Friday, September 21, 2001

UCLA tailback 'special' problem for Buckeyes


Foster had 189 yards against Kansas

Enquirer news services

        COLUMBUS — As he prepares to face 14th-ranked UCLA on Saturday in the Rose Bowl, Ohio State senior free safety Donnie Nickey thinks the Bruins will be both predictable and unpredictable.

        “They like the trick plays,” Nickey said. “They like to lull you to sleep a little bit, then hit you with something big.”

        But when they kick off at 3:30p.m. for a game called by legendary ABC announcer Keith Jackson, the Bruins won't be lulling the 21st-ranked Buckeyes to sleep with a pedestrian offense. They'll be bowling them over with senior tailback DeShaun Foster, a Heisman Trophy candidate who spurned the NFL after a broken hand spoiled his 1,037-yard season in 2000.

        “I didn't think I was physically ready,” Foster said of the pros. “I haven't had that good a college career.”

        He's ninth on UCLA's all-time rushing list with 2,384 yards and needs only 531 yards to move into sixth. That shouldn't take long. This year, Foster has rushed for 299 yards in two games, road victories at Alabama and Kansas. In a 41-17 rout of the Jayhawks on Sept.8, UCLA totaled 292 yards on the ground, its best rushing effort since 1998 against Arizona.

        Kansas found Foster virtually unstoppable.

        He piled up a career-high 189 yards and a touchdown before being lifted with 13:23 remaining. Nine of his 28 carries went for at least 10 yards. Eighteen went for 5 or more. Eleven times, he produced a first down. Foster added three receptions for 41 yards, including a 35-yard gain on a shovel pass.

        “DeShaun Foster is a special tailback,” UCLA coach Bob Toledo said. “Mentally he's a very tough guy. Last year he broke his hand and still rushed for over 1,000 yards. He can do a lot of things with the football. He's the guy people have to stop to slow down our offense.”

       



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