TUCSON, AZ – Despite a competitive start by Arizona Football (0-5, 0-2), the Wildcats fell 34-16 to the UCLA Bruins (4-2, 2-1) on Family Weekend.
Arizona Football gained 362 yards of total offense and even forced two turnovers, but it, unfortunately, wasn’t enough for the Wildcats who came up short in their 34-16 loss to UCLA on Family Weekend.
“I thought the guys competed hard, I mean I don’t think there’s any question about that,” Fisch said. “I thought it was a really good football game.”
And from the start, Arizona looked competitive. Backed by 40,000+ strong in attendance for the Wildcats’ “White Out”, however, it was enough as no amount of gimmicks or preparation seemed to help the Wildcats in this one.
Turning to quarterback Jordan McCloud again after his five-interception performance at Oregon, the former USF transfer would get the start in this one, looking to score the upset.
On his first drive, he and the Wildcats would get deep into UCLA territory, marching the Wildcats down the field to make it 3-0 after Tyler Loop converted on a 28-yard field goal attempt just minutes into the game.
However, for every positive play by the Wildcats had on Saturday, the Bruins would seemingly have an answer.
Responding with a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive of their own, UCLA would make it 7-3 after converting on fourth and goal pass from Dorian Thompson-Robinson to Greg Dulcich.
Arizona would exchange scores on the ensuing possession, as they drove down again, ultimately settling for yet another field goal to make it 7-6.
A few series later, UCLA would be leading 14-6, when an interception by the Wildcats set up a bit of trickeration as the Wildcats found the end zone on a double pass, that led to Jamarye Joiner finding the end zone to Michael Wiley that made it 14-13 just before halftime.
However, self-inflicted mistakes and penalties by the Wildcats was the story in this one. Despite trailing by just one point at the half, Arizona would have plenty of opportunities to regain the lead in the second half, or even take control of this game, but the Wildcats finished the evening with 12 penalties for 81 yards.
The Bruins would outscore the Wildcats in the second half 20-3, and the tide seemed to turn for the worst when McCloud went down with an apparent leg injury after taking a nasty hit.
However, at this time, not much is known about the injury, although McCloud was later seen on the sidelines on crutches.
“Until we get the MRI and the X-Ray… I don’t think it’s a real short-term injury,” Fisch said. “I would say emotionally it hurts.”
Gunner Cruz came in as a back-up, but the former Washington State transfer struggled, finishing the day with 4/7 passing with 47 yards, seldomly moving the offense for the Wildcats in his limited play.
Arizona would of course go on to lose 34-16, and with the loss, the Wildcats still hold the nation’s longest losing streak at 17 games that dates back to the 2019 season.
“We got to keep fighting, bounce back, and keep our heads up,” sophomore wide receiver Boobie Curry said.
Arizona will return to action next week against Colorado in Boulder. Cruz will presumably be the starter if McCloud is unable to go.
As for UCLA, the Bruins improve to 4-2 (2-1) and face off with the Washington Huskies.