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Utah Utes football: Utah QB Travis Wilson, UCLA QB Brett Hundley share similarities

Published: Monday, Sept. 30 2013 7:55 p.m. MDT

UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley runs into the end zone on a 5-yard touchdown run against Stanford during the first half of the Pac-12 championship NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif., Friday, Nov. 30, 2012. (Tony Avelar, ASSOCIATED PRESS) UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley runs into the end zone on a 5-yard touchdown run against Stanford during the first half of the Pac-12 championship NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif., Friday, Nov. 30, 2012. (Tony Avelar, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

SALT LAKE CITY — When it comes to quarterbacks, Utah and 12th-ranked UCLA have a lot in common. Starters Travis Wilson and Brett Hundley bring a lot of similarities into Thursday night’s Pac-12 showdown at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

“There’s a real good comparison between those two guys and it’s going to be an intriguing matchup — the quarterbacks going against each other head to head,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. “What Travis brings to the table and makes him difficult to defend, Hundley does the same thing for the Bruins.”

Whittingham noted that the sophomores (both born in 1993) have similar pass efficiency numbers and both run the ball well.

Entering this week’s game, Wilson has a pass efficiency rating of 166.6, which ranks third in the Pac-12. Hundley is fourth at 165.9. They’re also third and fourth in total offense, with Wilson holding a 342.3 to 335 yards per game edge over Hundley.

Utah Utes quarterback Travis Wilson (7) runs by BYU's Skye PoVey as the University of Utah and Brigham Young University play football Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, in Provo.  
 (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Utah Utes quarterback Travis Wilson (7) runs by BYU's Skye PoVey as the University of Utah and Brigham Young University play football Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, in Provo. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

However, when it comes to passing yards per game, Hundley holds a 282.7 to 279.5 advantage over Wilson — putting them sixth and seventh, respectively, in the conference. Wilson holds the upper hand in rushing, averaging 62.7 yards per game compared to 52.3 for Hundley.

“They’re both mobile quarterbacks, very versatile,” said Utah defensive end Nate Orchard. “They can throw on the run and do all these amazing things.”

COACHING CHANGES: Whittingham commented on the firing of USC coach Lane Kiffin.

“The nature of the profession right now is not very patient,” he said. “There’s a lot of money at stake. It’s big business.”

Whittingham also noted that Connecticut coach Paul Pasqualoni was let go after last weekend’s games.

Utah Utes quarterback Travis Wilson (7) throws under pressure  during NCAA football in Provo  Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013.  Utah won 20-13.  (Andrew J. Allred, Deseret News) Utah Utes quarterback Travis Wilson (7) throws under pressure during NCAA football in Provo Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. Utah won 20-13. (Andrew J. Allred, Deseret News)

“That’s how it is. There’s no change in it,” Whittingham said. “I don’t think there’s anybody that doesn’t want to win in the worst way and is far more concerned with that than what’s going on externally.

“And so all you do is just do the best job you can,” he continued. “And the other stuff that is out of your control you don’t really worry about.”

EXTRA POINTS: Utah’s home game against Stanford on Saturday, Oct. 12 will kick off at 4 p.m. and be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks. ... Former NFL quarterback Dan Fouts is part of the Sports USA radio team that is calling Thursday’s game nationally. ... The Utes are 6-2 following bye weeks under Whittingham. ... UCLA defensive end Cassius Marsh is the son of former Utah wide receiver Curtis Marsh.

No. 12 UCLA (3-0, 0-0)

at Utah (3-1, 0-1)

Thursday, 8 p.m.

TV: FOX Sports 1

Radio: 700AM

Email: dirk@desnews.com Twitter: @DirkFacer

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