Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Rushing record of no concern to Franklin
By Peter Yoon
LOS ANGELES -- Johnathan Franklin is getting a lot of questions this week about the UCLA Bruins’ career rushing record. But the only thing he wants to talk about is team's win-loss record.
Franklin enters Saturday's game against the Arizona Wildcats needing only 21 yards to eclipse Gaston Green's career rushing standard of 3,731 yards. For a guy averaging 6.7 yards a carry, it's a pretty sure bet he'll break the mark early in the first quarter. Franklin, however, won't be tracking his yardage total; he'll be tracking the score.
"If I get it this week or not, we have to win the game," Franklin said. "That is the most important thing; not the record or this and that."
Franklin's singular focus is justified. UCLA (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12) is in the thick of the Pac-12 title race, standing a half-game behind USC (6-2, 4-2) in the South Division, with a game against the Trojans still to come. The Bruins remain in control of their own destiny in the division and need to win Saturday against the Wildcats (5-3, 2-3) in order to bank on their title hopes.
But even if Franklin isn't thinking about the rushing milestone, others are. Coach Jim Mora said he hasn't addressed the record with the team, but the players all know Franklin is likely to become UCLA's all-time rushing king Saturday, breaking a record that has stood for 25 years ... and "it really matters to this team."
"I think it’s meaningful because of who it is," Mora said. "Because of the great person that he is, the great teammate that he is, the great leader that he is. It’ll be exciting to be a part of that whenever that happens."
Career rushing is not the only record in reach for Franklin. He is also chasing the single-season rushing record of 1,571 yards, set by Karim Abdul-Jabbar in 1995. Franklin has 1,042 this season and, now that UCLA is bowl eligible, would need to average 105.8 yards a game over five games to break that mark. He's currently averaging 115.8.
"My mentality coming into this season wasn’t about breaking the records," Franklin said. "It was about helping UCLA be the best UCLA can be."