The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

84° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: No. 16 Arizona Wildcats succumb to national spotlight in blowout loss against No. 9 UCLA

Rebecca Noble

Arizona defenders take down UCLA running back Paul Perkins (24) on Saturday, Sept. 26 at Arizona Stadium.

Yet again, Arizona football lost during a primetime matchup on ABC. The game was supposed to show the rest of the country that Arizona is a legitimate College Football Playoff contender, but the Wildcats shot themselves in the foot with turnovers.

With ESPN’s College GameDay stopping through Tucson for a Pac-12 shootout, the Wildcats lost for the second time the crew has come to the university.

No. 16 Arizona hosted No. 9 UCLA in a conference opener, and for the first time this season, Arizona got what they had coming to them after a relatively softer non-conference schedule.

The Wildcats defeated NAU with record-setting points and yards, but let’s be real. The Lumberjacks are a mediocre team at best in the Big Sky Conference. Saturday’s game wasn’t what most expected, but it was a true test to evaluate where the Wildcats are at in terms of progression as a team.

Arizona had more turnovers than the Pillsbury Doughboy, and two of them were fumbles that were lost. There was a miscommunication between center Cayman Bundage and the carousel of quarterbacks. There were two fumbles from Anu Solomon and one from Jerrard Randall. Solomon went down in the first half after the flying knee of UCLA linebacker Kenny Young. That is when the Wildcats made an adjustment on offense and UCLA stacked the box to stop Randall from creating any room for quarterback keepers.

Once UCLA went up 28-7, the snowball affect of Arizona folding over increased, and Arizona was deflated once it knew time was its worst enemy.

Arizona has a tendency of dropping games in front of a national audience, and the one week where Arizona receives national exposure, they get thumped 56-30 while giving up 497 yards.

The last time GameDay came was in 2009 for the Pac-10 matchup between Arizona and Oregon. Analyst Lee Corso put on the Oregon Duck mascot headgear, so Arizona fans received redemption after he donned Wilbur Wildcat’s mascot head gear. With special guest Bob Baffert, American Pharoah selected UCLA. Then Corso got Arizona fans jumping after he disagreed with the Triple Crown winner.

“I like horses, but I love cats,” Corso said.

Even though Arizona was hyped and expected to come out guns slinging, the Wildcats played productively, but turnovers stopped them from creating any momentum. The statistics are identical as Arizona only had 29 yards less than the Bruins. Nick Wilson ran for 136 yards, yet it was UCLA’s two-headed dog, the running-back combo of Paul Perkins and Soso Jamabo, who combined for 181 yards.

Once again, Arizona was embarrassed on national television. With the Pac-12 Championship Game blowout to Oregon, the Fiesta Bowl last-minute mistakes and now a primetime game with College GameDay in town, Arizona can never find a way to pull it together for a national audience. On top of that, Arizona has to travel to Palo Alto, California, next week to take on Stanford, which has been on a hot streak since losing to Northwestern in week one.

The status of Solomon is still unknown, but Arizona took a few steps back this weekend. Now with a chip on their shoulder, expect Arizona to piece together a comeback victory in the Bay Area next weekend. Let’s just hope the game is on Pac-12 Networks and not ESPN, so Arizona isn’t jinxed again.

GameDay is a treat to Tucson, and the experience of the show is energetic and spunky, but the Wildcats have terrible luck when the crew comes to the city. 

Follow Justin Spears on Twitter.

More to Discover
Activate Search