UCLA dominates Utah behind Zach Charbonnet and Dorian Thompson-Robinson

UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet carries the ball against Utah.
UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet carries the ball against Utah in the second quarter Saturday at the Rose Bowl.
(Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson sets a passing record and Zach Charbonnet rushes for nearly 200 yards as UCLA remains undefeated by beating the Utes.

No. 18 UCLA wins decisively over No. 11 Utah for biggest victory of Chip Kelly era

After UCLA won every nonconference game, it was dismissed as having persevered through a soft schedule.

After UCLA beat winless Colorado, the college football world continued to shrug.

After UCLA toppled nationally ranked Washington, some buzz finally started to build.

On Saturday afternoon, a new narrative might have formed: Maybe there’s no better team in the Pac-12 Conference.

Having gone from disregarded to dominant, the No. 18 Bruins knocked off the defending conference champions in convincing fashion, their 42-32 victory over No. 11 Utah at the Rose Bowl not fully reflected in the final score.

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Dorian Thompson-Robinson once again proves he’s the best college QB in L.A.

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson passes during a win over Utah on Saturday.
UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson passes during a win over Utah on Saturday at the Rose Bowl.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The best college quarterback in Los Angeles threw the ball against a harrowing blitz, threw it while furiously backpedaling, threw it perfectly and poetically.

In a warm Saturday afternoon glow at the Rose Bowl, Dorian Thompson-Robinson dumped the ball to Logan Loya and into UCLA history.

Loya sprinted 70 yards around frozen Utah defenders for the clinching touchdown in the Bruins’ stunning 42-32 victory, at which point the best college quarterback in Los Angeles wonderfully lost his mind.

Thompson-Robinson wildly skipped and jumped and danced to the end zone. He tore off his helmet and screamed to the sky. He stalked the Bruins sidelines and pumped his fists.

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UCLA knocks off Utah to move to 6-0

UCLA wide receiver Jake Bobo celebrates with quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson.
UCLA wide receiver Jake Bobo, left, celebrates with quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson after a touchdown catch in the third quarter Saturday.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

UCLA is on cloud nine.

UCLA won its ninth consecutive game and snapped a five-game losing streak to Utah with a 42-32 victory over the No. 11 Utes at the Rose Bowl on Saturday. The No. 18 Bruins are 6-0 for the first time since 2005 after knocking off their second consecutive ranked opponent.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson moved into first place on UCLA’s all-time touchdown passes list, topping Brett Hundley with 76 for his career after throwing for four touchdowns Saturday. The fifth-year senior was 18-for-23 passing for 299 yards with five total touchdowns including one rushing score. His one blemish was a pick-six to Utah’s Clark Phillips, who returned the interception for an 80-yard touchdown in the last minute of the game.

But nothing could stop UCLA from asserting itself as a legitimate Pac-12 contender after dethroning the reigning champs.

Zach Charbonnet rushed for 198 yards in 22 carries for UCLA, which amassed 511 yards from scrimmage.

UCLA’s defense, which came in to the game ranked second in the Pac-12 after Utah’s conference-leading unit in yards allowed per game, made up for allowing a season-high 479 yards by forcing two takeaways.

Linebacker Darius Muasau had an interception and a forced fumble against Utah quarterback Cam Rising, who scored two rushing touchdowns but was held without a passing touchdown on 23-for-32 passing for 287 yards.


UCLA defense is shining in the fourth quarter

Although Utah is outgaining UCLA 479-461, an opportunistic Bruin defense has UCLA up 42-25 after a turnover on downs with 6:05 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Laiatu Latu and Jacob Sykes combined for a third-down sack, which gave the Utes fourth-and-nine from the UCLA 32. Quarterback Cam Rising found Money Parks for a short pass and the receiver pushed forward for four yards after the catch, but still came up one yard short.

The Bruins are putting together this defensive effort that includes two takeaways without starting safety Stephan Blaylock, who was disqualified for targeting in the first quarter. Safety Mo Osling III is stepping up in Blaylock’s absence with 10 tackles, including eight solo stops, and one pass breakup.


Cam Rising fumbles on fourth down, UCLA scores and leads 42-25

Cam Rising got the one yard he needed for the first down, but just reaching the line to gain wasn’t enough to keep Utah’s drive alive.

After Rising plowed into the pile on fourth-and-one, Darius Muasau, who already has an interception today, forced a fumble in the scrum, and Jaylin Davies scooped up the loose ball for UCLA. The defensive back returned it to the Utah one-yard line and Zach Charbonnet had no problem scoring from there to put the Bruins up 42-25 with 9:26 remaining.

Muasau, a transfer from Hawaii, also has seven tackles, second on UCLA’s defense after Mo Osling III’s 10.


Logan Loya’s speed helps Dorian Thompson-Robinson reach No. 1 on UCLA TD list

Logan Loya turned on the afterburners as he raced away from Utah’s defenders for a 70-yard touchdown after catching a short pass over the middle.

The play put UCLA up 35-25 with 11:17 and pushed Dorian Thompson-Robinson into first place on UCLA’s all-time touchdown passes list. The announcement earned a loud applause from the Rose Bowl crowd.

While Thompson-Robinson will get the historic accolade over former UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, it was Loya who made the play as he hit another gear and dusted the entire Utah defense on his first touch of the game.

Thompson-Robinson is 16-for-20 passing for 277 yards and four touchdowns after the quick two-play drive.


Cam Rising fires back with touchdown run

As Cam Rising tucked the ball, ran around and through defenders and into the end zone for a nine-yard touchdown, my colleague Ben Bolch offered possibly the best description for the Utah quarterback.

“He’s tough.”

Rising isn’t letting down in this heavyweight fight as he led Utah on a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive to pull back to within one score. Utah trails 28-25 with 11:39 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Penalties bit the Bruins again on the drive as Jay Toia was called offside on fourth-and-two, giving the Utes a free first down. Rising found Money Parks for a 24-yard pass on the very next play to get Utah into the red zone. The Utes scored two plays later.

Rising is 18-of-26 for 238 yards and one interception with two rushing touchdowns on nine carries.


Dorian Thompson-Robinson ties school record for career touchdown passes

Move over Brett Hundley, Dorian Thompson-Robinson is here.

The UCLA quarterback threw his third touchdown pass of the game to put UCLA up 28-18 and push himself into a tie for first on UCLA’s career touchdown chart. He has 75 total touchdown passes, matching Hundley.

He is 14-for-18 passing for 183 yards after his latest score, a 10-yard completion to Jake Bobo, who has caught two touchdown passes.

After UCLA bailed the Utah offense out with a third-down defensive penalty on the last drive, the Utes repaid the favor with a roughing the passer penalty that negated a third-down stop. Utah has been called for three penalties for 24 yards compared to UCLA’s nine for 62 yards.

But the Bruins haven’t let the penalties derail them. On the first play after a red-zone false start called on Garrett DiGiorgio, Thompson-Robinson found Bobo wide open in the middle of the end zone.


Cam Rising scores as Utah pulls within one possession

Three UCLA penalties on two plays and Utah is now within one score.

UCLA’s Devin Kirkwood was called for pass interference on third-and-nine, which negated an incomplete pass. Instead of fourth down from the 21-yard line, Utah got the ball at the UCLA six-yard line and quarterback Cam Rising rushed to the right side for a touchdown. After the scoring play, UCLA was called for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on twins Gabriel and Grayson Murphy.

Utah accepted one penalty on the two-point try, making it easier for Rising to rush for the successful conversion and pull the Utes to within 21-18 with 5:01 to play in the third quarter.

Rising is 14-of-21 passing for 189 yards and one incompletion. He has 37 rushing yards and one touchdown on seven carries.


UCLA cashes in on short field to open second half

After deferring the coin toss, UCLA received the second-half kickoff and converted a short field into a five-yard touchdown pass from Dorian Thompson-Robinson to Kam Brown.

UCLA leads 21-10 with 10:50 remaining in the third quarter.

Kazmeir Allen set the Bruins up with a 43-yard kickoff return, which put UCLA at the Utah 48-yard line.

Thompson-Robinson converted a key third-and-one with a four-yard scramble. He nearly found Jake Bobo in the back of the end zone for a touchdown on second-and-goal from the five, but the pass went off the typically reliable receiver’s hands. Thompson-Robinson reloaded with a pass to Brown on the next play.


Utah misses field goal as first half ends with UCLA ahead

UCLA can exhale on the way to the locker room as Utah’s 43-yard field-goal attempt to end the first half sailed wide.

The teams traded missed field-goal tries late in the half and UCLA takes a 14-10 lead into the third quarter.

After struggling with injuries to start the year, Zach Charbonnet already has a season-high 125 rushing yards on 10 carries. He is coming off 124 rushing yards on 22 carries in last week’s win against Washington. He has explosive runs of 49 and 44 yards against Utah.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson is 10-of-12 passing for 130 yards and one touchdown with another score on the ground.

Utah’s Cam Rising shook off a first-quarter interception to throw a touchdown pass and push the Utes into field-goal range in the final minute of the half. Rising is 11 of 17 for 151 yards, including 10 of 12 since throwing his one interception. The Utes outgained UCLA 279-271 in the half.


UCLA comes up empty in red zone late in the first half

Forget about another effortless scoring drive for the Bruins.

Zach Charbonnet had a tough 49-yard run to put UCLA on Utah’s eight-yard line, but the Bruins had a settle for a 23-yard field goal when they musterd only five more yards on the next three plays. Nicholas Barr-Mira’s kick went off the left upright, keeping the score at 14-10 in the final minute of the second quarter.


Cam Rising bouncing back as Utah scores touchdown

Utah has entered the chat.

With quarterback Cam Rising completing seven consecutive passes since throwing an interception, Utah scored its first touchdown and trails 14-10 after a five-yard touchdown run from Tavion Thomas.

Rising completed all five of his passes on the drive, including back-to-back completions of 23 and 21 yards to bring the Utes into the red zone. Rising is eight of 12 for 110 yards and one interception. Two of his incompletions are drops.


UCLA offense rolling with second touchdown of the first half

The Bruins are rolling now.

After a slow start against Utah’s stout defense, UCLA has scored touchdowns on consecutive drives to go up 14-3 with 7:34 remaining in the second quarter.

On first-and-goal from the seven, UCLA tricked the defense with pre-snap motion and a fake handoff, allowing Dorian Thompson-Robinson to throw a jump pass to a wide-open Jake Bobo in the back of the end zone. The 6-foot-5 receiver tapped one foot in the end zone for his team-leading fourth touchdown catch of the year.

Zach Charbonnet sparked the drive early with a 44-yard run on the first play. The star running back now has 64 rushing yards on six carries.

Thompson-Robinson is nine-for-10 passing for 117 yards and one touchdown. He has another rushing touchdown.


Utah settles for short field goal to cut UCLA lead to 7-3

UCLA let Utah drive into the red zone, but kept the Utes out of the end zone with a key third-down tackle from Gabrial Murphy and Gary Smith III.

Utah kicked a 23-yard field goal and trails 7-3 with 10 minutes left in the second quarter.

Tavian Thomas led the charge down the field, rushing on seven of the 11 plays. He picked up seven yards on first-and-10 from the 11-yard line, but got only one yard on second down and was brought down in the back field on third down. The running back has 13 carries for 74 yards as Utah has 101 rushing yards.


Dorian Thompson-Robinson scores as first quarter ends

Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s seven-yard touchdown run has the Bruins up 7-0 entering the second quarter.

The quarterback flashed his full dual-threat skillset on the 97-yard drive. He completed passes of 49 and 23 yards to help the Bruins overcome the long field after an interception from Darius Muasau ended Utah’s best first-quarter march.

Thompson-Robinson is six-for-seven passing for 94 yards with 10 rushing yards on four carries. He’s completed passes to six different receivers, led by three catches by Kazmeir Allen.

Utah’s Cam Rising is just one for five for 14 yards and the interception. Two of his passes were dropped.


UCLA interception ends promising Utah drive

Two plays after Utah’s Cam Rising got his first completion, he threw his first interception of the game.

UCLA linebacker Darius Muasau picked off the Newbury Park High alum, who threw into triple coverage, and returned the ball to the UCLA 15.

But Stephan Blaylock was called for targeting on the return, disqualifying the UCLA star safety and backing the Bruins up to the three-yard line.


Teams locked in defensive battle

Both teams are showing why their defenses are among the best in the Pac-12.

Utah held UCLA to a three-and-out after the Bruins forced a punt and we’re still scoreless with 5:40 remaining in the first quarter.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson tried to use his legs to pick up one yard on third down, but Utah’s R.J. Hubert was not fooled as the safety dragged Thompson-Robinson down in an excellent open-field tackle for a four-yard loss.

Carl Jones Jr. had a big sack on Utah’s previous offensive possession, dropping quarterback Cam Rising for a seven-yard loss. Rising’s pass on third-and-14 was dropped by Micah Bernard, leading to a second Utah punt.

Utah has moved the ball slightly better than the Bruins with 42 yards compared to UCLA’s 27. The Utes are averaging 4.7 yards per rush.


UCLA, Utah trade punts on opening possessions

The late-arriving fans at the Rose Bowl haven’t missed anything yet. UCLA and Utah both punted on their opening possessions. Utah has the ball at its own 30-yard line to start its second offensive possession in a scoreless game with 9:46 remaining in the first quarter.

UCLA forced a punt on Utah’s opening drive after the Utes got to midfield. Defensive lineman Gary Smith III, who is working his way back from an injury, had a key stop on third-and-six, keeping Micah Bernard to a one-yard gain.

The Bruins were moving the ball well, but got slowed down with a dropped pass by Michael Ezeike on second-and-four. UCLA was called for a false start on the next play, backing up the offense up for a third-and-nine.


UCLA starts on defense against Utah

Hello, this is Thuc Nhi Nguyen, I’m driving our live blog today from the Rose Bowl as No. 18 UCLA hosts No. 11 Utah in a critical matchup for conference supremacy.

UCLA is 5-0 for the first time since 2013 and trying to end a five-game losing streak against the Utes (4-1, 2-0 Pac-12). It should be an even matchup as both teams are averaging more than 40 points — Utah is second in the Pac-12 with 42 points per game compared to UCLA’s 41.4 — and ranked first and second in the conference in total defense. Utah is the Pac-12’s stingiest defense allowing 278.6 yards per game. UCLA is not far behind at 318 yards per game.

The Bruins will start on defense after winning the toss and deferring.


After UCLA upset No. 15 Washington, it’s time to stop ignoring the Bruins

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson leaps over Washington linebacker Kamren Fabiculanan for extra yards.
UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson leaps over Washington linebacker Kamren Fabiculanan for extra yards during the Bruins’ win on Sept. 30.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Their season has been ignored, but no longer.

Their record has been minimized, but no more.

Their presence on this fall’s Los Angeles college football scene was completely overshadowed until Friday night, when the UCLA Bruins emerged from a cool darkness into the blinding brightness of legitimacy.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson hurdling. Zach Charbonnet sprinting. Jake Bobo bobbing. A defense swarming and slamming and suffocating.

Yeah, they’re pretty good.

And, yeah, it’s time to start paying attention.

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Can UCLA keep its viral season going? Four things to watch when Bruins face Utah

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson throws a pass during a win over Washington Sept. 30.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

They’re getting noticed.

The national rankings, the player-of-the-week awards, the sports-show hubbub was all a prelude to the joy that came the UCLA Bruins’ way on the eve of their latest showdown.

Brenden Clinton, creator of the college football skits that generate hundreds of thousands of views on Twitter, featured the Bruins in one of his fake film sessions. Most importantly, they weren’t the team that was the butt of every joke Clinton made while posing as a Washington coach berating his players.

The clip showed UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson sidestepping two Husky defenders who collide at the goal line, prompting Clinton to say, “Y’all run into each other like old friends. I mean, this is embarrassing, right? He made y’all cuddle! Look how long y’all stay in that position.”

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Jake Bobo establishing his own legacy as UCLA’s highlight-hogging playmaker

UCLA wide receiver Jake Bobo hydrates during Spring Showcase.
No. 18 UCLA probably wouldn’t be unbeaten without new playmaker Jake Bobo, a transfer from Duke.
(Kyusung Gong / For The Times)

Jake Bobo is a lot of things — an emerging force on UCLA’s offense, a cross-country voyager, indifferent to In-N-Out.

One thing he is not: the son of former college quarterback Mike Bobo.

Well, he is, actually. His father’s name is Mike Bobo. Dad briefly played quarterback in college.

There was enough overlap to confuse a television reporter who recently came to Bruins practice believing Jake was the son of Mike Bobo, onetime Georgia quarterback and longtime college coach who also has a son named Jake.

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One big hurdle cleared, Dorian Thompson-Robinson wants UCLA to reach much higher

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson leaves the field after the Bruins' win over Washington on Sept. 30.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

On a night of greatest hits for Dorian Thompson-Robinson, the topper might have been a hit delivered by the UCLA quarterback.

As a tipped pass fluttered into the air, Thompson-Robinson lowered his helmet into a defensive lineman’s abdomen to dislodge the ball so it wasn’t intercepted.

The veteran quarterback celebrated the first pass breakup of his career Friday night by waving his arms horizontally to signal incomplete.

“That was honestly my play of the game,” he said Monday.

There were lots of candidates.

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UCLA vs. Utah: Betting odds, lines, and picks against the spread

Las Vegas sportsbooks have the undefeated 18th-ranked UCLA Bruins (5-0, 2-0 in the Pac-12) as 3½-point home underdogs when they host the 11th-ranked Utah Utes at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in the Rose Bowl in a key Pac-12 battle.

UCLA coach Chip Kelly’s offense features dual-threat quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and running back Zach Charbonnet, but also an outstanding offensive line that leads the nation in fewest tackles for loss.

The Bruins are trying for their second-straight home upset as they were three-point underdogs vs. the Washington Huskies last Saturday in their 40-32 victory.

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