UCLA falls to No. 19 Utah, 52-45
- Corey Butler-Byrd returns a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown (Utah 7, UCLA 0)
- Utah running back Joe Williams rushes for a three-yard touchdown (Utah 14, UCLA 0)
- UCLA quarterback Mike Fafaul throws an 11-yard touchdown pass to Bolu Olorunfunmi (Utah 14, UCLA 7)
- UCLA quarterback Mike Fafaul throws a 13-yard touchdown pass to Nate Iese (Utah 14, UCLA 14)
- UCLA running back Bolu Olorunfunmi runs for a seven-yard touchdown (UCLA 21, UCLA 14)
- Utah kicker Andy Phillips makes a 45-yard field goal (UCLA 21, Utah 17)
- Utah running back Joe Williams runs for a 43-yard touchdown (Utah 24, UCLA 21)
- Utah kicker Andy Phillips makes a 45-yard field goal (Utah 27, UCLA 21)
- UCLA quarterback Mike Fafaul throws a 50-yard touchdown pass to Nate Iese (UCLA 28, Utah 27)
- Utah quarterback Troy Williams runs for a two-yard touchdown (Utah 35, UCLA 28)
- UCLA quarterback Mike Fafaul throws a 75-yard touchdown to Jordan Lasley (UCLA 35, Utah 35)
- Utah kicker Andy Phillips makes a 46-yard field goal (Utah 38, UCLA 35)
- Utah running back Joe Williams runs for a 64-yard touchdown (Utah 45, UCLA 35)
- UCLA kicker Andrew Strauch makes a 39-yard field goal (Utah 45, UCLA 38)
- Utah running back Joe Williams runs for a 55-yard touchdown (Utah 52, UCLA 38)
- UCLA quarterback Mike Fafaul throws a 13-yard touchdown pass to Austin Roberts (Utah 52, UCLA 45)
UCLA falls to No. 19 Utah, 52-45
Quarterback Josh Rosen missed his second consecutive game on Saturday, but that was not why UCLA lost to Utah.
The Bruins lost 52-45 to Utah (7-1, 4-1) because of running back Joe Williams, who retired from football earlier this season and has been lighting defenses on fire since returning to the field. Williams ran the ball 29 times for a school-record 332 yards and four touchdowns. UCLA, on the other hand, continued to struggle on the ground with 46 yards on 16 carries.
Mike Fafaul, who started in place of Rosen again, threw a program-record 70 passes and finished with 40 completions, 464 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions. Tight end Nate Iese was his favorite target on the day, catching eight passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns.
But all the increased offensive production did was tighten the margin of defeat for a Bruins team that will need a lot of help to compete in the Pac-12 South standings. Utah, which is tied with Colorado atop the division standings, has a matchup with No. 5 Washington next week.
UCLA trailed 12 seconds into the game after Cory Butler-Byrd returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. The Utes scored again three minutes later, and it seemed the Bruins would be staring at Utah’s back all afternoon.
But then Fafaul worked the UCLA offense into a rhythm, and it scored 21 points by the end of the first quarter. The offense then stalled in the second as Utah regained the lead, and that was largely because of the Bruins’ nonexistent rushing attack.
UCLA’s struggles on the ground were on display in the middle of the second quarter. Facing a fourth and one, the Bruins handed the ball to Bolu Olorunfunmi out of the shotgun. Olorunfunmi was dropped for a one-yard loss, and two plays later Utah running back Joe Williams sprinted 43 yards through UCLA territory and into the end zone.
At halftime, UCLA had 12 rushing yards on seven carries. Williams, on his own, carried the ball 12 times for 113 yards and two touchdowns in the first. The Utes led 27-21 at the break.
The Bruins regained the lead on their first possession of the second half when Fafaul hit Iese for a 50-yard score. Utah quickly answered with a 78-yard drive punctuated by a Troy Williams 2-yard touchdown run and then UCLA shot back when Fafaul found Jordan Lasley for a 75-yard touchdown.
That knotted the score at 35-35, but Utah scored 10 points before the third quarter ended to push back ahead. Joe Williams rushed for a 64-yard touchdown, and then broke Utah’s single-game rushing record at the start of the fourth quarter. He then he added to his total with a 55-yard touchdown dash in the fourth.
That was Williams’ fourth rushing touchdown of the game, and stretched the Utes’ lead to 52-38.
The Bruins shaved the deficit in half when Fafaul found Austin Roberts for a 13-yard touchdown with 4:38 left on the game clock, and needed a stop from the defense.
But getting a stop required slowing Williams down. The running back picked up one first down, and then the Bruins finally clamped down on him and the Utah offense with 47 seconds remaining.
That was not enough time to drive for the winning touchdown. Just like he did all afternoon, Williams kept UCLA at an arm’s length as the Bruins’ season continued its downward spiral.
UCLA trails Utah, 52-45, in the fourth quarter
UCLA is not going away, as Mike Fafaul’s fifth touchdown pass of the game cuts Utah’s lead to 52-45 with 4:38 remaining in the game. The pass found Austin Roberts in the back of the end zone.
After the UCLA defense forced a critical three and out, Adarius Pickett returned the punt 35 yards to Utah’s 35-yard line to give his team favorable field position. Fafaul and the Bruins offense made quick work of the short field, and will now need some help from its defense to have a chance to tie the game.
UCLA still trails Utah, 52-38, after Mike Fafaul throws a red-zone interception
UCLA methodically drove to the doorstep of the end zone, but it ended with the Bruins’ fourth turnover of the game.
UCLA still trails Utah, 52-38, with the game clock nearing the five-minute mark.
Fafaul repeatedly worked the ball to Nate Iese on the drive, starting it with a 15-yard completion to the tight end. It was then an 11-yard completion to Iese that moved the Bruins into the red zone, where they eventually faced third and goal at the eight-yard line.
Fafaul hit Jordan Lasley for a two-yard gain, which set up a crucial fourth and five. Fafaul was hit as he released his fourt-down pass, and the ball fluttered into the waiting hands of Utah’s Jordan Fogal.
UCLA trails Utah, 52-38, and cannot stop running back Joe Williams
Joe Williams cannot be stopped.
The Utah running back broke loose for a 55-yard touchdown on the first play of the Utes’ latest drive. That gave Utah a 52-38 lead over the Bruins with 10:28 left in the game.
More impressively, the dash into the end zone gave Williams 315 yards -- the most by an FBS player this season -- and four touchdowns on the day. He has carried the ball 23 times.
UCLA cuts into Utah’s lead with a field goal, Bruins trail 45-38
The game isn’t over, so you know UCLA is still throwing the ball.
Fafaul targeted Eldridge Massington with a deep ball up the right side he appeared to catch as he ran from the sunlight into the shadows, only the receiver couldn’t hold on to the ball.
No matter. Fafaul just threw the ball again, this time for a 20-yard gain to put the Bruins across midfield.
Utah cornerback Dominique Hatfield, who was posterized by USC’s JuJu Smith-Schuster last season, made the tackle on Ellington before suffering an injury and leaving the game.
On the next play, Fafaul boosted his rushing numbers, with a 15-yard carry up the middle on good coverage from Utah ending the third quarter. He has a team-high 24 yards on two carries.
The fourth quarter could have started better.
Fafaul’s first pass was batted down at the line by Pasoni Tasini. The next snap came out high, but Fafaul was able to flip the ball to the streaking Ishmael Adams, only he never got going forward and was eventually pushed out of bounds for a one-yard loss.
Bolu Olorunfunmi had the right idea, rushing for nine yards on the next play, but still short of the first down, UCLA elected to go for a field goal.
Andrew Strauch was true from 39 yards out, cutting Utah’s lead down by three points.
The Utes lead the Bruins, 45-38, with 13:44 left in the fourth quarter.
Fafaul intercepted, then Utah’s Joe Williams runs 64-yards for a touchdown
UCLA has relied on its passing game all afternoon with its run game in shambles. Such reliance has pushed Mike Fafaul to the brink.
Fafaul was intercepted on his 50th pass of the day, which “set up” Utah running back Joe Williams with a 64-yard touchdown run.
Williams now has 253 yards rushing in 20 carries with three touchdowns.
Utah leads UCLA 45-35 with 49 seconds left in the third quarter.
Utah settles for a field goal and a 38-35 lead over UCLA
Utah really didn’t have to do that much work on this drive to retake the lead.
Troy Williams’ first pass went 11 yards to Cory Butler-Byrd to give Utah a first down.
Outside of Joe Williams, who is approaching 200 yards rushing on the day, Utah really doesn’t have much of a run game.
Williams rushed for 16 yards on the next play before letting Zach Moss take another carry for one yard.
After all that work, the Utah offensive line couldn’t stop Takkarist McKinley from breaking through and collecting his third sack of Williams for a six-yard loss. His next pass fell incomplete setting Andy Phillips up with a 46-yard field goal.
Utah leads UCLA, 38-35, with 1:39 left in the third quarter.
UCLA goes three-and-out, still tied with Utah, 35-35
Well that was quick.
Mike Fafaul’s first two passes fell incomplete before he connected with running back Bolu Olorunfunmi on a two-yard pass on third and ten.
Stefan Flintoft punt goes 51 yards and is returned seven yards by Boobie Hobbs.
Utah can’t answer Lasley’s big touchdown
UCLA’s defense only had a short break thanks to Jordan Lasley’s 75-yard catch-and-run for a score on the Bruins’ previous possession.
Joe Williams needed two carries to get the Utes their initial first down. Troy Williams’ first pass went incomplete and was followed by a two-yard run by Zach Moss.
Facing a third and seven, Williams appeared to overthrow his receiver to the right side, but the Bruins were called for pass interference.
Williams’ next pass was incomplete. Cory Butler-Byrd ran for five yards on the next play. UCLA’s Jayon Brown sacked Williams on third and five bringing out the punt team.
A good punt from Mitch Wishnowsky sets the Bruins up at their own six yardline.
UCLA and Utah are tied, 35-35, with 5:16 left in the third quarter.
UCLA and Utah are tied, 35-35, in the third quarter
UCLA fired right back after Utah scored on its first possession of the half, as Jordan Lasley caught a Mike Fafaul pass and then sprinted down the field for a 75-yard touchdown.
The Bruins and Utah are now tied, 35-35, with 9:01 left in the third quarter. There has already been 21 points scored in the third quarter.
UCLA’s Jordan Lasley ties it up with a 75-yard touchdown grab
UCLA trails Utah, 35-28, in the third quarter
Utah wasted no time in answering UCLA, marching down the field for a touchdown. The nine-play drive ended with Troy Williams scrambling for a two-yard touchdown, and the Utes then converted a two-point try to seize a 35-28 lead with 9:18 left in the third quarter.
Utah’s first drive of the second half was jumpstarted by a 14-yard pass from Troy Williams to Siaosi Wilson. Two plays later, running back Joe Williams ran 26 yards to the UCLA 24-yard line. He then ran for 11 yards on the next down, and then scampered to the two-yard line.
On the next play, with the Utes facing third and two, Troy Williams barreled into the end zone.
UCLA leads Utah, 28-27, in the third quarter
On UCLA’s first possession of the second half, quarterback Mike Fafaul found tight end Nate Iese for a 50-yard touchdown. The score gave the Bruins a 28-27 lead with 13:30 left in the third quarter, and came at the end of a six play, 75-yard drive.
Fafaul worked UCLA to midfield with a 14-yard pass to Kenneth Walker III, and then hit Iese over the middle a play later.
Iese caught the pass, cut inside to shake on defender and then staved off chasing tacklers before stumbling into the end zone. He now has five catches for 113 yards and two touchdowns in the game.
The UCLA passing game has spent all season trying to nail down a go-to target, and Fafaul has made Iese the centerpiece of the offense on Saturday.
UCLA-Utah: Halftime stats
UCLA trailed by 14 points in a flash, and then clawed its way to a seven-point lead on the back of backup quarterback Mike Fafaul.
Utah bounced back to regain a 27-21 lead by halftime, and here are some notable stats from the first two quarters of action.
-Fafaul, playing in place of the injured Josh Rosen, completed 20 of 37 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw two interceptions, and lost a fumble toward the end of the half.
-The UCLA rushing attack is still nonexistent, as the Bruins gained 12 yards on seven carries. Seven of those came on the Fafaul run that ended in a fumble. Bolu Olorunfunmi did run for a touchdown, but he collected just four yards on five rushing attempts.
-Nate Iese led all UCLA receivers with four catches for 63 yards in the first half. He also caught a touchdown, and Fafaul also found Olorunfunmi for a score.
-In total, UCLA gained 204 yards on 44 plays in the first half.
-Quarterback Troy Williams completed eight of 16 passes for 145 yards. He also tossed an interception, and rushed for 17 yards on eight carries.
-Utah running back Joe Williams gained 113 yards on 12 first-half carries. His productive half included two rushing downs, one for 43 yards.
-Cory Butler-Byrd caught three passes for 58 yards in the first half, and also returned the opening kickoff of the game for a 90-yard touchdown.
-In total, Utah gained 279 yards on 38 plays in the first half.
UCLA trails Utah, 27-21, at halftime
UCLA quarterback Mike Fafaul committed two turnovers in three plays, and the second one gave Utah possession on the Bruins’ 28-yard line in the final minute of the first half.
That set up a 45-yard field goal attempt for Utes kicker Andy Phillips, and he knocked it through to give his team a 27-21 halftime lead.
On the first turnover, Fafaul was scrambling toward the first-down marker and had the ball stripped before his knee touched the ground. Chase Hansen recovered the ball on the UCLA 35-yard line, and the Utes quickly marched to the 14-yard line when Troy Williams found Evan Moeai for a 21-yard gain.
Utah faced third and nine two plays later, and Williams’ pass was tipped up into the air and intercepted by UCLA linebacker Jayon Brown. Two plays after that, Fafaul threw an interception to Brian Allen with 52 seconds on the clock.
That ultimately led to Phillips’ second field goal of the game, which stretched Utah’s lead to six points after a back-and-forth first half.
UCLA trails Utah, 24-21, in the second quarter
One moment UCLA was trying to convert on fourth and short, and the next its defenders were chasing Utah running back Joe Williams as he sprinted into the end zone.
Williams’ 43-yard touchdown run, his second score of the game, gives the Utes a 24-21 lead over the Bruins with 6:55 left in the second quarter.
After quickly scoring 21 points, the UCLA offense has stalled in the second quarter. Its latest shortcoming was a turnover on downs, as the Bruins have three rushing yards on five attempts in the game.
On the second play of the drive, Mike Fafaul hit Ishmael Adams for an 11-yard gain and a first down. UCLA then moved within a yard of the first-down marker at Utah’s 47-yard line, and rushed to the line for a Fafaul sneak on fourth and one.
But Utah called a timeout to challenge the spot of the ball. The spot was confirmed and the Bruins’ offense jogged out again, and this time tried to use a running back to pick up the first down.
Fafaul handed the ball to Bolu Olorunfunmi out of the shotgun and Utes defender Jordan Fogal dropped Olorunfunmi immediately for a one-yard loss to give his team possession.
Two plays later, Williams shot through the Utah offensive line and into the zone.
UCLA leads Utah, 21-17, in the second quarter
This time it was Utah capitalizing on a turnover, as Andy Phillips nailed a 45-yard field goal.
UCLA now leads Utah, 21-17, early in the second quarter.
Utah kicker Andy Phillips pushed a 44-yard field goal wide right, which gave UCLA a chance to build its lead to two scores. But Bruins quarterback Mike Fafaul threw an interception on the second play of the drive. Fafaul threw the ball over Eldridge Massington’s head and straight into the arms of Jordan Fogal.
The Utes picked up a first down on back-to-back plays, and then quarterback Troy Williams hit wide receiver Tim Patrick in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. Utah was then called for a 15-yard chop block penalty, which negated the touchdown and set up first and 25.
Utah could not pick up a first down after the quarter break, and Phillips knocked in the 45-yard field goal to cut into UCLA’s lead.
UCLA leads Utah, 21-14, in the first quarter
UCLA made the most of a turnover in Utah territory and grabbed a 21-14 lead on a seven-yard run by Bolu Olorunfunmi.
UCLA defensive end Takkarist McKinley got it started by sacking Utes quarterback Troy Williams on two consecutive plays.
On the second sack, McKinley ripped the ball out of Williams’ hands as the two went to the ground and UCLA recovered. The referees initially ruled that Williams was down before the fumble, but a replay review granted possession to the Bruins at Utah’s 14-yard line.
QB Mike Fafaul hit tight end Nate Iese for eight yards on the first play of the ensuing possession, and then threw an incomplete pass on the next down. That set up third and two, and that’s when Olorunfunmi forced his way into the end zone with some help from his blockers.
UCLA and Utah are tied, 14-14, in the first quarter
After falling behind by 14 in the first four minutes, UCLA has scored on back-to-back possession to knot the score at 14-14 with 6:08 left in the first quarter.
To finish off a 76-yard drive, Mike Fafaul hit tight end Nate Iese for a 13-yard touchdown.
On the first play of the drive, Fafaul hit Jordan Lasley for a 12 yards and a first down. Two plays later, Fafaul found Iese over the middle for a 27-yard gain. Iese bobbled the pass at first, but then corralled it before rumbling into Utah territory.
Fafaul then hit Lasley for another first down, and then a pass interference call moved the Bruins down to the Utes’ 13-yard line.
Two plays later, Fafaul pumped once before hitting Iese for the score.
UCLA trails Utah, 14-7, in the first quarter
It was a drive aided by penalties every step of the way, but it resulted in a UCLA touchdown nonetheless. After Mike Fafaul found running back Bolu Olorunfunmi for an 11-yard touchdown pass, the Bruins trail No. 19 Utah, 14-7, with 9:48 left in the first quarter.
UCLA was in danger of a second straight three and out, but a pass interference penalty moved the chains. Two plays later, Fafaul found tight end Nate Iese for 16 yards and another first down.
The Utes defense then helped the Bruins again, with another pass interference call moving UCLA to Utah’s 27-yard line. Fafaul nearly hit Olorunfunmi for another first, but the running back could not come up with a juggling catch. On the next play, Utah linebacker Cody Barton was called for roughing the passer, further aiding the UCLA offense.
It capitalized, as Fafaul flung a screen to Olorunfunmi before he scampered into the end zone.
UCLA trails Utah, 14-0, early in the first quarter
If any fans in the Rose Bowl blinked in the first three minutes and 22 seconds of the game, they may have missed Utah building a 14-0 lead over UCLA.
Joe Williams bounced into the end zone for a four-yard touchdown, which punctuated a four-play, 59-yard drive that lasted just 1:47 of game time.
UCLA went three and out on its first possession, and two runs by Bolu Olorunfunmi netted minus-two yards. Olorunfunmi was shaken up at the end of the second run and was helped off the field.
On the first play of Utah’s first drive — the Utes returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown to grab a 7-0 lead — Troy Williams found Siaosi Wilson for a 42-yard gain down to the Bruins’ 17-yard line. A 10-yard rush by Joe Williams moved Utah to the three, and then Williams rumbled into the end zone.
Utah runs UCLA’s opening kickoff back for a touchdown, leads 7-0
The start of the UCLA-Utah game stalled because there were no pylons on the field.
But when it finally did start, Cory Butler-Byrd sprinted at the front-left pylon for a 90-yard touchdown on the opening kickoff. It took the No. 19 Utes just 12 seconds to grab a 7-0 lead, and now backup quarterback Mike Fafaul will lead the UCLA offense onto the field.
The Bruins deferred possession after winning the coin toss, and certainly paid the price.
Josh Rosen will not start for the second consecutive week
Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen, who sustained two injuries (leg and shoulder) against Arizona State two weeks ago, will not start against No. 19 Utah at the Rose Bowl on Saturday.
Mike Fafaul, who replaced Rosen in a loss to Washington State last week, walked out for the opening coin toss as the Bruins’ offensive captain. UCLA (3-4, 1-3) is barely hanging on in the Pac-12 South standings, and will need Fafaul to navigate them to a win in just his second career start.
UCLA vs. No. 19 Utah: How they match up
Most intriguing story line: The now-or-never vibe around UCLA this week has been unusual for a midseason game. The Bruins never had a sub-.500 record this far into a season under Coach Jim Mora until suffering their third defeat in four games last week against Washington State. Another setback this week would leave them facing the strong possibility of a losing season.
UCLA pass offense vs. Utah pass defense: Josh Rosen was back at practice Wednesday, about the best possible development for the Bruins amid a season veering uncomfortably close to ruin. Even if Rosen is not able to return from the lower body and shoulder-area injuries that sidelined him against Washington State, UCLA has to feel much better about its passing game than it did a week ago.
Josh Rosen’s status is again uncertain heading into Utah game
Josh Rosen watch continues in Pasadena on Saturday, as the star quarterback’s status remains unclear ahead of the Bruins’ (3-4, 1-3 Pac-12 play) game against No. 19 Utah (6-1, 4-1) at the Rose Bowl.
Rosen sustained leg and shoulder injuries in a loss to Arizona State two weeks ago. He did not play in UCLA’s loss at Washington State last week.
When the Bruins first took the field, deciphering whether he will play against the Utes was ... confusing.
There was a bit more clarity as the UCLA offense started warming up more. Mike Fafaul, who started in place of Rosen last week, threw passes while Rosen watched.
As pregame warmups wear on, it is becoming increasingly clear that Rosen could be sidelined for a second consecutive week.
Jim Mora is vowing to fix UCLA’s run game, but what can change?
UCLA faces No. 19 Utah at the Rose Bowl on Pasadena on Saturday, which provides another chance to answer the question that has followed it throughout a disappointing season: Can the Bruins run the football?
Or, maybe more appropriately, can the Bruins run the football at all? UCLA (3-4, 1-3 in Pac-12 play) is slowly slipping out of the Pac-12 South standings. Utah (6-1, 3-1) sits atop the division standings and has a good chance of keeping UCLA from gaining any traction on the ground.
The Utes have allowed 130 rushing yards per game this season, which ranks 27th in the country. The Bruins have rushed for 91.1 yards per game, which ranks 126 out of 128 major college programs. UCLA picked up 43 yards on 25 carries in its loss to Washington State last week. A week before that, it gained minus-two yards on the ground in a loss to Arizona State.
Utah’s front is stingier than the ones those two teams roll onto the field. Bruins Coach Jim Mora said there will be changes made to the rushing attack this week, but it’s not the first time he has promised that this season.
The first big change was featuring Nate Starks more than Bolu Olorunfunmi and Soso Jamabo. The three backs formed a three-headed monster of sorts to start the season, and then Mora said it would likely be better to make one of them the feature back.
The results were more of the same. So what’s Mora’s next move to fix a broken ground game?
We’ll find out when the game kicks off at 1 p.m. We’ll also quickly find out whether this shift in tactics makes any difference at all.
Breakdowns have put Coach Jim Mora in an unfamiliar spot with No. 19 Utah on deck
It’s really the first time we’ve had a problem present itself that we haven’t been able to solve right away, which is the run game.
UCLA Coach Jim Mora
The disappointments during Jim Mora’s first four seasons at UCLA were mostly of the we’ll-get-’em-next-time variety.
There were two 10-win seasons that didn’t lead to a major bowl. A trip to the Pac-12 Conference championship game that ended in defeat. A poor finish to the 2015 season that included a loss in the Foster Farms Bowl.
Mora’s success was widely thought to have stabilized Bruins Athletic Director Dan Guerrero’s job security while reviving a program that had fallen onto drowsy times under predecessors Rick Neuheisel and Karl Dorrell.
Now, for the first time under Mora, the Bruins have hit a football DEFCON 3-4.