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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


‘Cats pummel Bruins

It sure wasn’t pretty, but the Arizona football team did just enough to scrape out a 27-13 win against UCLA Saturday night at Arizona Stadium.

In a game riddled with turnovers and penalties by both teams, the Wildcats (5-2, 3-1 Pacific 10 Conference) made fewer mistakes and put away a struggling Bruin (3-4, 0-4) squad late in the contest.

“”For a while there we were clicking on all cylinders,”” said UA offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes. “”Then it was one of those deals where if anything bad can happen it was going to happen. It was a little bit of a roller coaster ride I suppose.””

With Arizona quarterback Nick Foles having the first off night in his young career — he threw three interceptions on the night and fumbled once while battling flu-like symptoms — wide receiver Juron Criner picked up the slack. The sophomore hauled in 4 catches for 85 yards and two scores and added another 39 yards on the ground on 3 carries.

With Criner providing the big plays — a 41-yard catch for a score and 25-yard catch-and-run for another — the rest of the Wildcats’ offense didn’t need to do much.

“”I think I did good,”” Criner said. “”I was just doing my job and going out there and (I) let my natural abilities take over.””

Even though Arizona was in control for most the game, it couldn’t quite slam the door shut on UCLA in front of an announced attendance of 51,440. The Wildcats turned the ball over twice inside the Bruin 10-yard line and a quirky play in the third quarter gave UCLA new life.

Foles threw a quick screen pass to the near side but a Bruin defensive back batted the ball down, apparently for an incompletion. But no whistle was blown and UCLA corner back Tony Dye scooped up the loose ball and scampered 28 yards for a score to bring the Bruins within seven points.

However, the Wildcats responded with a 10-play, 63-yard drive to put the score at 27-13 and effectively put the game away.

“”The great thing about a good football team is that another part stepped up,”” said UA head coach Mike Stoops.

To seal the win, the onus fell on the UA defense. All night, the Wildcats swarmed to the ball and held the UCLA offense in check. The Bruins finished the night with 211 yards — 65 rushing and 146 passing. The UA defense was so dominant that UCLA didn’t gain more than 47 yards on a single drive and the Bruins’ longest scoring drive was 27 yards.

Senior safety Cam Nelson led the way with six tackles — two of which were sacks — and forced two fumbles. The rest of the Wildcats followed suit as the unit notched four sacks in all and caused two turnovers on the night. After a sub-par effort last weekend in a win against Stanford, the players wouldn’t allow themselves to have a repeat performance.

“”We had guys with a lot of energy flying around everywhere,”” said senior linebacker Xavier Kelley. “”… We had to come out with a chip on our shoulders and prove that wasn’t the Arizona defense that we showed last week, and we did that (Saturday).””

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