No. 13 Utah (8-3, 5-3 Pac-12) fell 17-9 to the UCLA Bruins (8-3, 5-3 Pac-12) in Rice-Eccles Stadium. The loss knocks Utah out of contention for winning the Pac-12 South. This is the first time since the 2013 game at USC that the Utes have failed to score a touchdown. UCLA's 17 points and 325 total yards are season lows for the Bruins. Utah lost wide receiver Britain Covey in the game.
"Unfortunately, we did not get it done. You are not going to win many Pac-12 games scoring only nine points. Two big issues were the red-zone offense, where we seemed to bog down, and the lack of takeaways. We couldn't take it away on defense. Those were the two primary issues. We ran the ball effectively. We threw the ball o.k. and played pretty good defense except for not getting a takeaway. There's not that much more to it. Red zone offense, takeaways and losing the turnover margin. Unfortunately, with USC losing the table was set for an opportunity and we didn't take advantage," said Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham.
Utah quarterback Travis Wilson struggled to find receivers in the game. He went 13-of-26 for 110 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He moved the ball better on the ground, especially in the first half, rushing for 67 yards on 18 carries.
"I was not making throws and there was nothing there. They were playing good defense but we have to do better. I have to a better job of throwing the ball and getting guys open," said Wilson.
Utah running back Joe Williams got his first career start against the Bruins. He filled in well for the injured Devontae Booker, rushing 26 times for 121 yards.
"My motivation was people who doubted me. They thought the offense and running game would not be the same so that pushed me today," said Williams. "I don't like to be stopped. I wanted to do my best for the team and put us in good situations. Carrying the rock was something I wanted to do for all four quarters."
UCLA was led by quarterback Josh Rosen (15-of-30 for 220 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions) and running back Paul Perkins, who had 98 rushing yards on 28 carries with one touchdown. Wide receiver Jordan Payton led all receivers with seven catches for 105 yards.
The game did not start out well for the Utes. UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen was sharp in the first quarter. He was 6-of-10 for 140 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. UCLA went 87 yards on their first drive that was capped by a 28-yard pass from Rosen to Thomas Duarte. Utah barely avoided disaster when Wilson's pass was intercepted, but a pass interference penalty on UCLA gave Utah the ball back. Utah drove into the UCLA red zone before Williams fumbled, ending the Utah scoring threat. UCLA scored again on a 33-yard field goal from Ka'imi Fairbairn. Wilson would attempt only one pass in the first quarter, a 16-yard completion to Williams. UCLA would lead 10-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Utes finally got on the board in the second quarter when Andy Phillips made a 39-yard field goal with 6:17 left. The defense played better, not allowing UCLA to score in the second quarter. Rosen failed to complete a pass in the second quarter. Phillips brought the score to 10-6 after he made a 39-yard field goal with 0:38 left in the first half. The half would end with UCLA leading 10-6.
In the first half, Wilson gained almost as many yards rushing as passing. He finished the first half 7-of-11 for 68 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions and 10 carries for 62 yards.
In the opening drive of the second half, Utah ran the ball down the field to the UCLA two-yard line. They could not convert for a touchdown and settled for another Phillips field goal to make the score 10-9 with 8:39 left in the third quarter. UCLA would answer on the ensuing drive with a 69-yard, 14-play scoring drive, capped by a two-yard touchdown run by Perkins. The 17-9 lead for UCLA would hold the rest of the game. The Utah defense held Rosen to only 80 passing yards in the final three quarters of the game. For the second week in a row, Utah failed to score in the fourth quarter and also held their opponent scoreless. On their final drive of the game, Utah managed to get to the UCLA 33-yard line before Williams and Wilson had an issue on a play-action fake that resulted in a fumble recovered by UCLA that sealed the win for the Bruins.
"It was a play action fake so things got messed up. It was not Travis' fault, it was more my fault," said Williams.
Rosen broke the UCLA record for most consecutive pass attempts without an interception in the game. Payton also broke the UCLA all-time receiving record in the game.
The Utes will look to bounce back in their final game of the season at home against Colorado (4-7, 1-6 Pac-12).