Arizona lost a heartbreaker to UCLA on Saturday night. Read on to take a closer look at why the Wildcats lost, how Ka'Deem Carey played, and more.
fell in a heartbreaker to UCLA
on Saturday night. The Wildcats dropped a close one 31-26 and now sit at 6-3 on the season. Here is a closer look at what happened:
Ka'Deem Carey rushed his way to a 12th consecutive game with 100-plus yards on the ground. The junior running back carried the ball 28 times for 149 yards, eight yards below his season average.
Carey finished with one rushing touchdown, but could have had two if not for a costly fumble in the third quarter. After marching down the field, Carey took the ball at the five-yard line and dove towards the goal line. He was hit in midair, performed a flip, and the ball popped loose with UCLA recovering in the end zone.
"I knew he would run hungry, he always does," Arizona Head Coach Rich Rodriguez said. "He wanted another opportunity and he got one and he did a nice job. (Fumbles) are fundamental things you can't do. The fumble was just one thing, but there was a lot more than that."
B.J. Denker was hard on himself after the game, but played well despite throwing his only interception on the final offensive play of the game. The senior completed 20 of 33 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns.
Denker also carried the ball 16 times for a total of 82 yards, though he did not score. The total put the lefty at 645 yards for the season, making it the most rushing yards by a quarterback in Arizona history. Ron Veal, who rushed for 566 yards in 1987, held the previous record.
Penalties were a back breaker for the Wildcats on Saturday. Arizona had five penalties for 44 yards, but none may have been bigger than a holding call on Mickey Baucus on second and one with just over five minutes to go in the game. Carey had broken a nifty fifteen-yard run, but the flag negated it.
"We played hard, we didn't play well," Rodriguez said. "When we watch the film, we're not going to be happy. Who knows how many times we are going to say, ‘that one play would've made the difference.' The effort was good, I think our guys were into the game, but just effort isn't good enough. There has to be execution."
Nate Phillips was one bright spot for the Wildcats on offense, as the true freshman had multiple career highs on the night. He caught a career high eight passes for 97 yards and caught two touchdowns. Previously, his highs were four catches, 71 yards, and one touchdown.
Arizona's defense had ups and downs during the game. It allowed 476 yards of total offense to UCLA, but came up with some impressive stops when the team desperately needed it. There were occasional breakdowns and UCLA took advantage of as many as possible. The Bruins scored on a 66-yard touchdown pass from Brett Hundley to Shaq Evans on the first play of the game. Arizona also allowed a 66-yard touchdown rush to Myles Jack on a third-and-one play late in the game as well.
"They were all big," Rodriguez said. "It's ridiculous that you can't tackle a quarterback or give up a 66-yard run. You have to tackle better, get off blocks better and block better."
Speaking of Myles Jack, the true freshman started the game at the linebacker position, but later made the switch to offense as well, playing on both sides of the ball. Playing in his normal position, Jack recorded eight tackles, including a tackle-for-loss, and had two pass break-ups.
On the offensive side of the ball, Jack provided a spark for the Bruins. He carried the ball just six times, but covered 120 yards on those touches. He did score on the 66-yard touchdown and made a big play each time he got the ball.
"The guy is a great athlete, a great player," Rodriguez said. "He'll be a first-round pick as a linebacker. We tried to recruit him as a running back like most of the other teams in the country. He's really good. We didn't tackle him."
Brett Hundley returned to his home state and had a pretty good game. The sophomore finished with 227 yards passing while completing 18 of his 25 passes. Hundley also got into the running game, carrying the ball 14 times for a total of 56 yards.
"He's a great player," bandit Jared Tevis said. "We tried to spy him and keep a man on him, but the second he tucks the ball, we just had to rally and go get him. We got there a little late and that allowed him to scramble."