Utah Utes football notebook: Utes have difficult time on third downs, containing UCLA QB
PASADENA, Calif. — Overall, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham was happy with his defensive effort against a potent UCLA offense that came into the game ranked eighth in the nation in total offense with more than 500 yards per game. The Utes limited the Bruins to just 354 total yards and held Johnathan Franklin, who ranked seventh in the nation in rushing to just 79 yards, 54 yards under his season average.
“Defensively I thought we played well,’’ Whittingham said. “We gave them an easy touchdown early in the game, but we settled in and played very good. The secondary, defensive line and backers all played hard for 60 minutes.’’
However, there was one glaring problem the defense had and that was containing quarterback Brett Hundley. Time after time, the freshman QB broke containment and ran for first downs, several times on third down. For the game, the Bruins converted on 10 of 17 third downs and more than half came on runs by Hundley.
“We gave them a few too many third downs and let their quarterback out of the cage a few times,’’ Whittingham said. “We missed a lot of tackles, but a lot of that is a credit to their athleticism in the open field. They’re going to make you miss some tackles.’’ For the game, Hundley rushed for 68 yards after coming into the game averaging just 28.7 yards per game.
CLEAN GAME: The Utes and Bruins came into the game as two of the most penalized teams in college football. UCLA ranked third in the nation in penalty yards with 86 per game, while Utah was 10th with 79 per game. However, each played a fairly clean game, either that or the officals didn’t feel like throwing flags Saturday. UCLA finished with just seven penalties for 43 yards, while Utah was whistled for just four penalties for 30 yards. Also, the Bruins had just one turnover, the first quarter muffed punt after giving up six the week before in a loss to Cal. Utah also had just one turnover, a first-quarter interception on a tipped pass from Travis Wilson.
EXTRA POINTS: Former Utah wide receiver Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers attended the game . . . The national anthem was performed by "Blue Man Group" . . . The announced crowd Saturday was 66,303, above the season average at the Rose Bowl of 59,963 . . . UCLA came into the game 8-2 vs. the Utes, but had lost the last two games by wide margins both in Salt Lake, 44-6 in 2007 and 31-6 last year . . . UCLA has played 25 freshmen this year — 12 true freshmen and 13 redshirt and started three freshmen on the offensive line . . . Utah punter Sean Sellwood, who came into the game ranked No. 2 in the nation in punting, averaged 54.3 yards on three punts.
Contributing: Dirk Facer
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