Quarterback Richard Brehaut has started games for UCLA before — two to be exact. This, though, is different.
With Kevin Prince out for the season following knee surgery, Brehaut has the opportunity to define his college career in the next five games.
"I know I don't have to compete with anyone else but myself," Brehaut said. "But with that comes responsibility."
Brehaut was in a no-win situation at No. 1-ranked Oregon last week. The Ducks scored early and often and the Bruins' offense was unable to keep up, or even get started. Brehaut completed 16 of 23 passes for 159 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.
But Brehaut knew he would get another chance after Prince's surgery revealed more damage than expected.
"Since I have been here, it's been about competing with someone for reps," Brehaut said. "Now I'm at the point where I'm the guy, week in, week out. Kevin is not here right now. The only one holding me back from getting better is myself."
Brehaut's marching orders are simple against 15th-ranked Arizona, which is 10th in the nation in total defense.
"We just need him to make the right checks," offensive coordinator Norm Chow said. "There were about a half-dozen checks he missed at Oregon. He has to make sure of his reads. That comes with experience."
Brehaut managed the offense well enough in a 42-28 victory over Washington State as the Bruins piled up 437 yards against the woeful Cougars.
The challenges Oregon presented were close to overwhelming. Brehaut was sacked three times, two resulting in fumbles.
"There were times when I probably could have gotten rid of the ball sooner," Brehaut said. "We had some protection issues and a couple times backs didn't pick up a guy. But a lot of that falls on me."
Arizona quarterback Nick Foles, who suffered a dislocated kneecap two weeks ago, is healthy enough to play, but Matt Scott is expected to start. Arizona starting defensive tackle Justin Washington is listed as questionable because of a knee injury.
UCLA wide receiver Nelson Rosario (high ankle sprain), cornerback Sheldon Price (sprained knee) and free safety Dalton Hilliard (concussion) are not expected to play. Tackle Sean Sheller and wide receiver Ricky Marvray were suspended for the game.
By the numbers
UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel had a 4-0 record against Arizona while at Washington. He is 0-2 since coming to Westwood. … The Bruins are 3-7 against ranked teams under Neuheisel. … Arizona has a 4-12 record on California soil since 2001.