UCLA leans on rushing attack to earn 34-16 road win over Arizona

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) runs with the ball against Arizona
UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson runs with the ball during the team’s win over Arizona on Saturday in Tucson.
(Chris Coduto / Associated Press)

Zach Charbonnet and Brittain Brown rushed for more than 100 yards apiece, helping UCLA pull away during a 34-16 road win over Arizona on Saturday night.

UCLA showed off its biggest strength, using a balanced rushing attack to wear down Arizona during a road win Saturday night.

UCLA tacks on field goal to wrap up win

Arizona wilted under more UCLA defensive pressure and fumbled the ball late in the fourth quarter.

The Bruins ran time off the clock before Nicholas Barr-Mira closed out scoring with a 43-yard field goal.

UCLA took a 34-16 lead with 1:48 left in the contest.

The Wildcats managed one more first down before time expired.


Brittain Brown helps UCLA put game away with 48-yard touchdown run

Zach Charbonnet and Brittain Brown remain a formidable combination.

Charbonnet chipped away for short gains before Brown rumbled 48 yards for a touchdown. With the extra point, UCLA took a commanding 31-16 lead with 7:48 left in the contest.


UCLA fumbles to close third and Arizona fumbles early in fourth

UCLA and Arizona have traded a series of miscues to close the third quarter and open the fourth.

First, Arizona responded to UCLA’s third-quarter touchdown by going three-and-out.

Zach Charbonnet opened the next series with a 37-yard run and UCLA appeared to be rolling, but Brittain Brown later fumbled and Arizona recovered at its 18-yard yard as time expired in the third quarter.

Three plays into the fourth quarter, Jordan McCloud was sacked. UCLA’s defense forced a fumble that the Bruins recovered at the Arizona 37-yard line.

But the UCLA offense couldn’t do much with the gift. A rush for a loss of three, a rush for no gain and an incomplete pass set up a rare Chip Kelly call to punt.

Arizona started the next drive with the ball on its 20-yard line with 12:39 left in the fourth quarter ... and the Wildcats continued the futility by going three-and-out. Arizona punted again as both teams remain stuck in neutral.


UCLA counters Arizona field goal with touchdown in third

After Arizona matched UCLA’s field goal with another field goal, the Bruins mounted a long scoring drive that gave them a more comfortable lead.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson broke up a formidable string of UCLA rushing plays with two passes to tight end Greg Dulcich and another Brittain Brown that extended the drive.

Thompson-Robinson closed the nine-play, 79-yard drive with a four-yard rushing touchdown. The extra point gave UCLA a 24-16 lead with 4:06 remaining in the fourth quarter.


Bruins can’t make most of Allen’s 73-yard kickoff return

Kazmeir Allen returned the opening kickoff of the third quarter 73 yards, but the Bruins couldn’t punch the ball into the end zone.

Nicholas Barr-Mira hit a 23-yard field goal after the offense stalled, extending UCLA’s lead to 17-13 with 13:21 left in the third quarter.


Dorian Thompson-Robinson tosses interception

After largely relying on the ground game to move the ball successfully, UCLA tried to make the most of the final 30 seconds of the first half and turned to the passing game.

The Bruins failed.

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson tossed an interception to open the drive. Arizona got the ball at its 44-yard and did not return it.

Jordan McCloud connected on a six-yard pass, but the UCLA defense sacked him on the next play to close out the first half.

UCLA leads 14-13 at the break.


Arizona pulls within one point of UCLA

Arizona used a trick play to score its first touchdown of the game.

Receiver Jamarye Joiner passed to Michael Wiley for a 20-yard touchdown with 37 seconds left in the second quarter. With the extra point, the Wildcats trimmed the Bruins’ lead to 14-13.


UCLA defense delivers stop and Bruins’ offense efficiently scores

Arizona quarterback Jordan McCloud has had the UCLA defense on its heels, but the Bruins came up with a big stop on fourth-and-one on the UCLA 28-yard line. McCloud kept the ball and gained no yards.

UCLA made the most of the next possession, relying heavily on its run game that overpowered the Wildcats’

Brittain Brown, Zach Charbonnet and Dorian Thompson-Robinson accounted for most of the offense during a nine-play, 72-yard scoring drive. DTR punched the ball in for a two-yard touchdown and the Bruins took a 14-6 lead with 3:01 left in the second quarter.


Arizona hits long field goal, trims UCLA lead

Arizona quarterback Joran McCloud scrambled for three yards to open the second quarter. Lucas Havrisik then hit a 46-yard field goal to trim UCLA’s lead to 7-6 with 14:24 left before halftime.


UCLA leads 7-3 at end of first quarter

Arizona pushed the tempo after UCLA scored, but the drive stalled after a fumbled snap.

The Wildcats recovered after an 11-yard loss and faced third-and-21 on the UCLA 31 as time expired at the end of the first quarter.

UCLA and Arizona accounted for two long scoring drives that covered most of the first quarter.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson is 1-of-4 passing for three yards, but the sole pass play was a touchdown.

Zach Charbonnet has accounted for 25 of the Bruins’ 57 yards.

Arizona quarterback Jordan McCloud accounted accounted for more of his team’s offense, going 8-of-11 passing for 88 yards.

End of first quarter: UCLA 7, Arizona 3.


Chip Kelly gambles on fourth-and-goal again and Bruins score

UCLA coach Chip Kelly remains comfortable gambling on fourth-and-goal.

The Bruins’ failure to convert in the red zone against Arizona State last week was costly, fueling a Sun Devils scoring surge that UCLA could not overcome.

Trailing Arizona 3-0 early in the first quarter and facing fourth-and-goal at the three-yard line, Kelly called a timeout and then went for the touchdown.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson faked a handoff and passed to tight end Greg Dulcich, who faked a block and hauled in the catch. With the extra point, UCLA leads Arizona 7-3 with 3:48 left in the first quarter.


Bruins limit Wildcats’ promising opening drive to field goal

Arizona moved the ball efficiently during the first drive, using 14 plays to gain 65 yards.

The UCLA defense delivered stops late in the drive, forcing the winless Wildcats to settle for a field goal.

Tyler Loop hit a 28-yard field goal to give Wildcats a 3-0 lead with 9:08 left in the first quarter.


Arizona receives opening kickoff

UCLA kicked off to Arizona and the Wildcats opened the first drive of the game on their 25-yard line.

Arizona is winless this season, but remains a threat as the Bruins work to get back on track following a humbling loss to potent Arizona State.


UCLA vs. Arizona: Key story lines as Bruins take on Wildcats

UCLA coach Chip Kelly looks at Bruins receiver Kam Brown
UCLA coach Chip Kelly looks at Bruins receiver Kam Brown during a time out against Arizona State at the Rose Bowl on Oct. 2.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Weird things happen to UCLA in the desert. Karl Dorrell, Rick Neuheisel and Jim Mora could tell you some stories. Losses to mediocre Arizona teams in 2007, 2011 and 2017 at Arizona Stadium were among their final acts as Bruins coaches. That’s a possible repeat scenario that Chip Kelly hopes doesn’t play out on the ESPN broadcast at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Kelly’s Bruins (3-2 overall, 1-1 Pac-12) will face the Wildcats (0-4, 0-1) while trying to steady themselves from a bad stumble against Arizona State. UCLA is favored by 16 points, which might not matter if more madness ensues at a place where the Bruins have lost two games in a row and six of their last eight.

Times staff writer Ben Bolch looks at the game’s matchups and story lines:

A real coach killer

The most embarrassing part of UCLA’s 48-12 loss to Arizona in 2011 wasn’t the score. Six Bruins players were later suspended in the wake of a brawl that started shortly after a fan dressed as a referee ran onto the field after a play. The fake referee motioned for a real counterpart to throw him the football and when that failed, removed his clothes and ran across the field.

Neuheisel was fired a little more than a month later.

Dorrell suffered a similar fate in 2007 after a midseason road loss to Arizona. Stunningly, it wasn’t his biggest desert humiliation. That came in 2005, when his unbeaten team got flattened during a 52-14 loss to the team with the worst offense in the Pac-10. The headline in The Los Angeles Times the next day said it all: “Bruins in ruins.”

Mora’s team gave up 605 yards to the Wildcats in a 2017 defeat at Arizona Stadium, prompting UCLA linebacker Kenny Young to question his teammates’ commitment. Mora was out of a job before the end of the next month.

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UCLA vs. Arizona: College football betting picks, odds and analysis

UCLA dropped to 1-1 in the Pac-12 and 3-2 overall with its 42-23 loss to Arizona State last Saturday, but the Bruins have a great chance to get back on track when they visit the winless Arizona Wildcats (0-4) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Tucson.

Las Vegas oddsmakers opened UCLA as a 16-point road favorite and the line has held pretty steady all week. The Over/Under has also been solid at 61 points.

VSiN’s Dave Tuley breaks down the game and says it might be better to look at the total or other props tied to a lower-scoring game (especially for lowly Arizona).

UCLA Bruins (-16, O/U 61) at Arizona Wildcats

This is one of those tough point spreads we see a lot, especially in college football, when it’s a clear mismatch. The oddsmakers have the Bruins favored by 16 points, which makes sense as Chip Kelly’s offense is averaging 35.4 points while Arizona is averaging just 17 points. Granted, that’s not the only thing oddsmakers take into account when setting a line but it’s close enough.

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UCLA vs. Arizona: Jedd Fisch has hands full with rebuild of Wildcats

Trick plays were a Jedd Fisch specialty in his one season at UCLA.

Flea-flickers, double reverses and a screen pass to left tackle Kolton Miller were just part of the fun. Fisch, the Bruins’ offensive coordinator before becoming interim coach upon the firing of Jim Mora, conjured much of the magic in an otherwise disillusioning 2017 season.

What he wants to do at Arizona would amaze David Copperfield. Fisch is trying to make ages of desert disappointment disappear.

The only member of the Pac-12 Conference before its most recent expansion to never appear in a Rose Bowl, the Wildcats find themselves with far greater problems than snagging the national spotlight. They haven’t won a game in more than two years. Their school-record 16-game losing streak included a belly flop last month against Northern Arizona, a Football Championship Subdivision team.

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