SANTA CLARA -- A woman walking by Santa Clara University around midnight Tuesday was knocked to the ground and sexually assaulted before fighting her attacker off, according to police.

Officers were called to the intersection of Franklin and Sherman streets around 12:07 a.m. Wednesday, on the northern edge of the university and about two blocks from the Caltrain station.

"He contacted her and then sexually assaulted her," said Santa Clara police Lt. Kurt Clarke.

Police did not offer details about the nature of the assault, and said that after the victim fought off her attacker the man fled in an unknown direction.

He is described as white with a light tan, 6 feet tall or slightly taller with an athletic build and about 200 pounds. He had light brown or hazel eyes and dirty blond hair possibly done in a "faux-hawk" style with a raised portion along the center of his scalp, police said, and was wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans.

On Aug. 1, another woman was attacked about five blocks away in the 1000 block of Lexington Street, to the west of the campus.

It also happened in early morning hours, around 1:30 a.m. She fought the man off, and suffered minor injuries. Police did not get a good description of that attacker.

The week before that attack, there was a sexual assault at an apartment building in the 2800 block of Homestead Road, off Kiely Boulevard. In that case, a man entered through a bathroom window of the first-floor unit, startled the victim awake and assaulted her, police said.

Police at the time said those two cases are not believed to be connected.

Anyone with information about the assault is asked to contact Santa Clara detectives at 408-615-4813.

Contact Eric Kurhi at 408-920-5852. Follow him at Twitter.com/erickurhi.