Randall Goforth, on linebacker Myles Jack’s game-ending interception: “Our coaches told him to play a certain way. He did what he was coached to do. Our coaches put us in the best position to make plays, and that’s what he did.”
SALT LAKE CITY — If nothing else, UCLA avoided the roughest weather.
An hour or so before Thursday night’s kickoff, snow swirled over Rice-Eccles Stadium for five minutes before quickly giving way to sunshine. Almost immediately after the clock ran down on the Bruins’ 34-27 win over Utah, the sky again turned white.
A bit of serendipity, perhaps.
There was much of that for the Bruins on the field, even in a messy effort that saw the loss of multiple starters. Before a sellout crowd of over 40,000 black shirts, they preserved a perfect record and a precious 1-0 start to Pac-12 play. For the first time since 2005, the team is 4-0.
“We’re gonna take that,” head coach Jim Mora said. Continue reading
In a game pock-marked by fumbles, injuries, interceptions and flags, UCLA survived an ugly game at Rice-Eccles Stadium, beating Utah, 34-27 to open its Pac-12 schedule. The Bruins grabbed six interceptions after entering Thursday with just one on the season, with freshman linebacker Myles Jack snuffing out the Utes last-ditch drive.
Brett Hundley, who appeared to injure his eye during the game, finished with 17 of 27 passing, 211 yards and a touchdown. He added one more touchdown catch from Devin Fuller. Running back Jordon James left the game near the end of the first half with an ankle injury and did not return.
David James and Patrick Kinahan — more popularly known as DJ and PK — had me on Salt Lake City’s 1280 The Zone this morning to talk about tomorrow’s UCLA-Utah game. You can listen to the full 11 minutes here.
No. 12 UCLA (3-0) at Utah (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12)
Location: Rice-Eccles Stadium, Oct. 3, 7 p.m. PT
TV: Fox Sports 1 (Justin Kutcher, Petros Papadakis, Joel Klatt, Kristina Pink)
Radio: 570 AM (Chris Roberts, Matt Stevens, Wayne Cook)
Last meeting: UCLA beat Utah, 21-14, at the Rose Bowl in a game that required some key defensive stops.
2012 records: Bruins (9-5, 6-3); Utes (5-7, 3-6)
Key storylines: UCLA has had some rough trips to Salt Lake City. In 2011, the Bruins lost 31-6 on a snow-covered field. In 2007, they were shellacked 44-6 by a Utah squad that ended the season with a Holiday Bowl victory. Continue reading
In today’s football notebook, Utah native Xavier Su’a-Filo talked about what it means to finally play in his home state as a collegiate athlete. A former state champion, his return will happen in the same place where he helped Timpview High to its third straight state title.
He also touched on his decision to leave the Beehive State for Los Angeles four years ago:
“I feel like the morning of signing day, UCLA felt like the right place for me. I couldn’t exactly explain to you why I felt that way. Even when my freshman year came, I was still a little curious why. I just felt like it was the right thing to do.”
He didn’t waver after his mission ended. Continue reading
Even without All-American tackle Star Lotulelei, Utah’s defensive front is still physical and disciplined.
“Maybe they don’t have the marquee name guy like they did last year,” Bruins offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said, “but I think the defensive line for them is probably the best front four we’ve gone against.”
Mazzone also pointed out the longevity of the Utes’ schemes. Head coach Kyle Whittingham has kept defensive coordinator Kalani Fifita Sitake on his staff for all nine of his years in Salt Lake City, though the latter spent the first four as linebackers coach.
UCLA defensive coordinator Lou Spanos said this year’s Utah team uses very similar personnel to the 2012 squad that lost 21-14 at the Rose Bowl. One key difference is the maturity of sophomore Travis Wilson, who went from averaging 3.3 rushing yards per game to 62.75 — third-best among conference quarterbacks. Continue reading
Due to the short week of prep leading up to Thursday’s game at Utah, UCLA treated Sunday as it would a usual Tuesday practice. The Bruins had Friday and Saturday off after practicing last week, and moved into game prep for the Utes today.
Jim Mora spoke a bit after Sunday’s session:
– On early impressions of Utah: “They’re tough. They’re physical. They’re disciplined. They play hard all the time. Just like last year. They’re going to play good defense. They’re going to run the ball.”
– The addition of co-offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson has made Utah’s offense much more dynamic. In 2012, when former Ute quarterback Brian Johnson had sole schematic reins, the team finished with 19 pass plays of at least 25 yards and nine runs of at least 20 yards. Continue reading