First note: These grey alternate jerseys are hideous.
The Wildcats received the opening kickoff for a touchback and the game was underway. The actual defense played well, but three penalties (two by Myles Jack, one on a failed 3rd down conversion for taunting) gave Arizona 35 free yards. Anu Solomon threw a TD pass to give the Wildcats an early 7-0 lead.
The UCLA offense wanted to get in on the penalty fun. A holding penalty by Jake Brendel killing a promising drive and forcing a UCLA punt, albeit a strong one by Matt Mengel pinning the Wildcats at the 8-yard line.
The Bruins defense forced a 3-and-out, which gave UCLA's offense great field position near midfield.
The UCLA wasted the opportunity, flaming out near the redzone after Brett Hundley was sacked on a 3rd and 2. Ka'imi Fairbairn pushed a FG attempt wide left to keep the score 7-0.
The defense did another solid job, this time avoiding penalties and forcing a punt by Arizona. A big return by Ishmael Adams was nullified by two separate penalties.
The offense looked to be stalled out after another holding penalty, but Brett Hundley's athleticism bailed out UCLA on a 3rd and 11 where he rushed for 29 yards and ended the 1st quarter.
Another 15-yard run by Paul Perkins, sprung by a great seal by Nate Iese, gave the Bruins 1st and goal with a chance to tie the game. Instead. the Bruins interior line got blown up two plays in a row and the Bruins were forced to kick a short FG to make it 7-3.
The defense forced another punt by Arizona and the Bruins once again got the ball with a chance to take the lead. The offense got into Arizona territory but the Wildcats stopped the Bruins on a 3rd and short after a Devin Fuller bobble took him back behind the marker and the Bruins chose to punt on 4th and 1, with a net 25 yard punt.
UCLA's defense gave most of that right back with another 15-yard penalty. The Bruins did force another punt and UCLA's offense got the ball once more with a chance to take the lead. Two more penalties (taking UCLA up to 11 for the half, technically only 9 because two were declined) seemed to stall out the drive early.
Brett Hundley and Jordan Payton came up with a big completion a 3rd and 14 to get a first down, also aided by a targeting penalty by the Wildcats. However, nothing came out of that drive after Devin Fuller dropped a difficult reception on a beautiful deep ball by Hundley.
The defense got another stop to end the half at 7-3 in favor of the Arizona Wildcats.
The defense is absolutely dominating Arizona physically. Every snap that isn't a penalty has been enjoyable to watch defensively. The offense has pretty much been the same frustrating situation it has been for 3 years, spurts of explosiveness countered with penalties and all the other issues that have been present the whole time Mazzone has been the coordinator.