Andrew Fielding-US PRESSWIRE
One bad night at the Rose Bowl should not undo what has been a very promising season in Tucson.
Over the grind of a long season, every team has a night or two they would like to forget.
For Arizona, it just happened to be last night when they played one of their more important games of the year.
"We didn't get off in press coverage, we didn't get open," coach Rich Rodriguez said following UA's 66-10 loss to UCLA. "We didn't throw it right, we didn't run it right, and we didn't call the plays right."
The game was seemingly over before it even began at the Rose Bowl. The Bruins received the ball first and walked it down the field in a matter of about 90 seconds. The 'Cats went three-and-out on their next possession, shanked a punt, and UCLA had another touchdown about two minutes later. This was a repeating formula throughout the night.
Add in what appeared to potentially be another concussion for Matt Scott and a scary incident where linebacker Hank Hobson collapsed on the field, and tonight's game could adequately be called a disaster.
At least with the Oregon game -- a game Arizona eventually lost 49-0 -- it was close until the fourth quarter. The 'Cats showed up to play and left it all on the field. That can't be said about this weekend's loss, and the coaching staff and players need to get better from it.
"I told our players we shouldn't let this game define who we are," Rodriguez said. "At least in our other losses we were competitive and did a couple of good things."
"Today we didn't do anything good at all."
The treacherous slate of games is now over. The Wildcats have gone 5-4 against one of the toughest schedules in the country, and they have three winnable games left against Colorado, Utah and Arizona State.
Will Scott be healthy for any of those? Who knows. If he is, there's still a chance UA finishes the year 8-4 with a solid bowl game.
If not, Ka'Deem Carey better have another 1,000 rushing yards left in those legs.
Regardless, it's imperative that this team does not lose faith in itself. Approach the month of November no differently than they approached September or October. Just about every expectation in Rodriguez's first year has been surpassed; don't undo that by unravelling these next three weeks.
"I think we've got to be consistent in our message and the way we go about things," Rodriguez said. "We've said that all year after a win or loss. We'll stay consistent for now."