PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Wilton Speight threw two touchdown passes, Joshua Kelley ran for 136 yards and UCLA won its second straight game, defeating Arizona 31-30 on Saturday night.
Speight began the season as UCLA’s starter but suffered a back injury during the first half of the Sept. 1 opener against Cincinnati and was replaced by Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Speight came in during the second quarter when Thompson-Robinson appeared to injure his arm while being sacked.
Coach Chip Kelly said during a halftime interview with UCLA radio that Thompson-Robinson was “good to go”, but Kelly stuck with Speight, who completed 17 of 27 passes. Thompson-Robinson was 5 of 8 for 103 yards and a touchdown.
Kelley has rushed for over 100 yards in four straight games, becoming the first Bruins’ running back to do that since Tyler Ebell had a six-game streak in 2002. Kelley’s 28-yard touchdown with 11:33 remaining gave the Bruins (2-5, 2-2 Pac-12) the lead for good.
Arizona’s Rhett Rodriguez was 15 of 34 for 231 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in his first collegiate start while J.J. Taylor rushed for 154 yards and a touchdown.
The Wildcats (3-5, 2-3) would have won the game if it wasn’t for a pair of costly turnovers in the first half. Rodriguez was picked off by UCLA free safety Quentin Lake in the end zone to end the Wildcats’ second drive.
In the second quarter, Taylor appeared to be going in for a 56-yard touchdown until Darnay Holmes forced a fumble at the UCLA 3 and recovered it in the end zone.
UCLA led 17-7 at halftime before Arizona scored 13 straight points. After Josh Pollack’s 29-yard field goal brought the Wildcats within a touchdown, they tied it on their next possession on a Rodriguez 11-yard touchdown to Shawn Poindexter. Arizona took over on the UCLA 15 after Derek Boles’ sacked Speight and recovered a fumble.
The Wildcats would take a 20-17 lead on a 39-yard field goal by Pollack before the Bruins would take it back when Speight threw a 25-yard touchdown to Demetric Felton.
Taylor’s 1-yard TD early in the fourth quarter put Arizona back on top 27-24, but it lasted only 61 seconds before Kelley’s score.
A Pollack 29-yard field goal with 6:28 remaining brought the Wildcats within a point, but UCLA would take over and run out the clock.
UCLA scored on its opening drive for the first time this season as Thompson-Robinson connected with Kazmeir Allen for a 16-yard touchdown. The Bruins extended their lead to 10-0 on the first play of the second quarter on a 40-yard field goal by JJ Molson.
Arizona got on the board with 6:38 remaining in the second quarter when Poindexter caught a 13-yard touchdown from Rodriguez. Speight’s first touchdown pass would come late in the second quarter on a 24-yarder to Devin Asiasi.
Arizona: The Wildcats had made only two of its last seven field goals going into the game but Josh Pollack made all three of his attempts against UCLA.
UCLA: The Bruins were unbeaten at home last season but got its first victory at the Rose Bowl this season after losing their first three home dates.
Arizona: Hosts Oregon on Saturday.
UCLA: Has a short week as it hosts Utah on Friday.
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