TUCSON, Ariz. – Nick Foles threw for 291 yards and connected with Juron Criner for three touchdown passes in the first half, helping Arizona overwhelm UCLA 48-12 Thursday night in its first game under interim coach Tim Kish.
With nine days off since coach Mike Stoops was fired on Oct. 10, the Wildcats looked unstoppable, getting surprising lifts from their running game and defense to end a five-game losing streak.
Arizona ran for 254 of its season-high 573 yards and Taimi Tutogi ran for a pair of TDs as the Wildcats built a 35-point halftime lead.
The Bruins couldn’t withstand the emotion of a team playing under a new coach and may have put theirs in jeopardy with a lackluster effort. On the hot seat before the season started, Rick Neuheisel may have taken big blow with a loss that puts a serious dent in UCLA’s bowl chances.
Within a half-game of Arizona State and USC in the Pac-12 South heading into the game, the Bruins came out flat against Arizona in front of a national TV audience.
One of the nation’s best rushing teams, UCLA had 37 yards on 25 carries against a team that was 100th in the nation at 196 yards per game. Kevin Prince was mostly ineffective in his return to the starting lineup, hitting 17 of 35 passes for 286 yards and a touchdown.
The Bruins also lost a pair of fumbles in the first half and the defense had no chance at stopping the Wildcats – ground or air – as the game quickly got out of hand.
Frustration boiled over in the closing seconds of the first half, when a wild brawl spread about 60 yards across the field after a streaker dressed like an official ran onto the field.
Players pushed and shoved, a few wild punches were thrown and two players were ejected: Arizona defensive back Shaquille Richardson and UCLA receiver Taylor Embree.
The streaker? He got down to his underwear before a security person made a crushing tackle – one as good as any UCLA made in the entire first half.
Keola Antolin ran for 77 yards on just eight carries, freshman Ka’Deem Carey had an 18-yard TD run and Criner finished with 10 catches for 101 yards to give Arizona its first win over an FBS opponent since beating UCLA 29-21 Oct. 30 in Pasadena.