TUCSON -Against Arizona, this would seem the weekend when No. 7 UCLA gets a rare routing victory. Then again, the same could have been said for Washington State and Stanford — two of the Bruins’ last three opponents.
UCLA (8-0 overall, 5-0 Pac-10) has lived on the edge for the past month, coming from behind in the fourth quarter to win in three of their last four contests. The topper came last Saturday, when the Bruins rallied from 21 points down in the fourth quarter to beat Stanford 30-27 in overtime.
‘‘This week we want to have a normal game if we can,’’ UCLA coach Karl Dorrell said. ‘‘But if not, we’ll take heroic wins, too, at the end.’’
The Bruins face an Arizona team here today that’s on the upswing. Freshman Willie Tuitama got his first collegiate start and threw for 336 yards in the Wildcats’ 29-27 victory at Oregon State. It was Arizona’s first Pac-10 win of the season. The Wildcats (2-6, 1-4) had only beaten Division I-AA Northern Arizona before that.
‘‘It re-energized our whole program and re-energized our fans,’’ second-year coach Mike Stoops said of his young quarterback’s performance. ‘‘Willie has a very unique ability. He has an air about him, a lot of confidence. That is something that we lacked, offensively especially.’’
Tuitama quickly earned the Bruins’ attention.
‘‘This is a dangerous team,’’ Dorrell said. ‘‘They made a quarterback change last week, and it was a very productive change on their part. To go to an away stadium and to win a game and to put up some numbers in the throwing game and some guys making big plays, that’s going to give them some confidence going into this game.’’
The Wildcats haven’t beaten the Bruins since 1999.
‘‘It would be overwhelming for our program,’’ Arizona linebacker Ronnie Palmer said. ‘‘We all know it is there, it’s just a matter of doing it and seeing what we are made of.’’
UCLA is 8-0 for the fifth time in school history and has its highest national ranking since 2001. The last time the Bruins were off to this kind of season was 1998, when they won their first 10 and went to the Rose Bowl. The other 8-0 season starts came in 1954, 1952 and 1946.
Only Arizona and Arizona State — the Bruins’ next opponent in Pasadena — stand in the way of a 10-0 record going into the showdown with two-time defending national champion USC. But if anyone has learned not to overlook an opponent, it’s the Bruins.
‘‘It seems like we come out flat the first half,’’ defensive end Justin Hickman said. ‘‘The second half we start to pick it up, and the fourth quarter is when we really show our true colors.’’
The Bruins are averaging just under 43 points per game.
A pair of Drews lead the way — quarterback Drew Olson and running back Maurice Drew. Olson has 23 touchdown passes this season, two shy of the school record set by Cade McNown in 1998. Drew has averaged 25.4 yards in his 18 touchdowns.
UCLA at Arizona
When: 4 p.m. today
TV: Fox Sports Net Arizona
Radio: KKLT (960 AM)