Practice foreshadows Utah result
SALT LAKE CITY -- It’s not as if the UCLA football team couldn’t see this coming if it believed in the practice-how-you-play theory.
Utah’s 44-6 rout Saturday can be attributed to an intense Utes effort -- though there was some listlessness by the Bruins involved.
During practice leading up to the game, UCLA receivers were dropping footballs as if they’d been dipped in butter, Ben Olson looked like the star of a Quarterbacks Throwing Wild tape, and special-teams workouts brought drill-sergeant-like barking from assistant coaches.
“It showed out there today,” defensive end Bruce Davis said of the Bruins’ week of practice. “That’s my fault, as a leader on this team. I should have addressed the problem in a different or better way. It was more like, ‘Hey, let’s get it together.’
“Maybe we should have been raising voices, calling guys out.”
Nothing made the Bruins’ poor week of practice clearer than the Utes’ gadget play in the second quarter. Facing a fourth and three at the Bruins’ 34-yard line, Utah lined up for a field-goal attempt, but holder Bradon Godfrey ran up the middle for a five-yard gain.
The Utes then went in for a touchdown that gave them a 14-6 lead at halftime.
The punch line? The Bruins worked all week in practice on stopping that very same fake field-goal play.
What’s next for Utah senior quarterback Tommy Grady, who completed 17 of 30 passes for 246 yards and three touchdowns?
Probably a seat on the bench.
Coach Kyle Whittingham said that quarterback Brian Johnson, who injured his shoulder in the team’s opening loss at Oregon State, might be available for next week’s game against Nevada Las Vegas.
“Brian is our quarterback,” Whittingham said.
Grady, though, will always have Saturday to cherish as a scrapbook memory.
It has been a long, winding road for the 6-foot-7 senior, who originally signed with Oklahoma.
Grady sat out the 2005 season after transferring to Utah and played sparingly last year, completing only seven of 14 passes with one touchdown and three interceptions.
“I had a lot of motivation,” Grady said of the UCLA game. “My self-confidence is always high, and I prepared myself for today.”
Grady’s start against Air Force last year was his first in five years as a college quarterback.
Saturday was his second, and it might be his last for a while.
Whittingham said he was excited about Saturday’s win but says he tries to keep his emotions in check over the course of a season.
“You try to stay even,” he said. “The roller coaster is for the media to ride.”
Tidbit: No. 11 UCLA was the highest-ranked team Utah has defeated at home since beating No. 8 Arizona, 36-31, in 1973. It was the Utes’ first win over a ranked opponent since they defeated No. 24 Georgia Tech in the Emerald Bowl in 2005.
The Bruins gave up 122 yards rushing, with Darrell Mack becoming the first Utes player to rush for 100 yards since the 2005 Emerald Bowl. Mack had 107 yards in 19 carries.
Mack is only the second running back to rush for more than 100 yards against UCLA since DeWayne Walker became defensive coordinator, and his performance underscored how badly the Bruins missed defensive tackle Brigham Harwell (knee) and defensive end Nikola Dragovic (concussion).
Tackle Micah Kia was called for two false-start penalties, both coming on key third-down plays. The Bruins had three of those infractions on third down.
“We just didn’t handle the noise very well,” Coach Karl Dorrell said. “We lost our poise and had some critical penalties that stalled some drives.”
Kia said noise had nothing to do with it. “I just made some mistakes out there,” he said.
UCLA guard Shannon Tevaga left the game because of a sprained knee, a Bruins official said, and will be reevaluated today. He was on crutches after the game. . . . UCLA linebacker Aaron Whittington left the game because of a concussion in the second half. . . . Wide receiver Marcus Everett injured his left ankle but remained in the game. . . . Davis left the game in the fourth quarter because of a knee injury, though he said he could have returned.
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Not even close
UCLA’s 38-point loss to Utah tied for the second-most lopsided loss by a ranked UCLA team against an unranked opponent since the Associated Press poll began in 1936:
*--* Year UCLA’s AP rank Result Score Pt. diff. 1970 No. 17 Lost at Washington 61-20 -41 2007 No. 11 Lost at Utah 44-6 -38 2005 No. 7 Lost at Arizona 52-14 -38 1989 No. 22 Lost at Arizona 42-7 -35 1946 No. 4 Lost to Illinois* 45-14 -31 2001 No. 20 Lost at USC 27-0 -27 1961 No. 9 Lost at Michigan 29-6 -23 1974 No. 18 Lost at Washington 31-9 -22 1992 No. 11 Lost at Arizona 23-3 -20 *--*
-- Rose Bowl
Los Angeles Times