Facing No. 18 and undefeated UCLA on Saturday, the Utes needed a win to set up a big-time showdown with USC in Salt Lake City next week.
Perhaps the Utes underestimated the Bruins, or maybe Utah just isn’t as good as everyone thought before the season began.
After dropping the opener to Florida, the Utes rolled off four straight blowout wins. While Utah was racking up results, they weren’t really doing it against quality opposition, with the best win coming against Oregon State.
Utah was favored to win the game on the road at UCLA but was outplayed the entire game.
The Bruins scored the lone touchdown of the opening quarter, and the Utes were never able to recover. Utah never led or even tied the game, getting only within a field goal on two occasions in the second half as UCLA recorded a 42-32 win.
While the Utes’ put up 479 yards of offense, Cam Rising did not throw a touchdown, while also turning the ball over twice (an interception and fumble). Rising did tally a pair of rushing scores, but it wasn’t enough for the Utes.
With the Utah offense struggling to create big scoring plays, the defense struggled mightily. The Bruins racked up 501 yards on the Utes’ defense, while quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw four touchdowns. UCLA also ran all over Utah, with Zach Charbonnet racking up 198 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries.
The Utes will have to now hope they can get the season back on track next week, with No. 6 USC coming to town. If Utah can upset the Trojans, they will be back in the hunt for a Pac-12 title game appearance. If not, they will likely not have a chance to defend their conference title.
Utah faces USC on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The game can be seen on FOX.