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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UCLA scores weird win over Arizona Wildcats

UCLA+freshman+linebacker+Myles+Jack+runs+the+ball+as+a+running+back+against+Arizona+on+Saturday+in+Tucson.++
Ryan Revock
UCLA freshman linebacker Myles Jack runs the ball as a running back against Arizona on Saturday in Tucson.

The third quarter goal line fumble by Arizona (6-3, 3-3 Pac-12) running back Ka’Deem Carey sums up Saturday’s 31-26 loss to No. 19 UCLA.

The unexplainable happened and Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez didn’t know what to say afterwards other than “we played poorly and had a chance to win at the end,” and to lose like that “makes you sicker.”

Carey’s fumble was just his second of the season.

“I’m very excited to play the game and I’m passionate when I run the ball,” Carey said. “I just closed my eyes and took a leap, anything to help my team.”

But the weird didn’t stop there, UCLA’s offense featured defensive players lining up and receivers snapping the ball.

And don’t forget the Bruins’ top NFL prospect, defensive end Anthony Barr, recording a career low zero stats.

Barr’s lack of stats, though, didn’t affect the UCLA (7-2, 4-2) offense.

Through its first eight games, UCLA has averaged 193.6 rushing yards per game. However, in its previous four games it had gone away from running the ball and seen its average drop to 127.5 in those four games.

Saturday, Arizona allowed the Bruins to run all over its defense, allowing 249 rushing yards.

And to maybe no surprise it was an unusual freshman UCLA running back that led the way for the Bruins.

Myles Jack caught the Wildcats off guard as he rushed for 120 yards on just six attempts. Prior to Saturday’s game, Jack had zero rushing attempts, because he is also a starting linebacker and had never appeared on offense before.

“We have always talked about using [Jack],” said UCLA head coach Jim Mora Jr. “But the question is how much do you give our young players to do and at what point do they become saturated and lose their effectiveness.”

Rodriguez said that they hadn’t prepared for Jack at all, but it wouldn’t have made a difference who was running the ball. A great athlete is a great athlete and you’re not going to change your defense because he’s in the game all of a sudden.

“The guy is a great athlete,” Rodriguez said. “He’ll be a first round pick as a linebacker [in the NFL draft]. We just didn’t tackle him.”

Rodriguez added that Arizona had tried recruiting Jack.

Jack wasn’t the only creative change by Mora Jr. Fellow starting linebacker and NFL prospect Jordan Zumwalt also lined up a number of times at receiver and even caught a pass for 12 yards. Zumwalt had zero offensive stats before the match up with the Wildcats.

Receiver Darius Bell joined in the party by not only seeing time on defense and recorded one tackle, but he also played on the offensive line as the center for a play in the third quarter.

The somewhat unexplainable weirdness worked for UCLA.

Arizona couldn’t contain UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley.

When no pressure was put on Hundley by the UA defense, the sophomore quarterback aired it out for big pass play after big pass play.

Hundley had six passes of 15 or more yards, including a 66-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage by the Bruins’ offense.

“They all were big,” Rodriguez said about the importance of the deep passes. “It’s ridiculous you can’t tackle the quarterback and you give up a 66-yard run.”

Even when pressure was applied on Hundley he would use his feet to scamper and turn a potential sack into a large gain. Hundley finished Saturday’s game with 227 passing yards and 56 rushing yards.

To go along with the six deep passes, UCLA also had three rushes that were of 15 or more yards, including a 66-yard touchdown run by Jack in the fourth quarter.

Despite all the craziness, Arizona was inches shy of pulling off the upset. Just like Carey’s fumble on the goal line.

“We didn’t execute in the red zone,” said Arizona quarterback B.J. Denker. “We still had a chance. They were asking for us to take the game and we couldn’t.”

—Follow Luke Della @LukeDella

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