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PREVIEW: Arizona at UCLA

Posted at 2:45 PM, Sep 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-30 19:42:47-04

Arizona football (2-2) will face the UCLA Bruins (2-2) in the Rose Bowl on Saturday night in its second PAC-12 conference game of the season.  The Wildcats come off a strong performance from last Saturday when Arizona was narrowly edged by the Washington Huskies 35-28 in overtime.

Brandon Dawkins will start yet again at quarterback.  Anu Solmon is listed as "out" for the first time all season, as he has been "questionable" for the past two games with a knee injury.

Dawkins has impressed with his athleticism each week.  The sophomore triple-threat QB has rushed for 391 yards and seven touchdowns in three starts.  Last week, Dawkins rushed for a career-high 176 yards, which included a dazzling 79-yard touchdown run.  It marked the longest touchdown run by a college football quarterback this season. 

"He probably wasn't as sharp as the game before, but his ability to run and create something with the run game.  What would be a ten or fifteen yard gain, he'll turn into fifty," Rich Rodriguez says of Dawkins.

Arizona's defense, however, will have to contain an offense lead by another sophomore quarterback, Josh Rosen.  The quarterback has already thrown for 1,165 yards and five touchdowns this season.  He has been intercepted four times.

UCLA's two losses come from its season opener against Texas A&M, when the Aggies pulled off a 31-24 overtime victory, and last Saturday against Stanford.  Stanford, who won 22-13, rallied with 24 seconds left in the game to score the game-winning touchdown.

"It stings when you lose like that, and played so courageously on defense, and done such a great job against a really good team, and they make the play. Doesn't matter who you play. Losing like that is just awful," UCLA head coach Jim Mora said of his team's loss to Stanford. 

Arizona's offense will be without J.J. Taylor, a breakout freshman star running back who suffered a broken ankle during the first half of last week's game. Branden Leon, a redshirt sophomore running back, is expected to see the field this weekend.

"J.J. is a really sharp guy and every week we were going to do more and more with him.  But now we have to go back to step one.  We'll have to adjust, those things happen," Rich Rodriguez said in Monday's press conference.

Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.  The game will be televised on ESPN.