?? ??????????????? TUCSON--Arizona ran up 345 yards offense in the first half and built a 27-14 lead, mostly on Willie Tuitama passes, then turned back a valiant UCLA rally on Saturday in a Homecoming exhibition of big Wildcat plays and a confident defensive showing.
Tuitama logged 341 yards passing and was the teamˇ?s second leading rusher with 24 yards.
Arizona (4-6 overall, 3-4 Pac-10) towered over UCLA (5-4 overall, 4-2 in Pac 10) in total offense, 469 yards to 288 and led with 21 first downs to the Bruins 14.
Later Arizona Head Coach Mike Stoops was proud and jubilant. ˇ?You can see our team getting more confident each week,ˇ± he said.
The Wildcats opened the scoring with a 39-yard field goal with 12:21 minutes to go by Jason Bondzio, capping a 66 yard drive fueled mainly by Tuitama passes to Mike Thomas and Nic Grigsby.
UCLA answered with a kickoff return of 100 yards by Matt Slater, who sprinted almost untouched down the middle of the field. The score was Arizona 3-UCLA 7. ?
???? ?????????? Arizonaˇ?s next drive was sparked by a Nic Grigsby scamper for 60 yards, his longest run of the year, and within five minutes, the score was Arizona 10, UCLA 7. Grigsby was off to a hot start with 74 yards on four runs in the first two drives.
A surging Arizona defense left UCLA with few easy second-half options. But a fresh quarterback, Osaar Rasshan, gave UCLA sudden new life, flipping passes to Dominique Johnson and others, and displaying running skills that kept drives alive.
??? ??Arizona defense at times stifled the Bruins under their starting quarterback Patrick Cowan, including a string of five three-and-out possessions in the second quarter. Cowan, left the game toward the beginning of the third quarter and was being examined for a possible concussion.? But substitute Rasshan proved tough for the Wildcats to contain as he mixed up passes and his own deft runs. But in the closing stretch he threw four straight incomplete passes, and Arizonaˇ?s defense sealed the victory.
?? ?UCLA seemed to have a chance to tie with about three minutes to go. ?A Rasshad run and pass attempt fell short. On third down, the gameˇ?s outcome hung on a pass that fell incomplete. Arizona ran out the clock.
???? Earlier, though, his ability help UCLA shift into a higher gear, leading the Bruins on three scoring drives of a comb ined 30 plays and 164 yards to close the scoring with two field goals and a touchdown.
??? In a high-flying first half, Arizona took the ball on its 38 yard line and took only 1 minute and 12 seconds to score. Tuitama found? Delashaun Dean for another spectacular play, a diving catch to the UCLA 18 yard line, putting Tuitama in second place at UA with 3,000 yards passing in a single season.? Grigsby ran for a short gain, Tuitama ran for 10 yards to the 8 yard line. With 6:18 to go in the second quarter, Tuitama passed for a touchdown to a diving Terrell Turner, giving Arizona the lead 27-14.??
????? Arizonaˇ?s defense grew tougher as the first half unfolded and its momentum continued after halftime, forcing UCLA to sputter on its first drive.
?? Arizona responded with a set of huge plays, pushing 72 yards from its own 28 yard line to score. Nic Grigsby ran to the 33, and followed by driving to the 48 for a first down. Then Grigsby sped to his right for 18 yards at the 34 yard line.? Terrell Turner took a pass seven yards to the 27.? With an immense hole in the backfield, Rob Gronkowski looked directly into the sun, grabbed a floating pass with no one nearby. The score was Arizona 34, UCLA 14.