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From the press box: UCLA 66-10

Saturday’s game at UCLA began poorly for No. 22 Arizona and ended worse. The Wildcats gave up as many touchdowns to the Bruins in the final 20 minutes (3 TDs) as they did in the first quarter. Arizona was outgained 611-257. Arizona, which entered the game tops in the Pac-12 in passing offense with 354 yards per game, threw for just 137. Matt Scott, one of the top offensive players in the country completed just 15-of-25 passes for 124 yards. Meanwhile, UCLA redshirt freshman quarterback Bret Hundley was 23-for-28 for 288 yards and three touchdowns. At one point, Hundley completed 16-straight passes. The Wildcats committed three turnovers, none bigger than a muffed punt return by Richard Morrison early in the second quarter that if caught would have given the Wildcats solid field position near UA’s 40-yard line. Instead, the Bruins got the ball back in Arizona territory up 21-0 and moments away from sealing the game with well over 40 minutes of football remaining.

Cornerback Shaq Richardson and the Arizona defense struggled mightily against UCLA.

On a night most would soon rather forget, some will suffer lingering effects from the loss.

Already trailing by more than 40 points, Arizona’s Scott took a viscous hit in his own end zone that resulted in Scott walking gingerly off the field. He would not return. A few minutes later sophomore linebacker Hank Hobson was carted off the field by a mobile medical crew. Fortunately, early postgame reports had Scott feeling the ills of a bruised ego more than a bruised body. Similarly, Rich Rodriguez noted in his press conference that Hobson was showing normal mobility at a local hospital.

From the press box, the game looked even worse than the final score. Hard to believe, but true.

On offense, few Wildcat receivers seemed open down the field. Rich Rodriguez and several players, including senior center Kyle Quinn, admitted that the Wildcats were “off their game”. However, it was bigger than that as the UCLA defense seemed well prepared for whatever Arizona was about to throw their way. Strangely, though, many of the plays Arizona used successfully to this point in the season seemed non-existent Saturday. Notably is when Arizona’s Scott fakes the read option to Ka’Deem Carey and then rolls flat to the right to stretch not only his field of vision, but the defense to open up passing lanes.

While one play would not have made a difference, this was not the only play missing from Arizona’s offensive attack. Granted, nothing comes easy to an offense when the defense has its ears pinned back, but the lack of execution, penalties and miscues began on Arizona’s first offensive possession and didn’t stop until the final horn sounded Saturday.

The Wildcats committed 15 penalties for 124 yards, marking the second consecutive game where penalties have become a problem for a team that just two weeks ago was near the top of the Pac-12 in fewest penalty yards. Sure, Arizona knocked off then-No.8 USC despite its mistakes, but heavily penalized teams historically lose more often than they win.

Tonight, the Wildcats not only lost, they got routed in a way that makes the 49-0 loss to Oregon earlier in the season feel like an ego boost.

Defensively, it was the complete opposite as UCLA’s offense hit its stride from the opening kickoff, scoring two touchdowns in the game’s opening six minutes. The 611 yards of offense allowed is not uncommon for this Arizona defense. However, missing was Arizona’s usual flight to the ball carrier, and its ability to bend but not break thanks to enough defensive stops and turnovers to slow opponents for stretches long enough to give its own offense a chance to rally and rattle off scores of their own.

The final outcome was even bigger than UCLA's new uniforms.

Notably, the running lanes for UCLA tailbacks were, at times, gaping. On Johnathan Franklin’s record-setting, 37-yard touchdown run three minutes into the game to establish the school's career rushing record, Franklin zigged and zagged his way through the Arizona defense nearly untouched. Watching from the press box, Franklin looked like he was running through a lateral cone drill, moving left, then dashing right, and then back to his left and up the sideline as Wildcats were hopelessly moving across his line of vision with little impact.

Similarly, for the game, many of UCLA’s plays seemed to last an eternity. Bruin running backs were incredibly patient, demonstrating tremendous vision while waiting for holes to open, sometimes moving horizontally well outside the hash marks before vertically cutting up the field. When passing, Hundley had plenty of time to survey the field before committing to a receiver. Arizona’s defense, while showing hustle throughout, had very few, if any, answers.

When asked by several reporters if UCLA had unveiled new schemes or formations that may have tricked up the Wildcats, Rich Rodriguez and linebacker Jake Fischer each said no. Bottom line, in a game of inches where success boils down to which team executes better, each admitted that Arizona did not execute its game plan well enough to compete with the well-oiled Bruins.

If there’s one thing Arizona fans can take away from this game, it’s the fact that there is no quit in these Wildcats. At game’s end when UCLA Bruins were crossing midfield for the traditional post game handshake, some Wildcats were already heading toward the locker room, which set one Arizona coach off as he shouted, “Get out there and shake their hands! Be a man and show them respect!”

In the post game presser, Rodriguez and players Quinn and Fischer took full responsibility for the loss, putting the blame squarely on Arizona, but without denying UCLA the credit it deserves. When asked if there was a point in the game where it seemed evident that this would not be Arizona’s night, Quinn dismissed the notion saying, “No, we take everything one play at a time.”

Arizona’s next play begins at 11:30 a.m. MST on Saturday when Colorado visits during homecoming weekend.

Follow me on Twitter @GaryRandazzo, and follow the website @WSRArizona.

  • GARY:
    Isnt it a tough deal to try and write when your team gets blasted and embaressed they way they were?
    I remember writing for my HS paper and I had to write about my team losing to our rival Eagle Rock. I was hurt during the game (LOL..concussion) (but no one knew in those days)...we lost by 4 TDs I was devastated. I coulnt write. I get a call from my Journalist teacher...Jerry Winer. He talked to me in a stern voice and gave me all kinds of confidence to write about the loss. Tough as hell, but I did it. Im sure it is tough for you also.

  • Great article Gary, made all the more significant because of the nature of the loss.

    Wildcat fans have long memories, but the most significant memories are made from our best wins and our worst losses.

    I will remember this game. I will also remember a packed chat room where fellow Wildcat fans made this game a little more easier to bear.

    I'm also looking forward to the continued updated statuses of both Scott and Hobson. pray

    Bear Down Wildcat Nation.

    Bear Down

  • Honest to goodness, last night's Chat Room was arguably the best ever. Mike and I had to prevent ourselves from snorting in laughter at times. Good humor by a bunch of very dedicated Wildcats and WSR supporters. Much appreciated.

    As for the writing, win or lose it's all the same. I wouldn't say it's easy because there's always a tendency to be more critical of any team when they lose compared to when they win.

    I will say that this morning was a challenge, though. Not because of the loss, but because even as an analyst I'm literally still trying to process what it was I witnessed last night. Not total shock, but Arizona didn't not even look one iota like its self last night. Just weird all around.

    Full moon syndrome I guess for the Cats.

    This post was edited by Gary Randazzo 17 months ago

    WSR Publisher National Basketball Recruiting Analyst Football Writers Association of America U.S. Basketball Writers Association

  • It seems to me that part of this was great coaching from UCLA.

    Their defense was well prepared for whatever Arizona tried to run and whenever Arizona tried to get some traction, it seemed as though they knew what we were going to run as well as Arizona did and were able to prevent our execution.

    On offense they were able to exploit every single liability Arizona had on defense, which created momentum. And then that momentum just built and built and built, and they were playing with house money.

    I had to admire that way UCLA was able to just play aggressively, and not worrying about making mistakes. Contrast that with Arizona playing not to make mistakes. Once Morrison muffed the punt (why is he even receiving punts?) I felt the game was over.

    If Scott is healthy, Arizona could still win out and go to a decent bowl, but from the beginning, Scott looked was off his game. Hope he is OK.

  • first i am glad to hear that Scott and Hobson are "ok"
    chat room is great. more should check it out. for basketball as well.

    this would have had no effect on the game as described already but..
    UCLA opened on offense with no TE, 4 wr, Franklin alone in the backfield.
    This spread out our 3-3-5 making it basically a 3-2-6.
    being undersized and "undermotivated" we were gashed (to put it gently) by Frankln early and the rest was misery.
    here's to fighten back like Wildcats!

  • All tendency to "analyze" or to "blame" (the first two tendencies) aside, there is sometimes no explaining a loss, and in particular, a loss like this. Going back to 2005, or even the 80s, we have done this to UCLA several times. This time, they didn't have their typical UCLA under-achieving attitude. They have Mora and a new attitude. Remember this, they recruit just as well as USC always has, but they have always done less with those players.

    In this game, they played as we did in 2005 and in 2011. It was payback, and she is a b_ _ _ _.

    We played the way they did in 2005 and 2011. We got off the buses and from there it was slow, accepting, incapable, uninspired, unlucky, and uncoordinated. It happens.

    When we do become a very good team, we will have learned that week in and week out, we have to be up to the opponent. This time we were not. Football, in partcular college ball where the talent is sometimes so different, depends on emotion. We didn't have it, they did.

    We have three games to go, and if we look at it, we are where some of us predicted (albeit by a circuitous route). We beat USC and OK State (unpredicted pluses), we have been blown out twice (one predicted, one not), so we're pretty even to where we should be.

    We have Colorado this week, and if we are who I think we are, we will take out some frustration on the Buffs. We owe them, and that should be motivation enough. The other route is to go into the tank, and I don't think that is us. We have fought pretty hard, undersized, injured, and undermanned, to let it all go now.

    RBob1

  • UCLA is different team thanks to Mora and using the talent thats been around awhile.

    i agree a loss like this has little to do with X's and O's. there was way more emotional factors going on and the stars lined up right (wrong).

    Mora obviously didnt expect that to be the case and had a plan that worked beautifully with were everyone's head was at. to start the game that way took any chance of something different happening away.

    good post

  • Got to give UCLA for taking full advantages of our known weeknesses. They threw at Suaq all day and capitalized on the almost inevitable Morrison muffed punt.

  • One thing apparent from the press box was when Arizona showed blitz or only went Cover 1 with a lone safety the Bruins did attack our CBs in 1-on-1 coverage. The Bruins were excellent in identifying what our D was doing and then attacked its vulnerable spots almost to perfection.

    Fischer did make mention that one of Arizona's many problems also included "getting lined up correctly".

    WSR Publisher National Basketball Recruiting Analyst Football Writers Association of America U.S. Basketball Writers Association

  • Right Gary... we didn't jam the lanes well at all. Franklin had his creases and sometimes wide gaps. He is too much of a load to let him get started. Alignment is crucial for this defense, and we still don't have the size in the front, quick-closure in the middle, or speed in the back to play it to perfection as it is drawn up.
    The offense for this game....just didn't play with fire or precision.

    RBob1

  • The other thing is when they did blitz, they didn't get to the qb and then they would give up, basically putting them in no man's land and leaving the db's vulnerable. Gary and I definitely thought there was some misalignment or new plays that UCLA did, but the players and Rich Rod said it was just poor execution. It's hard to believe that it was that bad execution though, and not something to do with UCLA exploiting the D and shutting down the O.

    Wildcat Sports Report Basketball Editor.

  • Mike, not quite sure I buy the we weren't lined up right, as the definitive excuse to our total and absolute failures...

    We looked to be much slower than UCLA... I don't care where we were lined up... We looked like we were running in cement and not only at first reaction, which might have been as a result of being in the wrong starting spot, but we were just flat out SLOW.... period... Why ??? I don't know but starting point did not appear to be the issue...

    I think RRod is covering for someone or many someones...

    Fischer must still be looking for his seat on the plane, as slow and out of position as he has been the last couple of games...

    BEAR DOWN boys... The best is yet to come....

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