UCLA 56, Arizona 30: Defensive coordinator Tom Bradley

No. 9 UCLA went into Tucson and ran away with a 56-30 win over 16th-ranked Arizona, but it also allowed 353 rushing yards along the way — the most the Bruins have given up in a game since 2005.

“Way too many runs, way too many missed tackles,” said defensive coordinator Tom Bradley. “We’ve got to do a better job of that. That’s not how you play good fundamental defense.”

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UCLA 56, Arizona 30: Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone

After throwing three interceptions against BYU, UCLA freshman quarterback got back on track in the Bruins’ 56-30 in at Arizona, going 19 of 28 for 284 yards and two touchdowns.

“I’m just speculating, because I don’t know what the hell I’m doing anyway,” offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said. “But it seems like when we go tempo, when we spread out and he’s reacting, he really has a great feel for the game. I think sometimes when we’re in there, we’ve got two backs and we’re trying to pound the ball — he’s maybe looking at too much.

“He loves the tempo offense. When we’re playing fast, he can just react to what he sees.”

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What to watch: No. 9 UCLA at No. 16 Arizona

A week ago, UCLA looked like a triumphant football program.

It had just beaten BYU, overcoming a double-digit, fourth-quarter deficit for the first time in 52 games. It had done so despite an ugly night for quarterback Josh Rosen, who threw three interceptions and looked nothing like the freshman phenom he appeared to be in his career opener. And, the next morning, it emerged at No. 9 in the Associated Press poll — becoming the conference’s highest-ranked team for the first time in over a decade.

But two injuries later, and the Bruins’ outlook suddenly looks a lot less rosy. After already losing defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes to a torn ACL, the team is now without cornerback Fabian Moreau (foot) and linebacker Myles Jack (knee) for the rest of the season.

A visit to No. 16 Arizona on Saturday gives UCLA a chance to prove that, even shorthanded, it remains a contender.

When UCLA has the ball

Rosen’s dreadful night at the Rose Bowl last Saturday could someday end up being a turning point in his career, a retrospective reminder that greatness needs an incubation period.

For now, it’s more a sign that even a talented true freshman is still a freshman. The 18-year-old will only improve as he figures out what chances he should or shouldn’t take on the field, but in the meantime, the Bruins’ offense is still in good shape. This is a veteran group that can afford its quarterback some time to catch up to the learning curve. Continue reading

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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)
Kickoff:
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. Continue reading

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