Sept. 20, 2008
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- Willie Tuitama threw for 222 yards and connected with tight end Rob Gronkowski for a pair of touchdowns Saturday to lead Arizona to a 31-10 victory over UCLA in the Pac-10 opener for both teams.
The Wildcats (3-1) bounced back from a 36-28 upset by New Mexico.
The Bruins (1-2), in their first season under coach Rick Neuheisel, were coming off a 59-0 defeat at BYU that was their worst loss in 79 years.
Arizona broke the game open with two fourth-quarter touchdowns. Tuitama's second scoring pass to Gronkowski gave them a 24-10 pad with early in the period, then Xavier Smith added an 8-yard touchdown run with 6:48 remaining.
The Bruins' defense provided their lone touchdown on a 1-yard fumble return by Korey Bosworth in the first quarter.
The Wildcats' defense, meanwhile, held the Bruins to 196 total yards. Arizona's offense had 333.
Bruins quarterback Kevin Craft, the third-stringer pressed into duty by injuries, went 15-of-31 for just 81 yards in what was his third UCLA start.
Tuitama, who completed 16-of-29 with no interceptions, has long been a Bruins' nemesis.
The senior quarterback has keyed three victories over UCLA, with the Bruins' only win over the Wildcats during his career coming when they knocked him out of the 2006 game with concussion-like symptoms in their 27-7 victory.
The previous year, Tuitama was a freshman making just his second start when he threw for 204 yards and two scores as Arizona shocked the 8-0 and seventh-ranked Bruins 52-14. Last season, he passed for 341 yards and three TDs in the Wildcats' 34-27 win.
This time, Kai Forbath's 35-yard field goal pulled UCLA within 17-10 on the final play of the first half. The Bruins opted to kick on fourth-and-1 after the Wildcats went for it on fourth-and-1 at the UCLA 17 earlier in the quarter and Wildcats running back Nic Grigsby was piled up for no gain.
Grigsby had put Arizona up 17-7 when he scored on a 3-yard run with 9:46 remaining in the second quarter, a touchdown set up by Tuitama's 52-yard pass to Mike Thomas down to the UCLA 5.
Tuitama connected with Gronkowski in the right flat near the goal line and he ran it in for a 22-yard scoring play early in the second period.
The Bruins' defense gave them a short-lived lead in first quarter when Bosworth picked up Grigsby's fumble near the Arizona goal line and dived into the end zone.