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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona football set for big road matchup with UCLA

Tyler Baker

UCLA then-redshirt sophomore quarterback Brett Hundley (17) scrambles during Arizona’s 31-26 loss against UCLA at Arizona Stadium on Nov. 9. Hundley and the Bruins are 6-2 on the season and will look to gain momentum against Arizona this weekend.

Under the bright Hollywood lights, Arizona football faces UCLA in a battle of ranked teams.

No. 12/14 Arizona (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12 Conference) faces No. 22/25 UCLA (6-2, 3-2) at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.

“It’s a Saturday night on a big stage, they are breaking out new uniforms and it’s on national television,” Arizona football head coach Rich Rodriguez said. “I think they can sense it, and I really sensed a good energy in practice today. I think any player wants to play on that big stage, especially at this level.”

The last time Arizona played at the Rose Bowl, in 2012, it was ranked No. 24 but lost 66-10.

“Now I really want to win this game, especially after the debacle a few years ago,” UA senior free safety Jourdon Grandon said. “That particular game at the Rose Bowl brought on a lot of disappointment and embarrassment.”

The one that got away

Leading the Bruins is a Heisman candidate and an Arizonan with UA ties.

UCLA junior quarterback Brett Hundley is from Chandler, Ariz., and his father Brett Hundley Sr. played football at the UA in 1986.

Hundley is one touchdown pass away from tying the school record, is No. 2 in the nation in completion percentage, is No. 13 in the country in pass efficiency and is the first UCLA quarterback with over 700 completions.

The dual threat quarterback owns five of UCLA’s 10 400-yard total offense games.

“He is a big guy that breaks a lot of tackles,” Rodriguez said. “He and Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota are probably the two best I’ve seen in terms of big athletic guys that break tackles and won’t go down by just putting an arm on them.”

A rose by any other name

While UCLA plays in the Rose Bowl stadium, it has also had a knack for keeping Arizona out of the Rose Bowl game.

The Wildcats are the only Pac-10 team that has never reached a Rose Bowl game. During two of Arizona’s two best seasons, the Bruins knocked the Wildcats out of the Rose Bowl.

In 1993-94, Arizona went 10-2 and lost to the Bruins and California, and in 1998-99, the UA went 12-1 and only lost to UCLA. Both of those seasons, the Bruins smelled roses.

UCLA leads the all-time series 21-15-2 and in Pasadena, Calif., 9-4-1.

Cubs to Bruins

UCLA was originally known as the Southern Branch University of California and the “Cubs.” UCLA students considered Buccaneers and Gorillas but decided on Bruins after California, which had been using both Bears and Bruins, gave up Bruins.

UCLA’s famous alumni include Mariska Hargitay, John Williams, Bill Walton, Troy Aikman, Ben Stiller and Jackie Robinson.


Follow James Kelley on Twitter.

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