Sunday, October 24, 2021

UCLA heads to the desert to face winless Arizona

Tucson, Ariz. (WNN) — UCLA has a chance to bounce back from its second loss of the season against a team that hasn’t won since 2019.

An easy win is coming? The Bruins can’t see it that way.

Arizona may be on a record losing streak, but the Wildcats have proven they can hang out with anyone, as they showed against Oregon two weeks ago.

“I think (Oregon) underestimated him a little bit,” UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson said this week. “They fell behind him in the second half and it made that game close. We have to learn from their mistakes.”

The Bruins (3-2, 1-1 Pac-12) are coming off a frustrated 42-23 home loss at Arizona State that knocked them out of the WNN Top 25 and the Sun Devils were moved to No. 22.

UCLA appeared in control with a strong first half, but Arizona State failed in the fourth and a deep at the end and failed to score in the second half.

The defense was hit with several explosive plays, including four pass plays for at least 47 yards.

The Bruins will now face an Arizona team that has yet to win under first-year coach Jade Fish, yet shows signs of coming to life on September 25 against Oregon.

The Wildcats (0-4, 0-1) trailed 24-7 at the start of the second quarter, but rallied to pull within four by the end of the third quarter. Although Oregon won 41–19, extending the Wildcats’ losing streak to 16 games, there were enough signs to give the Wildcats confidence that they were getting closer to winning a game.

“Victory is coming, they always do,” Fisch said. “It’s just a matter of when they come. We have to earn the right to win and if we earn the right to win we will win.”

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Arizona’s top priority on defense will include Thompson-Robinson.

The 6-foot-1 senior is second nationally on completions per 16.03 yards and threw for 1,154 yards and 10 touchdowns with one interception. He is one of the most mobile quarterbacks in the conference, surviving plays with his feet while rushing 296 yards and three touchdowns.

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McCloud’s turn

After a season of rotating quarterback, Jordan McCloud debuted against Oregon and Fisch served as a starter for the rest of the season when he was in good health.

McCloud, a South Florida transfer, had the most experience in quarterback competition, but Gunner Cruz started the first two games and Will Plummer started the third game.

McCloud led Arizona on a late touchdown drive after replacing Plummer against Northern Arizona and was responsible for 297 yards and a touchdown against Oregon.

He also had five interceptions against the Ducks, but Fish likes his chivalry and experience, especially now that he has a better sense of the offense.

“He had the courage to keep fighting,” Fish said after the Oregon game. “He was never afraid to throw a football. I’m sure he’s very upset right now. And I hate him but things like that happen, and we move on and get better, but he’s ours in that situation.” The best player and that’s why we played him.


UCLA receiver Kyle Phillips has taken touchdown catches in four straight games — six in total — for the Bruins, the longest streak since Jordan Leslie scored four straight in 2017… Arizona became the first team in the country with two safaris when Mo Diallo sacks Anthony Brown. Oregon in the third quarter. … The Bruins have beaten their opponents in 11 games in a row, the longest streak since 1984–85 in 15 straight games. … The Wildcats have converted seven of 10 fourth-down attempts.


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