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Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Fumbles are a wake-up call for Malcolm Jones

By Peter Yoon

Malcolm Jones said his ego was bruised, but his confidence remains intact after his two fumbles Saturday night against Houston.

Jones, a true freshman running back, rushed for 34 yards in 12 carries, but fumbled in the second quarter and then in the third -- the second fumble leading to Houston's only touchdown.

"I’m all right," Jones said. "It’s always a little bit of a slap in the face, but you just gotta bounce back from it and get above the adversity."

Jones is UCLA's second-leading rusher with 101 yards, despite getting a limited number of chances. He said that on both fumbles, a Houston player punched the ball out from behind while he was struggling for extra yardage.

"It's just something I need to work on as time progresses," Jones said.

Jones wasn't the only freshman who had problems against Houston. Defensive back Anthony Jefferson, making his UCLA debut, got turned around on a pass play in the end zone and gave up Houston's lone touchdown.

But coach Rick Neuheisel attributed the errors to freshman growing pains and added that he hadn't lost confidence in either player.

"Both those guys are going to be sensational players and they’ll learn from these kind of evenings," Neuheisel said.