UCLA safety Tevin McDonald has been named the Pac-12 defensive player of the week, the conference announced Monday.
McDonald, a redshirt freshman, tied a school record with three interceptions Saturday during UCLA's 31-14 victory over California. It was the fifth time a Bruins player had three interceptions in a game, the last coming Sept. 5, 2009 by Rahim Moore. Only three other freshmen in conference history have had three interceptions is a game.
"I was very fortunate," McDonald said after the game. "They kept wanting to put the ball in my area and I was fortunate enough to catch them, so it was a really exciting feeling."
All three of McDonald's interceptions led to UCLA points.
The first, in the second quarter, led to a field goal that gave UCLA a 10-7 lead. The next two, both in the fourth quarter, led to touchdowns that broke open a close game. He picked off a pass and returned it to the California 20 leading to a Derrick Coleman touchdown run and a 24-14 UCLA lead. On Cal's next drive, he stopped the Golden Bears deep in UCLA territory with an interception at the UCLA 16. Nine plays later, Coleman scored another touchdown and UCLA had a 31-14 lead.
"Now that he’s getting his feet wet and starting to understand exactly where he’s supposed to be, [his] instincts are going to kick back in and he was exactly where he was supposed to be tonight," coach Rick Neuheisel said after the game.