Friday, March 8, 2013
Top performances of 2012: Eric Kendricks
By Ted Miller
We're looking at some of the top individual performances in the Pac-12 in 2012.
Up next: Ringing the Victory Bell
Who and against whom: UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks was all over the field while leading the Bruins' defensive effort in a 38-28 victory over USC.
The numbers: Kendricks recorded a game-high 10 tackles, including a tackle for a loss. He also forced a fumble, grabbed an interception and blocked a punt. So, yeah, the guy was busy.
A closer look: Kendricks, a sophomore from Fresno, Calif., earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts in a victory that accomplished a lot for the Bruins. First, it clinched the Pac-12 South Division championship. Second, it ended UCLA's five-year losing streak in the series. And, almost as satisfying for Bruins fans, it made permanent the downward trajectory of the Trojans' awful season. While Anthony Barr's late sack of Matt Barkley ended the USC quarterback's season, Kendricks was truly the guy who made Barkley and his offense miserable. First, he forced a fumble from Marqise Lee in the first quarter at the Trojans' 33-yard line. That led to a touchdown and a 17-0 lead. He then intercepted a pass from Barkley early in the fourth quarter, ending a Trojans drive at the UCLA 38. His punt block came in the third quarter after USC had narrowed the margin to 24-20. It also led to a Bruins touchdown. It was a tour-de-force performance by and up-and-coming player in a game that perhaps signaled a power shift in Los Angeles. Or, at the very least, an evening of the present playing field.