In just about every Hollywood script writer's desk, there's a story of a sports team bouncing back from adversity to end up winning it all.
UCLA showed just enough in a 17-7 win over Arizona on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl that it just might be the inspiration behind one of those stories -- or at least the Bruins hope so after a win that very well might define their season.
Quarterback Brett Hundley carried the team not with his arm -- although he was an efficient passer -- but with his legs. He was the team's leading rusher, totaling 131 yards on 24 carries, and his ability to pick up chunks of yards on called runs were a key reason the offense was able to get back on track and roll to 460 yards. It might not have resulted in the points you'd expect from that production, but it's a nice uptick compared to where they once were.
At the same time, Hundley went 19-of-26 for 189 yards with a touchdown. That score allowed him to tie former UCLA great Cade McNown as the school's career record holder for touchdowns with 68 in his three years in Los Angeles. Hundley couldn't have asked for a better highlight to accomplish the feat either, lofting a perfect pass along the left sideline to Jordan Payton for a 70-yard score.
Those kinds of plays were no doubt what the numerous NFL scouts in attendance were there to see after a few weeks of shaky performances out of the UCLA offense.
Running back Paul Perkins added 78 rushing yards to hit the 1,000-yard mark on the season, becoming the first back at UCLA to do that since Johnathan Franklin.
Early penalties and some uncharacteristic mistakes hurt Myles Jack and the Bruins defense early in the contest, but they rebounded to turn in perhaps their best game of the season. Three players recorded sacks, and there was a hand on the ball nearly every play when it was thrown. Jack also added 13 yards rushing on six carries offensively.
Arizona signal-caller Anu Solomon finally looked like a freshman, throwing for just 175 yards (on 48 attempts), a touchdown and an interception. Normally a run-heavy offense, the Wildcats were limited to 2.6 yards per carry for the game and couldn't get any push against a feisty defensive line.
The win keeps UCLA's slim hopes of winning the Pac-12 South alive and gives Arizona its second conference loss of the season. At some point somebody in the tightly packed division will stand up and take it.
Saturday night at the Rose Bowl, UCLA might just have said, "Why not us?"