposition. Price was the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year, so it will be extremely tough to replace him. Hopes are that Datone Jones and sophomore Damien Holmes can give the Bruins some pressure off the ends.

With four starters back along the offensive line, and with 1,000-yard rusher Daniel Thomas healthy and ready to make his senior year a banner one, look for K-State to once again feature the running game. Thomas, who gained 1,265 yards and scored 11 TDs in 2009, is already one of the better backs in the Big 12, but the Wildcats need the passing game to gel in order to alleviate some pressure from his shoulders. For now, senior Carson Coffman is atop the depth chart at quarterback, but he will need to produce in order to fend off sophomore Collin Klein and redshirt junior Sammuel Lamur. The KSU offense accounted for just seven passing TDs all of last season, so getting the ball down the field will be instrumental in keeping opposing defenses from keying on the run game. The receiving corps is unproven, but there is talent in the form of senior Aubrey Quarles and a couple of transfers in Brodrick Smith and Chris Harper.

Last year, the Wildcats were pretty stingy against the run (105.4 ypg), but somewhat lax in defending the pass (234.5 ypg). Maintaining the former while improving the latter will obviously help K-State achieve its goals this season. Only a handful of starters return, but the majority are in the secondary which should help against the pass, although a lack of experience in the front seven could mean a slide down the rankings when it comes to stopping the run. Junior safety Tysyn Hartman impressed with his coverage and leadership throughout camp. Outside of junior DE Brandon Harold, there isn’t much in the way of proven talent up front. Add a rather green collection of linebackers and it’s really anyone’s guess as to how the Wildcats are going to measure up against the better teams they will play this season.

The Bruins have fared well in their past few season openers, however a win at Bill Snyder Stadium is anything but a guarantee. Prince will be tested right off the bat in a hostile environment. Defensively, the Bruins will have their hands full trying to slow down Thomas and the ground attack. Give a slight edge to the Bruins, who have a few more established playmakers and won this matchup last year.

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Defensive Tackle Brandon Willis Transfers To UCLA From UNC

The Bruins announced yesterday that freshman defensive tackle Brandon Willis has transferred from North Carolina and will join the Bruins immediately.

“We are very excited about Brandon joining our program,” said UCLA head football coach Rick Neuheisel. “We thought the world of him a year ago as a high school senior and we feel he will be a tremendous asset to our defensive front.”

Willis enrolled at North Carolina this past January and participated in Spring Practice. He left the school early in Fall camp.

Willis will redshirt this season, and will still have four years of eligibility remaining.

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Kai Forbath Might Not Kick For Bruins Saturday

UCLA senior kicker Kai Forbath is battling a groin injury, and may not be ready in time to kick for the Bruins on Saturday in their opener at Kansas State. Forbath didn’t kick at practice on Wednesday, writes Scott M. Reid of the Orange County Register:

Forbath revealed for the first time that some, but not all, of the medical personnel examining him in recent weeks believe there is a slight tear in the groin.

“Mixed diagnosis,” Forbath said.

Forbath made 28 of 31 field goal attempts last season, setting a UCLA record with a .903 success rate, and won the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top kicker. He made all 25 attempts of 40 yards and under, and his nine career field goals of 50 yards or more are a school record.

Against Kansas State last season, Forbath made all three field goal attempts in a 23-9 UCLA victory.

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UCLA-Kansas St. Game To Be Seen By 34 Percent Of Country On ABC

Saturday’s UCLA opener against Kansas State will be seen by 34 percent of the country on ABC. The game starts at 12:30 p.m. PDT, and will essentially be on ABC in all states from Texas to North Dakota and all points west. The full coverage maps can be seen here.

In the eastern part of the country, the game can be seen on either ESPN2 or ESPN3.com.

Per the UCLA What’s Bruin Blog, Carter Blackburn, Brock Huard and Mike Bellotti will call the game.

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UCLA Quarterback Prince On The Mend, Might Start Saturday

As UCLA prepares for their opener with Kansas State, coach Rick Neuheisel still hasn't named his starting quarterback. But, Kevin Prince, who has been nursing an back injury, appears close to being able to play.

"Kevin Prince practiced today and was rusty, but healthy, and we'll see how he comes out of it. He wanted to continue to do more, but we were holding him back like you would hold back a colt at the three-quarter pole," coach Rick Neuheisel said on Monday, "Hopefully he'll feel good again tomorrow but that's great news, if not just for this week than certainly for the rest of the season."

Chris Foster of the Los Angeles Times caught up with Prince, who received platelet-rich plasma injections last week:

"I felt like I could have done more throwing today, but [offensive coordinator Norm] Chow  wanted to make sure I wasn't going to aggravate it," Prince said. "Tomorrow, if I come out here and throw without any pain I should be all right."

"Richard Brehaut has been terrific throughout camp, and practiced well again today," said Neuheisel of the quarterback that will start if Prince isn't able to make the call. Per Short:

Neuheisel and Chow said last week that if Prince was healthy and practicing, he would start.

The Bruins' first game is at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday on ABC. UCLA has won their last five season openers.

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