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...
TUCSON, Ariz. — 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, loser of 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 [shellackings] that you’re going to have to take and get yourselves ready to play again next week.”
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.
UCLA’s Maurice Drew gained 41 yards on 12 carries. Drew Olson completed 23 of 38 passes for 232 yards, including two touchdowns to Marcedes Lewis.
Arizona (3-6, 2-4) scored touchdowns on its first four possessions, led 31-7 at the half, then scored two touchdowns in a 53-second span early in the second half to go up 45-7.
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 put Arizona ahead 21-0 with 1:41 left in the first quarter.