It was a hard-fought game for the Arizona Wildcats against the UCLA Bruins, but the Cats came up just one drive short as they fell to the Bruins 31-26.
The star of the game was UCLA LB(?) Myles Jack, without question. The guy did everything. Eight solo tackles and two passes broken up is a pretty good game for most guys.
But that wasn't enough for Jack. He also ran the ball six times on offense for 120 yards, including a 66-yard TD run with just over ten minutes left in the game to put it out of reach for Arizona. Unreal, considering UCLA's top linebacker, Anthony Barr, was once a running back. Weird how those things work out.
The Wildcats fall to 6-3 (3-3 Pac-12) on the season, while UCLA improves to 7-2, 4-2 in Pac-12 play. It was a good second half for Arizona on both sides of the ball, but it was not enough to finish the comeback. Nate Phillips ended up bringing in two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to bring his season total to six. He was also so close to becoming the first Arizona receiver with 100 receiving yards in a game. He finished with 97.
Arizona got the scoring started on a Jake Smith FG from 44 yards out that could have been good from 60. But UCLA answered right back when Brett Hundley found Shaquelle Evans for a 66-yard TD on their first play from scrimmage.
The Wildcats offense got some momentum back on the very next drive. They made it down to the UCLA 15 yard line on seven plays for 60 yards. Daniel Jenkins was then stopped short on 3rd & 1, and then Ka'Deem Carey was stuffed trying to go up the gut on 4th & 1.
After that turnover on downs, UCLA drove the ball 84 yards on 12 plays, capped by a remarkable run by Hundley, in addition to some horrid tackling.
UCLA had all the momentum heading into the second quarter, but curiously called a fake punt on their own 25 yard line. A really intriguing call considering that was the first time Arizona had shown any life defensively.
The Wildcats took advantage of the UCLA decision by scoring just four plays later with Carey's 40th career TD run.
To close out the first half, the Bruins started on their own 10, and drove it down the field on 16 plays for the second TD pass of the night to Shaq Evans. On the drive, UCLA used at least four defensive guys (Eddie Vanderdoes, Myles Jack, Jordan Zumwalt and Keenan Graham) on offense, with Jack and Zumwalt getting touches.
UCLA opened the second half with a Ka'imi Fairbirn 34-yard FG to push the lead to 14 points. Arizona answered with an eleven-play, 78-yard drive which ended with an enormous fumble by Carey as he was about to break the plane of the goal line. The defense forced a three-and-out following the fumble, but an offensive pass interference call on Terrence Miller and false start stopped the drive before it could get going.
A UCLA turnover led to another Jake Smith FG to make it 24-13 heading into the fourth quarter.
UCLA started the final period with a punt, and Arizona proceeded to take it 88 yards on 8 plays, capped by a Nate Phillips TD grab in the back of the endzone on a fantastic pass from B.J. Denker. On the drive, Ka'Deem also went over the 100 yard mark for the 12th straight game.
After a missed two-point conversion by Arizona, wonder boy Myles Jack peeled off a 66-yard run to put UCLA back up by 12.
Arizona answered again with yet another TD pass to Nate Phillips. This one, he fought for every yard of it, which is so unusual in a small receiver like him. It was quite the effort and a score that the Cats needed to stay in it til the very end.
After trading punts, the Wildcats had one last chance with a little more than two minutes left on the clock. But on fourth down, Denker was picked off by Ishmael Adams, which sealed the game for UCLA.
The first half was not so great, but Arizona responded in the second half. Although it wasn't enough to pull out the victory, it showed how far this team has come in just a year and a half.