PASADENA, Calif. – Jayden de Laura accounted for three touchdowns and had his fifth 300-yard passing game of the season as Arizona upset ninth-ranked UCLA 34-28 Saturday night, snapping an eight-game road losing streak against ranked teams.
“That was a big win for the program. It meant a lot,” coach Jedd Fisch said after Arizona's first road win over a Top 10 team since it defeated No. 2 Oregon in 2014. "That was a fun game. It was pretty good to hold that team to 28 points. That is one of the top five offenses in college football.”
Zach Charbonnet rushed for 181 yards and three touchdowns for the Bruins (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12), whose chances of making the Pac-12 title game took a big hit.
“We ran into a good quarterback. He extended plays like no one we played this year and even since we’ve been here (in 2018). The plays he made running around were the difference in the game,” said UCLA coach Chip Kelly of de Laura's play.
de Laura completed 22 of 28 for 315 yards and two TDs. He also ran in from 3-yards out during the second quarter to give the Wildcats (4-6, 2-5) a 21-14 halftime lead.
The sophomore is averaging 340.1 passing yards with 18 touchdowns and a 64.7% completion rate in his last seven games.
“We’ve had close games throughout the year but we didn’t finish them. Knowing we were able to close this out is important for the last two games,” de Laura said.
Michael Wiley ran for 97 yards and scored two touchdowns while Jacob Cowing caught nine passes for 118 yards.
The Wildcats were in the lead most of the night but fell behind 28-24 with 10:22 remaining in the fourth quarter when Charbonnet had a 5-yard TD.
Arizona responded with an 8-play, 82-yard drive, capped by de Laura's 17-yard pass to Tetairoa McMillan on fourth-and-4 to go back on top 31-28.
After UCLA turned the ball over on downs, Tyler Loop extended the lead to six with a 23-yard field goal with 1:07 remaining.
The Bruins drove down to the Arizona 29, but Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw three straight incomplete passes. He had Jake Bobo wide open in the end zone on the final play of the game, but Bobo was unable to come up with it after making a diving attempt.
Thompson-Robinson was 26 of 40 for 245 yards and a touchdown.
“We got a shot at the end, we were probably a step away from making a play,” Kelly said. “We were kind of a step away on a few things tonight. Against a good quarterback you can't do that. That's the end verdict and how we lost.”
Arizona took a 14-0 lead with 3:50 remaining in the first quarter on a pair of Wiley touchdowns.
The junior running back had a 10-yard run up the middle to open the scoring and then caught a 22-yard pass from de Laura to extend the Wildcats' lead to two scores.
UCLA tight end Hudson Habermehl's strength and balance won out when he went 51 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 14 during the second quarter.
On first-and-10 from the UCLA 49, Habermehl caught the ball at the Arizona 30 and shed attempted tackles from Arizona defensive backs Christian Roland-Wallace and Jaxen Turner before going the rest of the way.
Arizona: It was a satisfying win for coach Fisch, who was the Bruins' offensive coordinator in 2017 and interim coach for the final two games after Jim Mora Jr. was fired. After two wins last season, the Wildcats could get bowl eligible with wins in their final two games.
UCLA: Besides a key loss to their conference title hopes, the Bruins had an eight-game home winning streak snapped and will fall out of the Top 10.
Arizona: Hosts Washington State next Saturday.
UCLA: Hosts USC next Saturday in the Crosstown Showdown.
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