First look: No. 9 UCLA at No. 16 Arizona

Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez has lost to UCLA's Jim Mora in all three of their meetings. The two are pictured shaking hands after the Bruins' 17-7 win at the Rose Bowl on Nov. 1, 2014. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez has lost to UCLA’s Jim Mora in all three of their meetings. The two are pictured shaking hands after the Bruins’ 17-7 win at the Rose Bowl on Nov. 1, 2014. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

No. 9 UCLA Bruins (3-0) at No. 16 Arizona Wildcats (3-0)
Saturday, Sept. 26, 5 p.m., Arizona Stadium (Tucson, Ariz.)
TV: ABC (Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Heather Cox)
Radio: AM 570 (Bill Roth, Matt Stevens, Wayne Cook)

Scouting report: Will Scooby Wright return from his knee injury in time for Arizona’s first big game of the season? The All-American linebacker won a slew of awards as a sophomore, but injured his knee in the season opener. He practiced today for the first time in two weeks. … A 3-3-5 defense that relies on its secondary lost four players from that unit who combined for 24 pass breakups, eight interceptions, and seven sacks. … In 2014, the Wildcats sat just outside the national top-25 in offensive yards (463.6 per game), but fell to No. 57 in yards per play (5.7). They are ranked sixth in the FBS in both categories through three games this season, albeit against unimpressive competition in UTSA, Nevada and Northern Arizona. … Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez is 0-3 against Jim Mora. UCLA is the only Pac-12 South team he has yet to beat.

Series history: UCLA leads the all-time series with a 22-15-2 edge over Arizona, with the two ties occurring in 1928 and 1982. The Bruins lost five straight to the Wildcats before hiring Jim Mora, and have since racked up a 114-43 scoring margin through three wins.

Key players:

QB Anu Solomon, RSo., 6-2, 205 — 71/104, 778 yards, 10 TD, 15 carries, 43 yards, 1 TD
— Not being asked to air the ball out quite as much this season. He averaged 38.6 attempts per game last season, twice topping 70, but has dropped to 34.7 through three games.

RB Nick Wilson, So., 5-10, 199 — 62 carries, 434 yards, 5 TD
– He is Paul Perkins’ fiercest competition for the conference rushing title. He currently has five more yards than his UCLA counterpart, but has used four extra carries to get them.

WR David Richards, RSr., 6-4, 213 — 14 catches, 203 yards, 3 TD
– Broke out with eight catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns after totaling just 211 yards last season. Will see even more defensive attention with Arizona receivers Cayleb Jones and Samajie Grant looking questionable with apparent knee/leg injuries.

LB Scooby Wright III, Jr., 6-3, 240 — 1 tackle
– There are numerous ways to capture Wright’s impact on the UofA defense, but let’s go with this one: He led the FBS with 2.07 tackles for loss per game. The next-best mark was Washington’s Hau’oli Kikaha at 1.79. Only three other players even topped 1.6.

S Will Parks, Sr., 6-1, 194 — 19 tackles, 2 TFL, 4 pass breakups, 2 forced fumbles
– After leading Arizona with 13 tackles for loss as a junior, Parks is now the most important member of the secondary in his hybrid safety/linebacker “spur” position.

Line: UCLA opened as a 4.5-point favorite.

Opponent in GIF form:


Fun fact: Arizona’s motto, “bear down,” is drawn from the last words of John “Button” Salmon — an athlete and student body president who died after a car crash in 1926. In a minor contradiction, the university seal includes the Latin word sursum, which means above or upwards.