Thursday, May 2024

                                    By Mykell Mathieu Sports Reporter

UCLA went into last Saturday’s matchup with a chance to prove they will be a team to be that can compete for a Pac-12 football championship. The defense showed up but the offense forgot its invitation to the party as the 3-1 Bruins suffered their first defeat of the year, 14-7 against 4-0 Utah.

The opening play of the game for the Bruins’ offense would foreshadow how the rest of the game would look. Freshman quarterback Dante Moore dropped back for his first attempt of the game and telegraphed a pass to the left. A Utah defender jumped in front of the pass and took it to the endzone for a 21 touchdown.

Utah’s defense dominated the rest of the way. The Bruins didn’t score their first points until Moore found Josiah Norwood for a 17-yard touchdown with 3:39 to play in the fourth and final period. Moore, who performed well his first three games of his collegiate career, struggled throughout his first true test against a good Utah team. “That is a great defense. It was a great atmosphere. Everything was going in their favor. They had so many ways to stop our offense,” said Moore.

Moore finished the game 15 of 35 for 234 yards with his opening interception and a crucial red zone fumble in the third quarter. “I can put this loss on me for sure,” said Moore. “I know me being so young, not many people would say that, but I will put this loss on me for sure and we just got to bounce back from it.”

The passing game had major issues but so did the running game. The team was only able to muster up 9 yards with 32 carries. After TJ Harden and Carson Steele dominated the week prior. They couldn’t get much going in Salt Lake City.

“The total offense was an issue, so we need to get that straightened out at every level,” said Kelly after his offense’s very mediocre performance. “I don’t think it just falls on one person. We have to do a better job as a coaching staff, put those guys in a position to make plays. “The defense did its part, playing at a high level only allowing a single score from the Utah offense.

UCLA’s defense carried over its play from the first three games to shut down the talented Utah offense. The defense only allowed 219 total yards in the tough loss.

The Bruins now has a chance to regroup offensively with a bye week and then they have to get ready to play a very good Washington State team, another highly ranked Pac-12 foe at the Rose Bowl Stadium on October 7, at 12 p.m.

The Pac-12 conference currently has four teams ranked in the top 10, with Washington at No.7, USC at No.8, Oregon at No.9 and Utah at No.10. Also, two other Pac-12 teams are ranked in the top 20. Washington State is No. 16 and Oregon State is in the No.19 position. Before the Utah game the Bruins were No.22. After that game they were knocked out of the to