PASADENA, Calif. — A quarterback change made little difference for the punchless Utah offense as the Utes fell to UCLA 21-14 Saturday afternoon at the Rose Bowl.
The Utes started freshman Travis Wilson, but he couldn’t lead the Utes into the end zone until the final minutes and the Utes’ only other score came on a Bruin mistake in the first quarter.
Coming into the game ranked No. 114 in the country in total offense, the Utes barely surpassed their season average of 299 yards thanks to a long drive late in the game as they finished with 315 yards. The Ute defense kept the Bruins well below their season average of 529 yards, but had a hard time containing quarterback Brett Hundley in third-down situations.
The Utes started Wilson in place of Jon Hays and he began with a couple of first downs before a tipped pass was intercepted by Andrew Abbott. From there, the Bruins methodically drove 69 yards in 13 plays with quarterback Brett Hundley going the final 12 yards for the score.
After the Bruins stopped the Utes on their next drive, the Utes scored a touchdown thanks to the leg of punter Sean Sellwood. His booming punt, drove Steven Manfro backwards 20 yards and when he muffed it at the 3-yard line, Utah’s Ryan Lacy was able to pounce on the ball in the end zone for a touchdown.
However, the Utah defense couldn’t hold and it took the Bruins just three plays to score on a 64-yard pass from Hundley to Shaquille Evans after safety Eric Rowe dove for the ball and left Evans with a clear path to the end zone.
After that the U. defense buckled down and forced punts on the Bruins’ next two drives, but the offense couldn’t score.
The Utes came out throwing in the second half and moved to the UCLA 32-yard line, but failed on fourth down for the second time in the game.
From there, the Bruins marched 66 yards in 14 plays to take a 21-7 lead as Johnathan Franklin went the final two yards for the touchdown with 6:04 left in the third quarter.
The Utes finally scored an offensive touchdown with 3:16 left when Jon Hays hit Dres Anderson with a 1-yard touchdown pass. Hays had come into the game because Wilson was forced to leave when his helmet came off on the previous play.
The Utes had driven 90 yards on 11 plays, including a 34-yard pass from Wilson to DeVonte Christopher. Later Christopher hit Wilson with a 23-yard pass on a double reverse.
The Utes, now 2-4 on the season and 0-3 in Pac-12 play, go on the road to face Oregon State on Saturday.