The Pacific-10 Conference's leading tackler didn't play much Saturday — just enough to clinch a victory for Cal. Linebacker Mychal Kendricks didn't start for the first time this year and got in for only a handful of plays. But he made one of the most memorable ones by intercepting a pass by UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince and returning it 68 yards for a touchdown.
The turnover ended a Bruins drive that could have cut Cal's lead to one score and instead gave the Bears a 45-26 advantage with 5:05 to play. "The game right then was still back and forth and anything can happen," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "It was a huge play."
Kendricks didn't start partly because he missed the entire bye week of practice with a shoulder injury and partly because defensive coordinator liked how D.J. Holt had practiced in his place. Kendricks, who entered the day pacing the conference in tackles (9.2 per game), estimated he got in for about 15 plays.
"I'm going to support the team no matter what," Kendricks said. "I'm going to support the coaches' decision, whatever they chose to do. Starting or not, getting a pick felt good."