6:20 PM ET, November 5, 2005
Arizona Stadium, TUCSON, AZ
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- The house of cards that UCLA has lived in the past month came crashing down on Saturday night.
Willie Tuitama, an 18-year-old freshman in his second college start, threw for two early touchdowns and Arizona rolled for 519 yards in a 52-14 rout of the previously unbeaten and seventh-ranked Bruins.
"It was wild out there," Tuitama said, "really crazy."
Arizona, which lost 19 of its last 21 Pac-10 home games, rushed for 320 yards. Mike Bell had 153 yards in 16 attempts, including an 8-yard touchdown run. Gilbert Harris added a career-best 116 yards in 16 attempts, one of them a 17-yarder for a score.
"It was one of those things you dream of," said Bell, a senior who has experienced so many bad Saturdays of losing football. "It was just a blessing for it to finally happen here."
Freshman Mike Thomas caught five passes for 104 yards. He had a 48-yard touchdown catch and a 17-yard touchdown run, both in the first quarter to help give second-year coach Mike Stoops by far his biggest victory.
It was the highest-ranked team to lose to Arizona since the Wildcats beat No. 1 Washington 16-3 in Tucson on Nov. 7, 1992.
"Obviously we did not play to our capabilities as an offense, defense, special teams -- and we got outcoached as well," UCLA coach Karl Dorrell said. "It was one of those humble butt-kickings that you're going to have to take and get yourselves ready to play again next week."
Hundreds of fans, mostly students, stormed the field at the finish. Some climbed the goal posts in jubilation but couldn't bring them down.
The Bruins (8-1, 5-1 Pac-10) had come from behind in the fourth quarter to win in three of their previous four games, including erasing a 21-point deficit last week against Stanford. That wasn't going to happen this time, not with the Wildcats up 52-7 after three quarters.
"This team, we think we have a lot of character, we think we have a lot of heart," UCLA quarterback Drew Olson said. "It's going to have to come out, and we'll see what we're really made of this next week."
UCLA's Maurice Drew gained 41 yards in 12 carries. Olson completed 23-of-38 for 232 yards, including two touchdowns to Marcedes Lewis to tie the school record for scoring passes in a season with 25. The record-tying toss came against the Wildcats' second-string defense with 6:07 remaining. Lewis caught 11 passes for 131 yards, the most receptions by a Bruin in 13 years. But that was about the extent of a UCLA offense that entered the game averaging just under 43 points per game.
"It's not an upset," Wildcats safety Darrell Brooks said. "We knew we were going to do this all along. You can ask anyone in this locker room."
Arizona (3-6, 2-4) scored touchdowns on its first four possessions, led 31-7 at the half and then scored two touchdowns in a 53-second span early in the second half to go up 45-7.
"They just kept the pedal to the metal," UCLA safety Jarrad Page said. "They were sure of everything they were doing and kept doing everything fast, and we just weren't fast enough."
Marcus Hollingsworth broke up Olson's lateral pass and, after prompting from teammates, jumped on the ball in the end zone to give Arizona a 52-7 lead with 4:09 to play in the third.
"I'm just frustrated, that's the biggest thing -- to go out there and put on a performance like that," Olson said. "It caught up with us and just started to snowball from there. Everything that went wrong, went wrong our way."
Tuitama was supposed to sit this season as a redshirt, but Stoops decided to activate him. The team is 2-0 in Tuitama's two starts since then.
"Willie, again, was spectacular," Stoops said.
He completed his first seven passes Saturday, two of them for touchdowns. His 48-yarder over the middle to Thomas, after checking off the play at the line of scrimmage, put Arizona ahead 21-0 with 1:41 left in the first quarter.
The tone was set on the Wildcats' first play, when Tuitama threw to a wide-open Bell for a 51-yard gain that would have been more had Bell not slipped while trying to make a move at the UCLA 30. Thomas went 17 yards on an end around, diving into the end zone at the right sidelines, for the Wildcats' first TD with 9:11 left in the first quarter.
The lead reached 28-0 on a 10-play, 90-yard Arizona drive. Bell and Harris did most of the damage, capped by Harris' 18-yard touchdown run.
The Bruins finally got moving with a no-huddle offense. Olson was stopped on a fourth-and-inches at the Arizona 6 to stop their first threat. But they came back on their next possession, Olson throwing 10 yards to Lewis to cut it to 28-7 2½ minutes before halftime.
Nick Folk's 36-yard field goal with three seconds left in the half put Arizona up 31-7.
The Wildcats took the second-half kickoff and went 80 yards in eight plays, Bell going the final 8 for the score, flipping headfirst into the end zone, boosting the lead to 38-7. Fifty-three seconds later, Syndric Steptoe's 63-yard punt return for a touchdown gave Arizona a 45-7 lead.
Arizona had not returned a punt for a score in five years.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Arizona scored touchdowns on its first four possessions for a 31-7 lead at the half, and the Bruins didn't have a chance for another comeback.
Gameball goes to... Arizona runners. Mike Bell had 153 yards on 16 carries and a TD, while Gilbert Harris added a career-high 116 yards on 16 attempts and a TD.
Stat of the game... 320: The number of yards gained by the Arizona rushing attack.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||8-19||6-11|
|4th Down Conversions||0-3||0-1|
|TD||9:11||MICHAEL THOMAS 17 YD RUN (NICHOLAS FOLK KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 81 yards.
|TD||3:10||BRAD WOOD 7 YD PASS FROM WILLIE TUITAMA (NICHOLAS FOLK KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 52 yards.
|TD||1:41||MICHAEL THOMAS 48 YD PASS FROM WILLIE TUITAMA (NICHOLAS FOLK KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 62 yards.
|TD||10:08||GILBERT HARRIS 18 YD RUN (NICHOLAS FOLK KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 90 yards.
|TD||2:30||MARCEDES LEWIS 10 YD PASS FROM DREW OLSON (JUSTIN MEDLOCK KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 61 yards.
|FG||0:03||NICHOLAS FOLK 36 YD FG|
Drive info: 7 plays, 61 yards.
|TD||12:05||MIKE BELL 8 YD RUN (NICHOLAS FOLK KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||11:12||SYNDRIC STEPTOE 63 YD PUNT RETURN (NICHOLAS FOLK KICK)||7||45|
|TD||4:09||MARCUS HOLLINGSWORTH 0 YD DEFENSIVE FUMBLE RETURN (NICHOLAS FOLK KICK)||7||52|
|TD||6:07||MARCEDES LEWIS 16 YD PASS FROM DREW OLSON (JUSTIN MEDLOCK KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 91 yards.