Brittain Brown and Zach Charbonnet win UCLA against Arizona

UCLA has rediscovered a trusted, comforting friend in a time of need. It has found its running game.

On a night when the defense had largely stalled and quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson could not find a passing rhythm, the Bruins made a successful run.

Brittain Brown and Zach Charbonnet fired yard after yard to help UCLA score a 34:16 win over Arizona at Arizona Stadium on Saturday night, avoiding potential embarrassment against a team that expanded their school record to 17 games.

Brown’s 48-yard touchdown run on a breakout in the middle of the fourth quarter gave UCLA a 31-16 lead and cleared any remaining drama as the Bruins fell to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the Pac-12 -Conference improved.

Brown finished rushing 146 yards and Charbonnet had 117 yards to help UCLA hit a season high of 329 yards, an average of seven yards per carry. Thompson-Robinson added two short rushing touchdowns and 28 yards on the ground.

It was the kind of efficiency UCLA lacked in their two losses, when the Bruins averaged 157.5 yards in rushing and 3.9 yards per carry.

They needed the massive improvement after their defense surrendered 362 yards, which required repeated Arizona mistakes to prevent the Wildcats (0-5, 0-2) from possibly taking over the game.

Thompson-Robinson also experienced one of his worst passing performances, completing eight of 19 passes for 82 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

As so often this season, the Bruins made it harder than necessary.

UCLA appeared to be in command deep in the Arizona Territory as it led at 24:16 by the end of the third quarter. In third and sixth place, Brown ran for 11 yards … only to have the ball torn out for a fumble at Arizona’s 18-yard line.

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson throws a pass in the first half against Arizona on Saturday.

(Chris Coduto / Associated Press)

But the Bruins defenses eventually tightened, and lineman Otito Ogbonia forced a fumble, which he made amends early in the fourth quarter in a game that injured Arizona quarterback Jordan McCloud. McCloud had to be helped off the field and was replaced by Gunner Cruz.

UCLA was fortunate to hold a 14-13 half-time lead considering how it stalled towards the end of half.

A pass interference penalty against defensive back Jay Shaw and facemask penalties against linebacker Caleb Johnson and defensive back Qwuantrezz Knight extended a drive in Arizona just before halftime, which ended in a trick game developed by Wildcats trainer Jedd Fisch.

McCloud crossed to wide receiver Jamarye Joiner, who threw across the field to open Michael Wiley in the back of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown.

On the next play Thompson-Robinson forced a deep pass into cover, which was intercepted. The Wildcats got the ball into midfield before poor clock management prevented them from making it into the field goal range.

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