Establishing UCLA Single-Season Punt Return Record

Dandy Dozen More Than Football
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The UCLA Bruins’ lightning-quick halfback JACKIE ROBINSON (# 28), the transfer from Pasadena Junior College who took the Pacific Coast Conference by storm during his rookie NCAA season, led the entire nation in average yards per return (minimum 1.2 per scheduled game) after hauling back 18 punts for 295 yards in 1939 … as a senior in 1940, the would-be Major League Baseball ground-breaker once again paced all elite level college football players by averaging 21.0 yards after gaining 399 yards on 19 punt returns for a Bruins team which won just one of ten games that term.
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UCLA BRUINS RECORD : PUNT RETURN YARDAGE, SINGLE SEASON
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427 yards … 15 ret … 28.7 avg …… Maurice JONES-DREW, 2005
399 yards … 19 ret … 21.0 avg …… Jackie ROBINSON, 1940
377 yards … 25 ret … 15.1 avg …… Paul GUIDRY, 1995
336 yards … 27 ret … 12.4 avg …… Kenny EASLEY, 1979
311 yards …. 31 ret … 10.0 avg ….. Terrence AUSTIN, 2007
309 yards … 19 ret … 16.3 avg …… Ernie JOHNSON, 1946
303 yards … 29 ret … 10.4 avg …… Paul GUIDRY, 1993
302 yards … 20 ret … 15.1 avg …… Ted FORBES, 1941
302 yards … 23 ret … 13.1 avg …… Paul CAMERON, 1953
302 yards … 38 ret ….. 7.9 avg …… Craig BRAGG, 2003
302 yards … 33 ret ….. 9.2 avg …… Terrance AUSTIN, 2009
299 yards … 22 ret …. 13.6 avg …… Pete DAILEY, 1951
295 yards …. 18 ret … 16.4 avg …… Jackie ROBINSON, 1939

NOTES — it should be pointed out that Jackie Robinson’s 1940 UCLA team only played 10 games (one win, nine losses) that year whereas Maurice Jones-Drew’s 2005 Bruins squad contested a total of 12 games (ten wins, two losses) including the post-season bowl … and it will also be acknowledged here that Jones-Drew had no punt returns in UCLA’s final regular season game against USC and only one punt return for 20 yards versus Northwestern in the 2005 Sun Bowl.

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ucla-54-stanford-sam-brown
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UCLA Bruins halfback SAM BROWN (# 15) turns the corner and is off the races against the University of Stanford Indians at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 16, 1954. Thanks in part to a pair of punt returns for touchdowns from the junior speedster, the # 3 ranked Bruins completely routed Stanford 72-0, a result which still holds up as the worst loss in the Palo Alto school’s history. Brown set a new Pacific Coast Conference record with his 132 punt return yards (44.0 average) for UCLA against the Indians in 1954 and also established another conference mark with his two punt returns for touchdowns in the same game that day, a most impressive feat which has since been equaled twice but never actually surpassed.
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UCLA BRUINS RECORD : PUNT RETURN AVERAGE, SINGLE SEASON
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28.7 avg … 427 yards … 15 ret …… Maurice JONES-DREW, 2005
26.2 avg … 262 yards … 10 ret …… Sam BROWN, 1954
21.0 avg … 399 yards … 19 ret …… Jackie ROBINSON, 1940
17.1 avg … 137 yards …… 8 ret ….. Kermit ALEXANDER, 1961
16.4 avg … 295 yards … 18 ret …… Jackie ROBINSON, 1939
16.3 avg … 309 yards … 19 ret …… Ernie JOHNSON, 1946
15.2 avg … 152 yards … 10 ret …… Maurice JONES-DREW, 2004
15.1 avg … 302 yards … 20 ret …… Ted FORBES, 1941
15.1 avg … 377 yards … 25 ret …… Paul GUIDRY, 1995
15.0 avg … 285 yards … 19 ret …… Craig BRAGG, 2004
13.8 avg … 152 yards …. 11 ret …… Sam BROWN, 1955
13.8 avg … 249 yards … 18 ret …… Mark GUSTAFSON, 1967
13.8 avg … 110 yards …… 8 ret ….. Terrence AUSTIN, 2006
13.7 avg … 137 yards ….10 ret …… Ernie JOHNSON, 1949
13.6 avg … 299 yards … 22 ret …… Pete DAILEY, 1951

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ucla-drew-pr
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UCLA Bruins junior running back MAURICE JONES-DREW (# 21) broke a couple of long-standing school punt return records during his final season of NCAA college football —— Sam Brown’s single-season mark for average yards per punt return had stood for just over half a century while Jackie Robinson’s single-season record for punt return yardage went unbeaten for 65 years.

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