ARIZONA FOOTBALL

Noah Fifita shines again as Arizona beats UCLA, clinching bowl

Nov 4, 2023, 11:05 PM | Updated: Nov 5, 2023, 7:34 am

Noah Fifita, Arizona Wildcats...

Arizona Wildcats quarterback Noah Fifita #11 throws an incomplete pass during the first half of a football game between the UCLA Bruins and the University of Arizona Wildcats on November 4, 2023 at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, AZ. (Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Arizona Wildcats beat a ranked opponent for the third-straight week, 27-10, over the 19th-ranked UCLA Bruins.

With the win, Arizona clinches its first bowl appearance in the Jedd Fisch era and first since 2017.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Noah Fifita starred for the Wildcats yet again, finishing with 300 yards and three touchdowns, but his night started with an interception on his first drive.

The Arizona defense held strong, forcing the Bruins into a missed field goal unable to capitalize on the turnover, and the Wildcats used the momentum to score the game’s first points on the 11-play, 76-yard drive that followed.

UCLA had another field goal chance on their next drive, but Arizona defensive back Ephesians Prysock used his 6-foot-4 length to block the kick, keeping UCLA scoreless for the moment.

Fifita drove down the field again late in the first half, ending a seven-play, 61-yard drive with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Cowing. With only a minute-and-a-half left in the second quarter, UCLA responded, driving 75 yards to make the halftime score 14-7.

Three drives without a stop by either side later, Arizona led 24-10 with Fifita throwing to his high school teammate Tetairoa McMillan for the Wildcats’ third touchdown of the day.

Arizona sacked Ethan Garbers for a third and final time, knocking him out of the game with an apparent leg injury, bringing in heralded freshman Dante Moore for the Bruins, who was only able to finish a three-and-out.

The Wildcats were only able to get one first down before needing to punt, and UCLA blocked the punt, enacting a turnover on downs when Arizona recovered, giving the Bruins life.

Even with great field position, UCLA couldn’t get anything going, and they were flagged for two false starts before just a 5-yard gain on fourth-and-19.

Arizona running back Rayshon Luke took a screen pass 66 yards on the next play, and the Wildcats ran some clock before kicking a field goal to extend their lead to 27-10 with less than five minutes remaining.

UCLA tried quarterback Collin Schlee on its next possession, but he wasn’t able to do much against the Arizona defense either, giving it up on downs after seven plays. The strong performance of the defense held UCLA to just 271 total yards, nearly 200 below its season average.

Meanwhile, Arizona totaled 429 yards, 12 yards shy of its season average.

Arizona Football

The Fiesta Sports Foundation partnered with the AIA to name a Preseason All-State team for boys and...

Arizona Sports

Fiesta Sports Foundation honoring 50 boys, girls football players on Preseason All-State teams

The Fiesta Sports Foundation has partnered with the AIA for a new program that honors 50 of the best high school football players in the state.

2 days ago

Wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan #4 of the Arizona Wildcats runs with the football against the Arizo...

Bailey Leasure

ESPN’s Connelly projects college football win totals for ASU, Arizona

ESPN's Bill Connelly projects win total for Arizona State and Arizona in their first season in the Big 12 conference.

8 days ago

(Graphic via Valero Alamo Bowl)...

Arizona Sports

Former Pac-12 teams in Big 12, elsewhere will retain prior bowl game affiliation

The Pac-12 announced that former conference members in the Big Ten, Big 12 and ACC will keep the old bowl game affiliations.

9 days ago

Wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan runs after the catch...

Arizona Sports

Arizona Wildcats to be ‘really smart’ with Tetairoa McMillan’s return from injury

The Arizona Wildcats are making sure they're taking the correct precautions when it comes to Tetairoa McMillan's return from a leg injury.

10 days ago

Brett Yormark, Big 12 commissioner...

Ryan Pasiecznik

Notable Arizona State, Arizona legends named to first-ever Big 12 Alumni Council

Four alumni who made their imprint on the Arizona schools were named to the first Big 12 Alumni Council on Wednesday.

10 days ago

...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Exclusive Interviews: ASU Athletic Director Graham Rossini & head football coach Kenny Dillingham

Jeremy Schnell talked to ASU Athletic Director Graham Rossini about his short time as full-time AD so far and the future of Desert Financial Arena. He also talked to head football coach Kenny Dillingham about Big 12 Media Days and finishing last in the Big 12 preseason media poll.

10 days ago

Noah Fifita shines again as Arizona beats UCLA, clinching bowl