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UCLA edges Utah, 34-27, thanks to six interceptions

October 03, 2013|By Chris Dufresne and Chris Foster
  • Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley gets set to pass against Utah in the first quarter Thursday night in Salt Lake City.
Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley gets set to pass against Utah in the first… (Rick Bowmer, AP )

UCLA finally broke its jinx in the state of Utah with a hard-fought 34-27 win over the University of Utah at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Was it easy?

Well, um, no.

UCLA had a 10-point lead and nearly blew it.

It came down to one last play and one last interception.

Down by seven, facing fourth and 10 at the UCLA 23, Utah quarterback Travis Wilson was intercepted by freshman Myles Jack with 16 seconds left.

No. 12 UCLA (4-0) was able to take a knee and get out of Utah with its first Pac 12 Conference win.

It was Wilson's sixth interception of the game.

Utah kicker Andy Phillips had cut the lead to three when he banked a field goal off the left upright with 2:04 left.

Utah then got the ball back with an onsides kick that took the officials several minutes to sort out.

Shaq Evans had the ball stripped as he was sliding down with the recovery. Sean Fitzgerald recovered for the Utes.

The officials ruled Utah recovered it initially so it was going to be a tough play to overturn.

After a lengthy review, the officials upheld the ruling and that led to a hair-raising finish.

As they say, though, a win is a win is a win. UCLA improves to 1-0 in the Pac-12 South while Utah falls to 3-2 and 0-2.

UCLA had been outscored 134-12 in its last three trips to the state. The Bruins had not scored a touchdown in Utah since a game against Brigham Young in 1995.

The Bruins didn't play a great game but this was a far cry from its face-plant in 2007.

UCLA was ranked No. 11 that season when Karl Dorrell's Bruins came to Rice-Eccles and left a 44-6 loser.

This UCLA team showed more maturity in the face of adversity, and there was plenty of it.

Bruins sophomore quarterback Brett Hundley completed 17 of 27 passes for 211 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also had a receiving touchdown and finished with 85 yards on 20 carries.

Wilson passed for 288 yards and two touchdowns but his six interceptions were too much for Utah to overcome.

UCLA 34, Utah 24 (3:33 left in fourth quarter)

Anthony Jefferson did it again, picking off a pass by Utah's Travis Wilson for the second time.

It was a huge play as UCLA tried to protect a three-point lead.

It was the fifth pass by Wilson, a sophomore from San Clemente High, that the Bruins have picked off tonight.

UCLA took over at the Utah 40 and it didn't take long before a brilliant 36-yard touchdown run by Hundley put the Bruins up by 10 points.

The Fox announcers were right in saying uptempo offenses have a tough time running out the clock with a lead but it helps when your defense intercepts the opposing quarterback's passes five times.

Injury update: Receiver Shaq Evans grabbed his right knee at the 5:12 mark and hobbled off.

UCLA is starting to pile up some injuries as Evans joins tackle Torian White and running back Jordon James.

UCLA 27, Utah 24 (6:36 left in fourth quarter)

Ka'imi Fairbairn put UCLA back ahead with a 47-yard field goal.

Call this a sign of leadership and maturity.

Brett Hundley just threw the worst pass he's thrown as a Bruin but he calmly took his team right back down the field. UCLA got the ball back at its own 23 and methodically marched 47 yards in 12 plays.

Hundley made another big mistake when he was called for intentional grounding on second and six at the Utah 23.

It looked like it would take UCLA out of field-goal range, but Hundley then made a brilliant 14-yard scramble to get Fairbairn inside of 50 yards for the important attempt.

UCLA then made a big stop and forced a Utah punt with 6:36 left.

Can the Bruins hold on?

UCLA 24, Utah 24 (11:00 left in fourth quarter)

I think that's what you call a "turning point."

Pinned near his own end zone, and scrambling aimlessly out of the pocket, Brett Hundley did what coaches tell you never to do.

He threw weakly across the field into the right flat. Utah's Keith McGill stepped in front of the pass and returned it 19 yards of the tying touchdown with 13:23 left.

Oops.

It was a very un-Heisman like throw from Hundley, but there is plenty of time for him to make amends.

The offensive production has slowed to a crawl. Utah passed UCLA in total yards, 315 to 291.

UCLA 24, Utah 17 (end of third quarter)

The third quarter proved that, when all else fails, the Pac-12 Conference can produce occasional spurts of defense.

It just took more than a half to figure it out.

The first half produced 35 points and 500 yards but the third quarter was more like three yards and a cloud of rubber pellets.

The quarter produced one lousy field goal.

Things settled down and frankly we all needed the rest.

After UCLA took a 24-17 lead, the Bruins' defense forced a punt when Keenan Graham sacked Wilson for a five-yard loss on third down.

Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley appears fine after missing a series because of an issue with his head. Trainers did sideline tests that appeared to be checking him for concussion symptoms but obviously he was deemed well enough to return.

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