Wildcats to hit road to face Bruins at Rose Bowl

Wildcats to hit road to face Bruins at Rose Bowl
The Arizona Wildcats will hit the road for the second consecutive week to face the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl Saturday, Nov. 28. (Source: KOLD News 13)

TUCSON, Ariz. — The Arizona Wildcats (0-2) will hit the road for the second consecutive week to face the UCLA Bruins (1-2) at the Rose Bowl Saturday, Nov. 28.

The game is slated to kick off at 6 p.m. (Arizona time) with a television broadcast on Fox.

The Wildcats, looking for their first win of the shortened 2020 season, finished with a red hot fourth quarter against Washington last weekend. Arizona posted 27 points in the final 15 minutes in Seattle, the most points the Wildcats had scored in a single quarter since dropping 30 in the second quarter in last year’s home opener against Northern Arizona.The Bruins nearly defeated the No. 11 ranked Oregon Ducks last weekend, narrowly falling by a final score of 38-35 to drop to 1-2 on the year. A complete game preview is below.

ARIZONA NOTES & NUMBERS

  • Arizona heads to UCLA, following Saturday’s 44-27 loss at Washington, for a second consecutive road game. The Wildcats hold an all-time mark of 17-25-2 versus the Bruins and have not won at the Rose Bowl since a 29-21 decision in 2010. After winning six of seven meetings from 2005 to 2011, Arizona has lost six of their last eight against the Bruins.
  • The Cats won last year’s meeting, 20-17, in Tucson in Grant Gunnell’s first career start. The quarterback earned Pac-12 Freshman of the Week for his performance after completing 29-of-44 passes for 352 yards and a touchdown. His 352 passing yards marked the second most by a Wildcat in a conference opener since 2000.
  • Freshman WR Ma’jon Wright’s 11-yard touchdown grab in the fourth quarter of the Washington game was the first of his career. He became the first Wildcat freshman to catch a touchdown pass in his first or second career appearance since Jamardre Harris-Cobb caught a touchdown pass as a redshirt freshman in his second career game versus Nevada on Sept. 12, 2015.
  • Entering Saturday, Arizona was one of four teams a top the Pac-12 in red zone offense with a perfect scoring percentage of 100. The Wildcat offense has scored on all five possessions inside the opponent’s 20-yard line with three touchdowns and a pair of field goals.
  • Running back Gary Brightwell’s 83.5 rushing yard average after two games ranks seventh in the Pac-12. Brightwell, who eclipsed 1,000 career yards versus USC, is averaging 5.2 yards per carry and ranks fifth among all conference backs with at least 25 carries this season.

SOME GAME THEMES

  • Sophomore quarterback Grant Gunnell has thrown for three touchdowns and 250+ yards in each of the Wildcats first two games this season. On the year he is completing passes at a 68.0% clip, the second-best mark in the Pac-12 Conference behind only USC’s Kedon Slovis (70.7%).
  • Gunnell has attempted 73 consecutive passes without throwing an interception, 20 attempts shy of his career-best mark of 93.
  • Despite this being only the third year in Tucson for head coach Kevin Sumlin, this will be the seventh time in his career facing a UCLA squad he has an all-time record of 3-3 against. Sumlin also faced the Bruins twice while at Texas A&M (1-1) and twice while at Houston (1-1). Sumlin’s 2016 Aggies topped the No. 16 ranked Bruins, 31-24, in College Station to open their season.
  • Wildcat kicker Lucas Havrisik has shown his powerful leg on kickoffs. He has neutralized opposing return units this season as only one of his 12 kickoffs has been returned.
  • Arizona is set for a FOX broadcast for a third consecutive week to open the season. The Cats have not appeared in three FOX games in a single season since appearing on the network three times in four games to close the 2014 season.
  • The Wildcats hold a nine-game losing streak entering Saturday at UCLA, which is the program’s longest winless streak since the 1956 and 1957 seasons. Arizona ended 1956 with a pair of losses, tied BYU in the 1957 opener, and then lost seven straight games. The 2016 Wildcats lost their first eight Pac-12 games of the season before winning the Territorial Cup.

VERSUS UCLA

  • Though the Wildcats trail the Bruins in the all-time series, 17-25-2, they have come away victorious in two of the last three contests. Arizona has historically fared much worse in the series when the game is in Pasadena/Los Angeles, posting a 4-15-2 record on the road and a 13-10 record at home in Tucson.
  • Arizona’s defense held UCLA’s offense to just 17 points in the 2019 match-up, which was the fourth time in the Kevin Sumlin era that the Wildcats held a conference opponent to 17 or fewer points. Arizona had held a conference opponent to 17 or fewer points a total of four times from 2013 to 2017.
  • Sophomore quarterback Grant Gunnell made his first career start against UCLA in 2019; he finished the game going 29-of-44 passing with 352 yards and one touchdown with zero interceptions in the win.
  • Senior running back Gary Brightwell was the only Wildcat with a rushing touchdown the last time Arizona and UCLA met in 2019. Brightwell picked up 33 yards on seven carries in the win over the Bruins.
  • On their last trip to Pasadena, the Wildcats dropped a 31-30 thriller in 2018. Quarterback Rhett Rodriguez made the start in place of Khalil Tate and threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Gary Brightwell ran for 121 yards on 15 carries in the loss, marking the second of his four career 100-yard games.
  • Arizona defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads joined the Wildcats this season after spending two seasons as head coach Chip Kelly’s defensive backs coach at UCLA.
  • The state of California has not been a kind host to the Wildcats, with one win in its last 10 games played in the neighboring state with its lone victory coming in a double overtime thriller at Cal in 2017. All but one of those 10 games have been conference match-ups with the exception being Arizona’s loss to Purdue in the 2017 Foster Farms Bowl in Santa Clara.

CHARTING THE CATS

  • Redshirt senior defensive back Lorenzo Burns has notched nine career interceptions in four seasons, putting him just three picks shy of breaking into the Wildcats all-time top 10 leaderboard.
  • Burns is also on the verge of cracking into Arizona’s career top 10 in pass breakups. Through four years he has picked up 25 PBU, just three shy of tying Trevin Wade (2008-11) and Randy Robbins (1980-83) for 10th all-time.