UCLA’s offense comes up big in win over Arizona, 45-24


UCLA defeated the Arizona Wildcats, 45-24, on Saturday at the Rose Bowl.

Arizona scores again, but its too late, UCLA wins 45-24

There was just 3 minutes 30 seconds left in the game when Arizona regained possession of the ball.

Wildcat quarterback Kahlil Tate threw an incompletion to get Arizona started, but was bailed out by a nine-yard run from Zach Green and then a pass interference call advance the visitors to their 48 yardline.

Tate took the open field in front of him for gains of four and 18 yards. Tyrell Johnson got the next two carries for six and three yards.

Time is clearly no longer a factor for Arizona.

Green converted a third and one with an eight yard run followed by a 13-yard touchdown pass from Tate to receiver Cam Denson.

UCLA leads Arizona, 45-24, with just 38 seconds left in the game.

The Wildcats attempted an onside kick, likely as a matter of principle in this situation, but was called offsides.

Despite holding three timeouts, Arizona Coach Rich Rodriguez decides to end the game and allows the clock to run out after a short UCLA run.


Andrews does most of the work, UCLA scores again

Backed up on their own four yardline, UCLA took a three-yard loss on a run by Soso Jamabo to open the drive.

The Bruins were called for a false start didn’t necessarily hurt them since they were already on the one. Time for Josh Rosen to bail UCLA out.

Rosen completed a 16-yard pass to Darren Andrew to get the first down and get the offense out of its own end zone and found the receiver again on the next play for a 24-yard gain.

Then Jamabo made up for his loss of yardage on the opening play with a 33-yard catch across midfield to the Arizona 26.

Andrews took the ball on a run on the next play and went 26 yards for the score.

UCLA leads Arizona, 45-17.


Arizona forced to punt, down 38-17 to UCLA

Down 21 points, Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate again took the field.

The Wildcats opened with an incomplete pass to Trey Griffey. Tyrell carried the ball seven yards on the next play.

UCLA was called for a pass interference penalty on the next play, gifting Arizona with 15 yards and a fresh set of downs.

Tate carried the ball for a short gain on the next play and a pair of incompletions forced the Wildcats to punt instead of making the game a bit more manageable.

UCLA leads Arizona, 38-17.


Josh Rosen throws a 29-yard strike to extend UCLA’s lead, 38-17

Randall Goforth’s 50-yard return set the Bruins up for an easy scoring chance against the Wildcats late in the fourth quarter.

Kenneth Walker III rushed for eight yards on first down, giving quarterback Josh Rosen an easy throw to Darren Andrews for a four-yard gain and a first down.

But Rosen’s finest moment on the drive came after two runs by Bolu Olorunfunmi when he connected Walker for a 29-yard touchdown.


UCLA leads Arizona, 31-17, in the fourth quarter

Khalil Tate escaped a sack, danced to the right of the pocket and then looped a pass to Shun Brown for a 33-yard touchdown.

Arizona still trails UCLA, 31-17, with 11:04 left. But Tate, the freshman quarterback from Inglewood, has shown promise in two drives. He left the last drive after being hit while diving for the end zone, and came back in to lead a nine-play, 80-yard touchdown march.

The Wildcats have switched between Brandon Dawkins, Zach Werlinger and Tate at quarterback, and Tate has been the most productive in limited action.


UCLA leads Arizona, 31-10, at the start of the fourth quarter

On the second play of the fourth quarter, Josh Rosen dove head first into the end zone for a one-yard score.

The Bruins now lead Arizona, 31-10, with 14:15 left in the game.

The UCLA offense picked up 10 or more yards on three of four plays at the start of the drive. That included a 12-yard pass from Josh Rosen to Caleb Wilson, a 14-yard toss to Darren Andrews and a 12-yard run by Nate Starks.

Rosen then found Kenneth Walker III on a short curl route, and Walker turned and ran the ball to the Arizona one-yard line. That set up Rosen’s short plunge into the end zone, which all but sealed a Bruins win in the Rose Bowl.


UCLA leads Arizona, 24-10, in the third quarter

Arizona kicker Josh Pollack hit a 20-yard field goal to pull the Wildcats within two touchdowns of UCLA at 24-10.

Arizona plugged dual-threat freshman Khalil Tate into the game at quarterback after UCLA stretched its lead to 17 points.

Tate, who went to Gardena Serra High, immediately started moving the Wildcats down the field. The Arizona offense methodically pushed down the field with a mix of inside handoffs and quarterback draws. A pass interference on Bruins’ cornerback Fabian Moreau then placed the Wildcats deep in UCLA territory.

Three plays later, Tate rushed toward the end zone on third and goal and was brought down by Cameron Judge and Kenny Young. He rolled onto his back and trainers immediately rushed over to him, leading to a stoppage in play.

And just like that, Tate went from leading Arizona on its best drive of the game to jogging off the field with his helmet off.

Pollack then came on to nail the 20-yard field goal, inching the Wildcats closer to the Bruins with 2:53 left in the third quarter.


Slideshow: Photos from the UCLA-Arizona game

Arizona defensive back Jace Whittaker strips the ball from UCLA receiver Eldridge Massington during the first half. To see more imags from the game, click the photo.
(Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images)

UCLA leads Arizona, 24-7, in the third quarter

After missing a 36-yard attempt earlier in the game, freshman J.J. Molson knocked in a 39-yard field goal with 9:12 left in the third quarter.

UCLA now leads Arizona 24-7, and has scored on both of its second-half possessions.

A 33-yard punt return by Adarius Pickett gave UCLA favorable field position. The drive didn’t go anywhere, though, netting just eight yards before Molson jogged onto the field to stretch out the Bruins’ lead.


UCLA leads Arizona, 21-7, after Theo Howard’s first-career touchdown

Freshman wide receiver Theo Howard came into the game with one catch in the first four weeks of the year. He then made his way onto the field in the third quarter, and his second catch of the season went for a 19-yard touchdown.

UCLA now leads Arizona, 21-7, with 12:38 left in the third quarter.

The Bruins finally found some rhythm on the ground on their first possession of the second half, and it led to the offense’s first scoring drive since the end of the first quarter.

Nate Starks, who seems to have been pegged as the team’s featured back, ran for 29 yards into Wildcats territory. Two players later, Rosen found Howard on the left side of the field. Howard turned toward the sideline, and then ran along it for the first touchdown of his career.


UCLA-Arizona halftime stats

UCLA leads Arizona, 14-7, after two ugly quarters at the Rose Bowl.

Here are some notable stats from the first half:


--Josh Rosen threw a 62-yard touchdown on the last play of the first quarter, but was spotty in the second. He finished the half 9 for 24 for 168 yards and the touchdown, which he threw to Kenneth Walker III.

--UCLA still can’t run, as evidenced by 26 yards in 14 rushing attempts. Nate Starks carried the load for the Bruins, running eight times for 16 yards. He also rushed for UCLA’s first touchdown, diving through the line from two yards out.

--Darren Andrews led all UCLA receivers with three catches for 40 yards.

--The Bruins converted one of eight third-down plays, and averaged a measly 5.1 yards per play.


--Wildcats quarterback Brandon Dawkins finished the half eight for 17 for 73 yards.

--Dawkins was the Wildcats’ leading rusher, going for 44 yards in five carries. Tyrell Johnson was the next-best rusher, gaining 33 yards in nine attempts.

--The Arizona passing game was pretty slow throughout the half, but Trey Griffey caught two passes for 38 yards.

--The Wildcats finished 1 for 11 on third down, and averaged just four yards per play.


UCLA leads Arizona, 14-7, at halftime

UCLA leads Arizona at halftime, 14-7, but spent the last few minutes of the second quarter being booed by the Rose Bowl crowd.

The Bruins started their second-to-last drive of the half with two straight fruitless rushing attempts, and that’s when the boos started.

The first was a stretch handoff to Soso Jamabo for a seven-yard loss. The second was an inside draw to Jamabo on second and 17, and he gained just one yard before being swallowed up by the Arizona front.

Jim Mora said during the week that UCLA would feature one of its three experienced running backs — Jamabo, Nate Starks and Bolu Olorunfunmi — and move the other two into a supporting role. It seems the Bruins are putting Starks in that “feature back” spot, but he had run for just 16 yards in eight carries with 1:30 left in the first half.

The UCLA offense has also seen two key players leave the field after going down with injuries. The first was wide receiver Ishmael Adams after an incomplete pass, and the second was right tackle Kolton Miller on the Bruins’ last drive. The team has not announced an injury for either player.

When the Bruins regained possession deep in its own territory, they elected to kneel and the crowd booed some more.


Josh Rosen, UCLA offense stall in the second quarter

After scoring on the final play of the first quarter, the UCLA offense has been completely flat so far in the second. Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen has been hurried, and his receivers have been questionable yet again, but he hasn’t been sharp either.

UCLA and Arizona traded punts — starting with a turnover on downs by the Bruins followed by a three-and-out by the Wildcats — before three straight incomplete passes thrown by Rosen led to another punt on UCLA’s last possession.

With that, Rosen has completed only 3 of 11 passes in the first eight minutes of the second quarter. He nearly threw an interception on the last play of the Bruins’ previous series, telegraphing a screen that was sniffed out by Wildcats defensive lineman Justin Belknap.

The damage was minimal, but UCLA still had to punt the ball away.


J.J. Molson misses field goal, and UCLA still leads 14-7

J.J. Molson had a chance to give UCLA a two-score lead in the second quarter, but his 36-yard field-goal attempt struck the top of the left upright and bounced out.

The drive picked up steam when Rosen found a streaking Eldridge Massington for a 37-yard gain. But it stalled from there, with Rosen unsuccessfully targeting tight end Nate Iese on third down.

Molson, a freshman, is now six for nine on field-goal attempts this season. Arizona takes over possession at its own 20-yard line.


UCLA leads Arizona, 14-7, at the end of the first quarter

On the last play of the first quarter, Josh Rosen scrambled to his right and found Kenneth Walker III for a 62-yard touchdown to give UCLA a 14-7 lead over Arizona.

The play came shortly after Bruins Coach Jim Mora was called for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The call seemed to give the Wildcats life, but UCLA’s defense forced a turnover on downs.

Rosen finished the first quarter 7 for 10 passing for 112 yards and the touchdown to Walker. The touchdown is now tied for the Bruins’ longest score of the season, matching a 62-yard pass from Rosen to Walker against Texas A&M in Week 1.


Jim Mora’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty doesn’t hurt UCLA

Arizona was lined up to punt the ball away to UCLA, but then a flag flew in front of the Bruins’ bench.

It signified an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on UCLA Coach Jim Mora, who was screaming and pointing at a referee.

The crowd booed. The Wildcats offense jogged back onto the field. With new life, Arizona quarterback Brandon Dawkins found Nate Phillips for a 13-yard gain.

But the Wildcats couldn’t convert on fourth and one, and UCLA took possession of the ball.

This time, Mora didn’t hand the ball back.


Brandon Dawkins’ legs could give UCLA a game-long headache

UCLA has struggled with scrambling quarterbacks this season, and Brandon Dawkins is looking much more dangerous than the likes of Johnny Stanton (Nevada Las Vegas) and Taysom Hill (Brigham Young).

The Arizona quarterback looked dead in his tracks with the Wildcats facing third and seven on their third drive, but Dawkins weaved his way through the Bruins’ front seven on his way to an 18-yard gain.

The Bruins were able to contain Dawkins on Arizona’s next third-down play, leading to a punt. But Dawkins has already flashed the ability to turn broken plays into big gains, and UCLA has a reputation of letting dual-threat quarterbacks run around. Dawkins already has three carries for 48 yards, and will likely carry the ball many more times throughout the game.


UCLA and Arizona are tied, 7-7, after Nate Starks’ touchdown run

UCLA said it would shorten its running back rotation against Arizona, and it still isn’t completely clear which player it will feature.

But Nate Starks is the only running back to carry the ball so far (two rushes), and his second carry resulted in a two-yard touchdown. The Bruins and Wildcats are now tied, 7-7, with 9:18 left in the first quarter.

UCLA has gotten next to nothing from its kick and punt returners this season, but Ishmael Adams changed that by bringing the kickoff 52 yards to the Arizona 40-yard line.

Three players later, after Josh Rosen passed to Nate Iese for UCLA’s first first down of the game, Adams took an end around and ran 14 yards to the doorstep of the Wildcats end zone.

That set up Starks’ touchdown run, his first of the season.


UCLA trails Arizona, 7-0, in the first quarter

Brandon Dawkins scrambled to his right, patiently waited for the play to develop, and found Samajie Grant in the back-right corner of the end zone.

The touchdown gave Arizona a 7-0 lead with 11:07 left in the first quarter.

Dawkins went right to the ground game on the first play of the drive, sprinting through the line for a 30-yard gain.

Dawkins then scrambled to his left and found Trey Griffey for a 34-yard gain. That put Arizona on UCLA’s 15-yard line, and Dawkins hit Graham two plays later.

The Wildcats went 79 yards in five plays. The drive lasted 1:36 of game time.


UCLA forces a three-and-out on Arizona’s first possession

UCLA won the opening coin toss and elected to kick, putting some pressure on the Arizona offense to start the game.

Three plays later, the Bruins’ defense excitedly ran off the field after forcing a three-and-out. The Wildcats went right to the ground, trying a handoff to Nick Wilson and what looked like a designed scramble for quarterback Brandon Dawkins.

After a short pass on third down, UCLA gained the possession it deferred to start the game.


Pregame UCLA-Arizona analysis from the Rose Bowl press box

Before UCLA and Arizona kick off around 7:45, check out some pregame analysis from the Rose Bowl press box:


UCLA fans are either arriving late or not arriving at all

It might have something to do with a 7:45 kickoff, or that UCLA fans lost some steam after the Bruins’ last-minute loss to Stanford last week.

Whatever it is, it’s a fairly bleak scene at the Rose Bowl with UCLA set to take on Arizona in less than an hour. The crowd still has time to trickle in, but it seems very unlikely that there will be a raucous atmosphere (or even a mildly wild one) for this game.

Take a look:


UCLA badly needs a win as it welcomes Arizona

When UCLA’s season started a month ago, it didn’t seem like a home game against Arizona would be too critical for the bigger picture.

Two wins and two losses later, the Bruins can’t afford a loss to the Wildcats (2-2) if they wants to play relevant postseason football. UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen said this week that the Bruins can still make the College Football Playoff if it wins out and beats Stanford — which they lost to on a last-minute touchdown last week — in the Pac-12 championship game.

That was before the No. 7 Cardinal was upended, 44-6, by No. 10 Washington on Friday night. But Rosen’s logic still says Saturday’s contest with Arizona is the first of eight must-win games.

UCLA has two big questions to answer against the Wildcats.

The first regards the running game, where the Bruins are expected to give one of its three experienced running backs more carries than the other two. The candidates for more carries are Soso Jamabo, Bolu Olorunfunmi and Nate Starks. UCLA is planning to feature one back as a way to fix what has largely been a broken rushing attack.

The second question is whether the Bruins can adequately defend a scrambling quarterback. Earlier this season, Nevada Las Vegas’s Johnny Stanton and Brigham Young’s Taysom Hill gave UCLA trouble scrambling out of the pocket. Arizona’s Brandon Dawkins is a significantly more talented runner than those two, as he’s rushed for 391 yards and seven touchdowns in three starts this season. How well the Bruins can contain Dawkins will play a major factor in the game.

A game that, by all accounts, UCLA needs to win.