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UCLA vs. Utah Prediction, Game Preview

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UCLA vs. Utah prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins Saturday afternoon’s matchup between the Bruins and Utes.


When: Saturday, Oct. 22 – 4:00 p.m. ET
Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
TV Broadcast: FOX

UCLA (3-4) fans probably wish they could hit reset on the 2016 season, but unfortunately for them, that’s not an option. After they pulled even at 3-3 with a win over Arizona, the Bruins went on the road against Arizona State and Washington State and lost both games. Last weekend’s 27-21 loss to the Cougars saw UCLA fall behind 24-7 at the end of the third quarter, and a 14-3 run in the fourth quarter wasn’t enough for Jim Mora’s team.

As for Kyle Whittingham’s team, it’s looking to go streaking for the second time this season. After winning its first four games, Utah (6-1) fell on the road to Cal in Week 5. The Utes responded by winning back-to-back games against Arizona and Oregon State. The 19-14 road win versus the Beavers saw Utah get out to an early 12-0 lead and hold on for the victory.

The Bruins have controlled the all-time series with the Utes, 11-3, and UCLA ended up taking last year’s meeting in Salt Lake City, 17-9. Utah’s last win was in 2014 in Pasadena, 30-28.

What To Know About UCLA

Well, Josh Rosen ended up missing the game against Washington State with a shoulder injury, and now it seems as though he could miss this one against Utah. That’s clearly a problem. Rosen has completed 59.3 percent of his passes for 1,915 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, but his replacement wasn’t too bad last weekend. Mike Fafaul connected on 24-of-40 passes for 258 yards and three touchdowns, but he also threw two interceptions.

As expected, the Bruins could not get the chains moving with the running game. They amassed only 43 rushing yards on 25 carries. Bolu Olorunfunmi supplied 22 rushing yards, and Nate Starks chipped in seven yards of his own. Both were given 10 carries. As for Soso Jamabo, he was bottled up once again with 12 rushing yards on only two touches.

What to Know About Utah

The Utes aren’t without their own quarterback problems. Troy Williams completed 4-of-13 passes for 42 yards in the win over Oregon State. Cory Butler caught two of those passes for 12 yards, and both Raelon Singleton and Demari Simpkins reeled in a single throw. But the running game was much more effective. Utah relied on Joe Williams and his 34 carries for 179 rushing yards and a touchdown. Troy Williams added 40 rushing yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, too, while Butler ran for 54 yards of his own.

Advantages

Offense: Utah – Rosen’s banged up, and the Bruins can’t run the ball. This goes to the Utes.

Defense: Utah – The Utes have been stingy against the run and are No. 16 in scoring defense, allowing 18.3 points per game.

Special Teams: Utah – Andy Phillips has already accounted for 51 total points so far, and Butler is averaging 23.3 yards per kick return.

Coaching: Utah – Both Mora and Whittingham are solid coaches, but the latter has his team playing well in spite of its injuries.

Matchup To Watch

Utah rushing attack vs. UCLA run defense

If Rosen can’t go, that will be a huge blow for the Bruins. But still, it seems as though they have the advantage even with Fafaul under center. The real key to this game will be whether or not UCLA can slow down the Utes on the ground. Troy Williams and Joe Williams can do work when toting the rock, and Utah will not be afraid to ground and pound this one out. The Bruins will have to spy Troy and plug up the gaps to force the Utes into the air.

Betting Odds

Spread: No line as of post
Over/Under: No line as of post

UCLA vs. Utah Prediction

UCLA has done well stopping the run this year, but it won’t be able to slow down the Utes enough to win the game. Rosen’s status has a huge impact, but assuming he can’t go for the second straight week, the Utes are going to force a couple of turnovers, flip the field and control the clock by pounding the rock. The Bruins will put up some points, but Utah will take control of the game right before halftime and hold onto it throughout the second half to add another win to its record.

UCLA vs. Utah Score Prediction: Utah 31, UCLA 21

MORE: No. 1-128 College Football Rankings – Week 8

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