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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona vs. UCLA: Game blog

3:48 p.m. – UA looked impressive driving down the field in its first possession of the game, but the drive ended when David Douglas dropped Nick Foles’ pass and the ball fell into the hands of UCLA safety Rahim Moore. Can Arizona’s defense respond?

Injury update: DE Brooks Reed is out of the starting lineup again. The junior is suited up and might see action later in the game.

 

4:07 p.m. – Looking sharp on both sides. The defense is playing with its hair on fire and the offense is clicking. UA leads 13-0, 3:12 left in the first quarter.

Some observations: The offense has run all of its plays out of the shotgun, and have mixed in H-back Chris Gronkowski more than usual. Wide receivers Delashaun Dean and Juron Criner have made big plays on reverses to help combat UCLA’s tight run-defense up the middle.

On the defensive side, the unit is playing as tough as it has all season. All 11 players have been flying to the ball and are extra aggressive.

This is the exact kind of start that head coach Mike Stoops was looking for today.

 

4:20 p.m. – That was a bad interception by Foles. A touchdown would have put Arizona up by three scores, but instead an interception at the goal line keeps UCLA in the game.

Outplaying opponents but allowing them to stay competitive has been Arizona’s achilles heel this season – will the ‘Cats learn from their mistakes and finally slam the door this time, or will they let the Bruins comeback? Tell us your thoughts.

 

4:31 p.m. – Arizona’s defense keeps UCLA out of the end zone after the interception, but did you see that kick? UCLA’s Kai Forbath just blasted a 53-yarder that probably would have been good from 65 yards out.

Super kick or not, Arizona’s defense might have saved the game by limiting that drive to just three points. The unit is looking like the fierce group that its supposed to be.

After throwing two early interceptions, look for offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes to simplify the offense for the next few drives. Expect lots of screen passes, draw-runs by Nic Grigsby, and jet-sweeps by Juron Criner.

 

4:50 p.m. – Running back Nic Grigsby is down with a shoulder injury. The junior injured his right shoulder during the Washington game and has been limited ever since. His return at this point is unknown, but he appeared to be in serious pain.

 

5:03 p.m. – Halftime: Arizona 13, UCLA 3

It didn’t go quite as well as expected, but Arizona can’t be disappointed with its effort in the first half. The defense was fantastic and although the offense made mistakes, it played well.

Things I liked: First, the defense. THAT is the effort and the aggressiveness that the coaching staff has been looking for all season. The unit has set the tone from the start.

The offense has moved the ball extremely well, totalling 260 yards of offense (compared to UCLA’s 97). Juron Criner has been a force, rushing for 39 yards in addition to his 52 receiving yards – including a textbook stutter-step-and-go on his 41-yard TD reception. The offense is playing within itself and calling plays to its strength.

Things I didn’t like: The turnovers. Three interceptions for Foles has made him seem human, but two of them shouldn’t have happened (the first one was dropped by David Douglas and the third one was tipped at the line).

Secondly, Arizona should have at least 20 points right now. Another red zone trip without a touchdown is holding its lead to just 13-3.

Arizona dominated the first half on both sides of the ball, and with the second half about to get underway let’s see if it can boost its lead.

Questions, comments, observations? Leave them in the “”Add comment”” section at the bottom of the page.

 

5:41 p.m. – Nick Foles hits Juron Criner on a quick screen for a 25-yard touchdown. It’s Criner’s second TD reception of the game and he currently is the leading receiver and rusher for both teams.

That touchdown doesn’t happen, however, if Bug Wright didn’t make an incredible cut block to spring Criner. Wright went low on UCLA cornerback Sheldon Price and flipped him over, giving Criner plenty of room to score.

Arizona leads UCLA 20-6 with 8:34 seconds left in the third quarter.

 

5:50 p.m. – Another freak play dooms the Wildcats. With Foles in the shotgun and three receivers to his right, the righty threw a bubble-screen to the strong side. Nothing out of the ordinary, UA does that all the time – right?

Wrong. UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers jumps the screen and seemingly drops an easy interception. With Arizona players walking back to the huddle assuming an incomplete pass, UCLA safety Tony Dye picks up the loose ball and returns it for a touchdown.

The play was ruled a fumble because Foles did not make a forward pass, and similar to the Washington game, Arizona has let its opponent back into the contest thanks to a freak play.

This one is getting interesting. Arizona 20, UCLA 13 with 5:12 left in the third.

 

6:07 p.m. – Arizona leads 27-13 at the end of the third quarter. Senior running back Nick Booth punched in his first career touchdown with under a minute left in the quarter to give Arizona a comfortable lead.

Fifteen minutes of football left to play, will the ‘Cats hold on? Tell us what you think.

 

6:30 p.m. – Arizona stops UCLA on fourth-down with 8:10 left in the game. We’re headed down to the field to get some postgame reaction from players and coaches, and we’re pretty confident that this one is in the bag (although Arizona has been the victim of a miracle or two before).

Log on to dailywildcat.com shortly after the game for a postgame article and video analysis and, as always, check all week for further Arizona football coverage.

But first, tell us what you think. Did the Wildcats impress you today? Are they worthy of a No. 22 ranking in the BCS polls? Where can they improve? Let us know.

 

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