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No. 16 Arizona labors at home in 56-30 loss to No. 9 UCLA in Pac-12 opener


TUCSON, Arizona — Arizona had another huge day on the ground, powering its way to 353 yards against a UCLA defense not known for giving up that many.

The rest of the Wildcats' Pac-12 opener was a struggle, leading to a disheartening home loss.

Nick Wilson ran for 136 yards and Jerrard Randall added 128, but No. 16 Arizona had three key turnovers and struggled to stop No. 9 UCLA's offense in a 56-30 loss Saturday night.

"You cannot beat a good team with some of the unforced errors we had today," Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said. "They are going to force some errors, which they did, and then we had some unforced errors. You combine those things, you're not going to win.

UCLA (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) turned this showdown into a laugher by halftime, building a 28-point lead behind Josh Rosen's on-the-mark passing, Paul Perkins' crafty running and its turnover-creating defense.

Rosen showed signs of his youth the past two games, but was sharp in his first Pac-12 game. The true freshman threw for 284 yards and two touchdowns on 19-of-28 passing and added a put-it-out-of-reach score on the ground.

Perkins did not put up gaudy numbers like he did last week against BYU (219 yards), but made each of his 85 yards count, scoring three touchdowns.

The defense had its problems against the run without Jack, who suffered a season-ending injury in practice this week, allowing Arizona to rush for 353 yards. The Bruins made it up for it by creating three turnovers that led directly to touchdowns.

"I'm impressed with some of the losses we've had personnel-wise with injuries and playing in what was supposedly a hostile environment and we immediately responded," UCLA coach Jim Mora said.

Arizona (3-1, 0-1) rolled through a soft nonconference schedule, only to follow it up with a desert dud.

The Wildcats had trouble stopping Rosen and the Bruins even with All-America linebacker Scooby Wright back, plagued by a slew of missed tackles.

Arizona set a school record with 499 yards rushing in a blowout over Northern Arizona last week and had some success running the ball against the Bruins. The Wildcats missed on too many opportunities, though, and dug too big of a hole with the first-half turnovers.

PHOTO: UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen (3) gets away from Arizona safety Will Parks during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen (3) gets away from Arizona safety Will Parks during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

"They came out to play and made big plays," Arizona defensive lineman Sani Fuimano said. We have a lot of things that can be corrected and need to move forward."

UCLA has won all three games against Arizona under Mora and had done it, in large part, by bogging down the Wildcats' up-tempo offense. A year ago, the Bruins held Arizona to one of its worst offensive performances under Rodriguez in a 17-7 victory over the Wildcats.

Arizona got off to a great start against UCLA's depleted defense, quick-hitting its way to a 34-yard touchdown pass from Solomon to Nate Phillips.

The Wildcats couldn't get out of their own way after that.

Arizona's second series ended quickly when a snap sailed over Solomon's hand and the Bruins recovered. Perkins scored on a 16-yard run the next play.

The Wildcats lost another fumble when Wilson accidently bumped Solomon with his elbow as he was preparing to throw. UCLA recovered that one, too, and Rosen found Jordan Payton for a 5-yard touchdown pass that put UCLA up 28-7 early in the second quarter.

The Wildcats showed a glimpse of life midway through the second quarter after Solomon went out with an apparent head injury and Randall burst off a 39-yard touchdown run. Randall followed that by throwing an interception and Perkins scored on a 1-yard run on the ensuing drive to put UCLA up 41-14.

UCLA complemented its opportunistic defense with an efficient offense that ran right through the Wildcats and Wright, who was back after missing two games with a knee injury.

Rosen showed his poise last week against BYU, overcoming three first-half interceptions to lead UCLA to a 24-23 win. He was crisp against the Wildcats, picking them apart for 212 yards and two touchdowns on 13-of-17 passing by halftime.

"You can't let a good thrower get comfortable because he'll make plays and they did," Rodriguez said.

When Rosen wasn't pinpointing passes, UCLA's running backs were busting tackles, sometimes three and four at a time.

Arizona gained a little momentum to open the second half after Randall scrambled and found David Richards for a 16-yard touchdown. The Wildcats reached UCLA's 3 on the next drive, but went backward and settled for Casey Skowron's 44-field goal.

The Bruins gained it right back, moving quickly to set up Rosen's 8-yard touchdown run that made it 49-23.

AP College Football website: http://www.collegefootball.ap.org

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