A season of bests for the Arizona Wildcats this season finally led to a worst. An angry-looking UCLA Bruins team dropped UA 17-7 by holding an Anu Solomon-led offense to 255 total yards, and quarterback Brett Hundley gashed Arizona for 131 yards on 24 carries as Jim Mora's team focused on ball control.
Even with UCLA committing 11 penalties for 118 yards, the combination of the Bruins' physical front and mistakes by the Arizona offense was too much. The result was the Wildcats crashing down to earth.
Not Anu's night: Offensive line issues struck in Pasadena, a rare thing in Rich Rodriguez's three seasons at Arizona. The Bruins put pressure on Solomon all night long, and that led to much of his troubles. Compounding Solomon's panicking at certain points was the lack of a run game. The Wildcats rushed the ball 31 times, but 10 of those were on Solomon scrambles-slash-sacks. He only gained eight yards.
Terris Jones-Grigsby piled up a reasonable 50 yards on 11 carries, and Nick Wilson struggled with nine totes for just 18 yards.
That left Solomon dropping back for 47 passes and just 18 completions. There were drops, but many of them happened because of off-target passes. There were plenty of misreads -- going for big plays that weren't there or not having enough time in the pocket to find a dump-off option. Arizona averaged 3.7 yards per pass attempt.
The early pseudo-success: UCLA linebacker Myles Jack spend his time opposite Arizona last year to announce his coming out as a dual-threat player. Jim Mora used Jack as a running back for the first time against the Wildcats, and he gashed UA's defense in a big Bruin win. This year, Jack looked as if he made another switch early -- to the Arizona team. He was responsible for two key penalties that set up Solomon's touchdown pass to Cayleb Jones on the opening drive of the game. That would be the Wildcats' only points in what was choppy defensive-oriented game for both teams.
We don't know what targeting is: Jourdon Grandon found himself in the locker room before halftime after being ejected on a targeting penalty. It riled up Arizona, then, that a high hit by UCLA concussed Austin Hill. He didn't return from the game after getting up woozy, but the Bruins weren't flagged on the play.
Hard to judge the defense: The scariest number from the Wildcats' perspective came on defense, where they held UCLA to 17 points. It seemed Mora felt good about playing a smashmouth, slowdown style. The Bruins piled up 271 rushing yards and had the possession nearly two-thirds of the game clock, disallowing Arizona to string together a rhythm over the course of more than a possession; if that even happened within a possession.
Arizona earned itself chance after chance on the defensive end. UCLA's first score, a field goal, came after the Wildcats stuffed Mora's jumbo package at the goalline early on.
Scooby Wright had himself another stellar night with three sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss and 19 whole tackles. Tra'Mayne Bondurant forced a late fumble on Hundley that gave UA a very good chance at scoring. After Solomon failed to get the ball in the end zone, a field goal attempt to make it a one-score game in the final two minutes was blocked.