PASADENA, Calif. -- The 13,000 or so inside the Rose Bowl temporarily thought the show was over. Really, what more could they desire?
Steven Manfro had just returned the second-half kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown in what was undoubtedly the highlight of the UCLA Bruins' May 5 spring game. The fans delighted with each Manfro twist, turn and burst on his way to the end zone.
After arriving, he added a little something. The freshman postured, pivoted and did a backflip. Well, sort of. He made it a little more than three-quarters of the way, his shins banging to the turf and shooting him to his knees. The tumbling -- and tumble -- was captured on the stadium's video screen. Manfro popped to his feet, smiled and sprinted to the sideline.
"I guess after running 100 yards, it's tough to complete a backflip," new Bruins coach Jim Mora Jr. said later, grinning wryly. "I guess we've got to get him in shape."
Manfro laughed off the botched landing before offering to do another flip for reporters.
"He's electric out there," Mora said. "He's fun."
UCLA fans, meet Steven Manfro. The college football world could be in for a similar introduction this fall, if one seasonable Saturday at the Rose Bowl was any indication. (That's why he leads our list of the top 10 breakthrough players of the spring.)
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