First look: UCLA at Utah

Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley (1) passes the ball against Arizona State in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

UCLA (4-4, 2-3 Pac-12) at Utah (4-4, 1-4 Pac-12)
Friday, Nov. 3 | 6:30 p.m. PT | Rice-Eccles Stadium
TV: Fox Sports 1
Radio: AM 1150 or AM 570

Scouting report

Utah is one of the few teams in the Pac-12 floundering more than UCLA. The Utes have lost four in a row, falling from No. 20 in the nation on Oct. 7 to last in the Pac-12 South less than a month later.

Sophomore quarterback Tyler Huntley has struggled since returning from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for two games. In his two games since the injury, he completed 56.4 percent of his passes after a throwing at a 73.3 percent clip during the first four games of the year. The Utes, working under new offensive coordinator Troy Taylor, are averaging 21.4 points per game in conference play.

In a 41-20 loss to Oregon last weekend, the Utes rushed for only 3 yards in the first half and finished with 91 total rushing yards.

Despite its reputation as a typically stout defensive front, Utah is allowing 5.6 yards per carry in conference play. The Ducks piled up 347 rushing yards on 49 carries last Saturday.

Series history

Joe Williams foreshadowed the fall of the UCLA defense. He ran for 332 yards against the Bruins last year, the most for an individual against the Bruins, during Utah’s 52-45 win at the Rose Bowl. The Bruins, quarterbacked by Mike Fafaul, got into a shootout with the Utes as Fafaul threw a UCLA-record 70 passes. He scored four touchdowns, but also threw five interceptions.

UCLA’s last road conference win took place in Salt Lake City in 2015. Since the 17-9 win on Nov. 21, the Bruins have lost seven straight Pac-12 road games.

UCLA has an 11-4 lead in the overall series but is just 3-3 in the Pac-12 era.

Players to watch

— QB Tyler Huntley (132/198, 1,414 yards, 8 passing TDs, 6 INTs)

The sophomore won the starting job over incumbent Troy Williams and guided the Utes to a 3-0 start before injuring his shoulder against Arizona. He missed the next two games, coinciding with the beginning of the team’s recent slide. A capable runner, Huntley will stress a UCLA defense that struggles against mobile quarterbacks.

— RB Zack Moss (115 carries, 587 yards, 3 TDs)

Any running back facing a UCLA defense that’s the worst in the country in rushing defense has a chance for a breakout day. The sophomore leads the Utes in rushing, but the team is just eighth in the conference in rushing (146.8 rushing yards per game).

— LB Sunia Tauteoli (46 tackles, 8.5 TFLS, 1 sack, 1 INT)

The starting linebacker missed a game due to injury, but returned against Oregon and tallied four tackles with a sack. He leads the team in tackles for loss.