UCLA will lose two key players, as tackle Xavier Su’a-Filo and defensive tackle Brian Price said they would not return next season.
FOR THE RECORD:
UCLA football: An article accompanying the game story on UCLA’s 30-21 victory over Temple in the EagleBank Bowl in Wednesday’s Sports section misspelled UCLA tailback Chane Moline’s first name as Chance. Also, in the agate summary of that game, Temple tight end Steve Maneri was credited with one reception for 26 yards and no touchdowns. Maneri scored a touchdown on that reception. —
Su’a-Filo said he would go on a two-year Mormon mission and not return for this school year. Price said he would declare for the NFL draft.
Su’a-Filo, a freshman, started every game and was considered vital to the Bruins’ rebuilding project. He will leave for Utah today and begin the training process. He said he plans to return to UCLA at the end of his mission.
“I went through the same process as I did when I decided to come here,” Su’a-Filo said. “That was the best decision I ever made. I thought about it long and hard, and prayed, and I feel that this is something I need to do right now.”
But, Su’a-Filo said, “As long as Coach [Rick] Neuheisel is at UCLA, then I’m a Bruin.”
Price, a 6-foot-2, 300-pound junior, said he has been mulling his decision for the last few weeks and decided “the time is right.” He is projected as a first-round pick and will be considered the third-best defensive tackle in the draft behind Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh and Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy.
UCLA kicker Kai Forbath said he wasn’t ready to make a decision on whether he would declare for the NFL draft.
Prince injured again
Quarterback Kevin Prince left the EagleBank Bowl with four minutes left in UCLA’s 30-21 victory over Temple on Tuesday after suffering another mild separation of his right shoulder.
Prince, who originally injured the shoulder in the regular-season finale against USC, scrambled for seven yards and a first down at the 50, but took a hard hit at the end of the play.
He left and was replaced by Kevin Craft, who ran out the clock.
“It’s the same thing as the USC game,” Prince said. “I felt it pop out. But it’s the end of the season. There is time for it to heal.”
This season, Prince also had a fractured jaw, sitting out two games, and a concussion that forced him to sit out half a game.
Prince completed 16 of 31 passes for 221 yards against Temple. He threw touchdown passes of 46 yards to Nelson Rosario and 32 yards to Terrence Austin.
Moore a perfect 10
Rahim Moore’s third-quarter interception was his 10th, the second most in a season by a UCLA player behind Carlton Gray, who had 11 in 1991.
“It shows that hard work pays off,” Moore said.
Moore, a sophomore, has 14 interceptions, tying him for fourth on UCLA’s all-time list.
Ayers makes point
Akeem Ayers’ interception for a touchdown was his third touchdown this season. He also scored on a fumble return against Washington and when he made a leaping interception in the end zone against Oregon.
Asked which interception was his favorite, Ayers said, “both.”
Neuheisel quickly jumped in and said, “This one is, we won this game.”
Ayers finished fourth on the team in touchdowns.
Senior tailback Chance Moline closed out his career with 69 yards rushing. He had 37 on the last drive as the Bruins ran out the final 4 minutes 23 seconds. . . . Forbath had field goals of 40 and 42 yards, running his streak to 37 consecutive field goals of under 50 yards. Forbath has made 41 of his last 44. . . . Austin had 178 all-purpose yards, leaving him second in UCLA’s all-time list with 4,325.