Maybe it was the navy blue uniforms, or maybe it was running back Johnathan Franklin, but UCLA looked really fast last Saturday night in their 66-10 victory over Arizona. Photo by Jason Redmond (AP)
The 162 rushing yards that UCLA senior running back Johnathan Franklin (Dorsey High School) gained in UCLA’s 66-10 blowout victory over Arizona put him on top of the school’s career leader board. Franklin surpassed Gaston Green as UCLA’s all-time leading rusher.
Green finished his career in 1987 with 3,731 yards, and he went on to play in the NFL, where Franklin will be playing next year.
Franklin was a standout running back at Dorsey High School, and while at UCLA, he has outlasted a number of highly recruited running backs, including Milton Knox, who was the Los Angeles City Section player of the year out of Birmingham High School in 2007, and Franklin also held off Malcolm Jones, who was the Gatorade National Player of the Year in 2009, out of Oaks Christian High School. Franklin won the starting running back job as a red-shirt freshman, and he never let any other running back take it from him.
This season Franklin is fifth in the nation in rushing with 1,204 yards, and there are three regular season games to play. UCLA will play at least four more games because they have earned their way into the bowl season, and if they win the PAC-12 South, the number of games left in the season will go up to five because they will play in the PAC-12 championship game for a second consecutive season.
The UCLA record for most rushing yards in a season is 1,571, which was set by Karim Abdul al-Jabbar, who was known as Sharmon Shah while at Dorsey High School.
Franklin has always been a hard working and humble young man.
“It’s a great feeling,” Franklin said. “All praises to my teammates. They open up the big holes. I just run through them. My goal wasn’t to break the record, just to help the team. Winning is our only motive. We understand what kind of position we’re in.”
Heading into the game UCLA was ranked No. 25, and Arizona No. 24 in the AP Poll. Arizona has fallen out of the rankings, and UCLA has moved up to No. 17, ahead of USC, who is No. 21.
UCLA is in first place in the PAC-12 South and they travel to Washington State this Saturday at 7:30.
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