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UCLA has to use a 3-4 defense

That's its record after fourth loss in a row. Offense can't take advantage of five Arizona turnovers.

October 25, 2009|Chris Foster

TUCSON — Things have reached the point with UCLA's football team that opponents are trying to make the Bruins feel better.

"UCLA, I give them props, their offense was good," Arizona defensive back Devon Ross said after the Wildcats' 27-13 victory Saturday. "They made plays when they needed."

If UCLA players were looking for a "don't worry little Bruins, things will get better," comment, that was it.

Props? UCLA's offense managed two field goals.

Good? UCLA used three quarterbacks, none who seem capable of finding the end zone with a global positioning system.

Made plays? UCLA was two for 15 on third downs.

Ross, though, was in a position to be gracious, as the Wildcats walked off the Arizona Stadium field still a part of the Pacific 10 Conference race at 5-2 overall and 3-1 in conference play.

The Bruins, who are 3-4, 0-4 after four consecutive losses, have the same record they had through seven games last season, when they finished 4-8.

"We are definitely a better team [than last season]," linebacker Reggie Carter said. "We have better players. We're a tighter team. We are having some of the same problems as we had last season."

Last week, reliving 2008 meant a 45-26 loss to California when the defense broke down. This week's flashback was an offense that none of the Bruins' quarterbacks -- Kevin Prince, Kevin Craft and Richard Brehaut -- could maneuver into the end zone.

UCLA's only touchdown came on a 28-yard fumble return by safety Tony Dye that cut the Arizona lead to 20-13 with 5:20 left in the third quarter. Even then, the Wildcats' lead seemed secure.

The Bruins finished with 211 yards of offense and failed to score a touchdown even though the defense came up with five turnovers.

"We are not throwing and catching the ball well enough to compete in the Pac-10," Coach Rick Neuheisel said.

His explanation? "I can't explain why," he said, adding that he needed to watch videotape of the game.

This is what Neuheisel and offensive coordinator Norm Chow will see:

Prince completed seven of 15 passes for 60 yards. Craft was six for 17 for 75 yards. And Brehaut, who was given a small chance at the end of the game, completed two of three for 11 yards.

The problems seemed easy to find, from bad passes to dropped passes to four sacks by the Wildcats. The Bruins had only 65 yards rushing -- averaging 2.8 yards a carry -- and lost two fumbles.

"From top to bottom with have to evaluate," Neuheisel said. "We have to ask ourselves why we're struggling."

Some players already had answers.

"We can't have receivers dropping balls and we can't have quarterbacks overthrowing anybody," wide receiver Terence Austin said. "Athletically, we are a better team than last year. We have scat backs, power backs and good receivers. We have a pretty good offensive line."

Asked why that didn't produce more, Austin said, "Good question."

Said Chow: "We weren't very good. We had people open, we made adjustments. We just couldn't get it done."

The frustration is such that freshman wide receiver Randall Carroll wrote in a Twitter posting that Chow didn't trust the players. Carroll said he meant no disrespect.

But, he said, "I was frustrated with the losing. I didn't expect to come here and lose that much. Thought we were going come in here and turn it around quickly. But it is going to take some time. I just felt like he didn't trust us because we're so young. We run some stuff in practice and wouldn't run them in games."

The only issue the Wildcats' offense had was holding on to the ball. But those sins were easily forgivable.

Quarterback Nick Foles had three passes intercepted but also threw for 247 yards, including touchdown passes of 41 yards and 25 yards to Juron Criner.

The Wildcats fumbled twice, but their running game rolled up 209 yards, 99 by wide receivers on sweeps.

UCLA linebacker Carter said, "five turnovers, that's pretty [darn] good."

He added, "Arizona just played better. Our offense gave them the ball, and we let them score. We got the offense the ball, they didn't get us scores. I will never put it on the back of the offense.

"If we don't let [Arizona] score, then we win."


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