Game Week: Arizona Facts and Factors

OCT. 28 -- It's a big game in the Pac-12 South, and a ranked UCLA has never lost to a ranked Arizona...

• The Arizona Wildcats come to the Rose Bowl Saturday, with the game slated to kick off at 7:30 and be televised by ESPN.

• Arizona is 6-1, and is a half-game out of first place in the Pac-12 South with a conference record of 3-1. They are ranked 14th/15th.

• Arizona beat Cal on a walk-off Hail Mary, 49-45, and then it’s claim to fame this season was its big, upset win at then-#2-ranked Oregon Oct. 2nd (31-24). It then lost to USC a week later, at home, 28-26. The Wildcats had a bye the next week and beat Washington State in Pullman last week, 59-37. Its non-conference schedule included UNLV, UTSA and Nevada.

• Arizona start to the season is one of the best in its history, only being the eighth time its started off 6-1.

UCLA is 6-2, 3-2 in the Pac-12 South and ranked #25.

• UCLA leads the all-time series, 21-15-2, dating back to 1927. UCLA has won two straight, 31-26 last year in Tucson, and then the 66-10 shellacking at the Rose Bowl in 2012. Before those two recent wins, UCLA lost five straight to Arizona.

• UCLA is 12-3-2 against Arizona in Los Angeles.

• The last time a ranked UCLA team played a ranked Arizona team was in 1998, with #3-ranked UCLA beating #10-ranked Arizona in Tucson, 52-28.

• It’s only the third time in the series that both teams have been ranked when they faced each other, the other two being UCLA wins (1998, 1993).

•Only four times in the series has UCLA played a higher-ranked Arizona team. The last time was in 2000, when unranked UCLA knocked off #24-ranked Arizona in Tucson, 27-24. Overall, in those games, the record stands at 2-2.

•A ranked UCLA team has never lost to Arizona in Los Angeles (8-0).

• If UCLA were to win, it would be its first home win against a top-15 opponent since 2007 (16-0 v. #9 Oregon).

• UCLA is 6-6 against ranked teams under Jim Mora.

• Arizona is coached by Rich Rodriguez, who is in his third year in Tucson. Rodriguez (51) is 22-11 with Arizona, going 8-5 and 4-5 in conference in both of his first two seasons. He, of course, was at Michigan for a disastrous three seasons before that (also sitting out a season in between), where he went 15-22 and never finished higher than 7th in the Big Ten. Previously he had established himself as one of the best offensive minds in college football when he made West Virginia a national power in 7 seasons (2001-2007). At Michigan, however, Rodriguez’s spread option never really won over the Wolverines, and his sometimes prickly personality didn’t either, never being considered a “Michigan man.” Many players left the program and criticized Rodriguez, and some anonymously claimed Rodriguez’s staff had violated NCAA rules. The NCAA investigated and found Michigan had committed violations, and it was actually the first time in Michigan’s history it had been found to commit major violations. Regardless of the Michigan experience, Rodriquez has re-vitalized an Arizona program, and he’s considered an innovator in the no-huddle, run-oriented version of the spread, while many give Rodriguez credit for inventing the read option.

• A few UCLA players are set to make history. Brett Hundley is one touchdown pass away from tying the all-time school record of 68, set by Cade McNown (1995-98). Linebacker Eric Kendricks is seven tackles away from a third-straight 100-tackle season; only two other Bruins have ever accomplished that, and they are two of the biggest names in UCLA football history: Don Rogers (1981-83) and Jerry Robinson (1976-78). Running back Paul Perkins is just four yards shy of 1,000 for the season, and he’d be the 13th Bruin to accomplish that.

• It’s a critical game in the Pac-12 South standings. It’s almost certain that, for UCLA, it’s win or die – that it can’t lose a third game in conference and contend for the Pac-12 South title. For Arizona, the game is one of two remaining Pac-12 road games (also playing at Utah Nov. 22nd), while it has three more conference games at home (Colorado, Washington and ASU).

• Brett Hundley’s father, Brett Hundley, Sr., lettered at Arizona in 1986 as a running back.

• UCLA’s offense is 30 for 30 in the redzone this season (21 touchdowns), which ties it for the best redzone conversion percentage in the country.

•Under Mora, UCLA is 20-3 when scoring first, 10-0 when doing so at home, and 22-0 when ahead at halftime.

• Under Rodriguez, Arizona is 4-7 against ranked opponents, and is 1-5 in away games.

• Saturday could see a great deal of flags flying – of the yellow variety. This season, Arizona ranks #92 in most penalties per game (7), and #97 for yardage (64.3). UCLA is 107th in the country for penalties (7.9 per game) and 116th for yardage (74.4).

• The betting line has moved; it opened with UCLA being favored by 3.5 and is currently 6.5 points.

• It’s homecoming for UCLA.

• UCLA will unveil its much-hyped L.A. Steel uniforms, which are a gunmental gray. The last time UCLA unveiled a new, black uniform was two years ago, at home, against Arizona, which resulted in the 66-10 blowout.

• The weather forecast calls for a high of 69 degrees during the day, so the game-time weather should be in the 50s. There was originally some thought there could be day-time sprinkles, but the forecast is now for just partly cloudy skies.

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