Jul 29, 2022; Los Angeles, CA, USA; A detailed view of UCLA Bruins helmet during Pac-12 Media Day at Novo Theater. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA names former RB DeShaun Foster head coach

UCLA named former Bruins running back DeShaun Foster as the program’s 19th head coach on Monday.

Foster, 44, replaces Chip Kelly, who departed last week to become the offensive coordinator at Ohio State.

Foster has 11 years of coaching experience following a six-season playing career in the NFL from 2003-08.

He has spent the past 10 seasons at his alma mater, including the past seven as running backs coach. He was the Bruins’ associate head coach in 2023.

“This is a dream come true,” Foster said. “I always envisioned being a Bruin ever since I was young, and now being the head coach at my alma mater is such a surreal feeling, and I’m grateful for this opportunity. The foundation of this program will be built on discipline, respect and enthusiasm. These are phenomenal young men, and I’m excited to hit the ground running.”

Foster played at UCLA from 1998-2001, rushing for 3,194 yards and 44 touchdowns and earning second-team All-American honors as a senior.

Drafted in the second round by Carolina in 2002, he rushed for 3,570 yards and 11 touchdowns in 79 games (42 starts) with the Panthers (2003-07) and San Francisco 49ers (2008).

“While undergoing a comprehensive search for our new head coach, DeShaun resonated from the start and throughout the whole process,” UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond said. “We are looking for a coach with integrity, energy and passion; someone who is a great teacher, who develops young men, is a great recruiter and fully embraces the NIL landscape to help our student-athletes. DeShaun checks all of those boxes and then some. He is a leader of men and a true Bruin. I am excited to partner with him as we usher UCLA Football into an exciting new era.”

Foster takes over a program that finished 8-5 last season under Kelly, including 4-5 in the Pac-12. The Bruins move into the Big Ten Conference in 2024.

–Field Level Media

Nov 25, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins head coach Chip Kelly watches from the sidelines in the fourth quarter against the California Golden Bears at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Chip Kelly departs UCLA after 6 seasons

UCLA’s debut in the Big Ten Conference next season also will come with a new head coach after Chip Kelly informed Bruins players Friday that he is leaving the program and the university later announced his departure.

Reports also indicate that Kelly is leaving UCLA after six seasons to become the offensive coordinator at Ohio State under head coach Ryan Day, a longtime friend. Kelly was the offensive coordinator at New Hampshire when Day was the quarterback there from 1998-2001.

“I want to sincerely thank Chip for his service to UCLA Football and our student-athletes across the past six seasons and wish the best to him and his wife Jill moving forward,” UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond said in a news release Friday.

Unlike Kelly’s time as the head coach at Oregon, when he went 46-7 from 2009-12, Kelly’s tenure at UCLA was far less impressive. Kelly’s Bruins teams went 35-34 and the team played in just two bowl games, winning the LA Bowl in December, 35-22 over Boise State.

While Kelly was on the hot seat over his mediocre results, the UCLA athletic department gave the coach a vote of confidence just after Thanksgiving, complimenting Kelly’s strong culture.

Kelly also has NFL experience, leaving Oregon to become the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles from 2013-15 and the San Francisco 49ers in 2016. Day was Kelly’s quarterbacks coach at San Francisco.

UCLA is not scheduled to face Ohio State in its inaugural run next season in the Big Ten, but the teams are set to face each other in 2025 at Columbus, Ohio.

UCLA is moving to the Big Ten along with rival Southern California. Pac-12 powers Washington and Oregon also are leaving for the Big Ten.

–Field Level Media

USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams (13) talks with USC Trojans head coach Lincoln Riley during the first half of the game against No. 6 Oregon Ducks on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore.

Rivals UCLA, USC stumble into final Pac-12 showdown

Los Angeles rivals UCLA and host Southern California meet Saturday in the 93rd installment of their annual series.

Both the Trojans (7-4, 5-3 Pac-12 Conference) and Bruins (6-4, 3-4) come into the matchup — the last before each leaves the Pac-12 for the Big Ten Conference — on losing streaks.

USC dropped its second consecutive game last Saturday, 36-27 at Oregon. The Trojans lost the previous week at home to undefeated Washington, 52-42.

“We’ve been … right on the doorstep of getting it done, but haven’t quite been able to get over the hump here in the second half of the season,” USC coach Lincoln Riley said on his radio show Monday. “When you set out big goals and you go for it, every now and then, you’re going to come up short.”

USC is out of contention for the Pac-12 championship heading into its regular-season finale. Defense has plagued the Trojans throughout their turbulent 2023, with opponents scoring at least 34 points in each of the last seven games.

Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch was dismissed before last week’s visit to Oregon, but USC still gave up passing touchdowns of 77 and 84 yards against the Ducks.

UCLA, meanwhile, has struggled on the other side of the ball in consecutive losses of 27-10 at Arizona on Nov. 4 and 17-7 at home last week to Arizona State.

The Bruins had three consecutive possessions deep in Arizona State territory end without producing any points.

Quarterback injuries have impacted UCLA offensively.

Dante Moore did not play against Arizona State, but Bruins coach Chip Kelly said on Monday he is practicing. The freshman is 91-for-75 on the season for 1,344 yards with 10 TDs but has been intercepted seven times.

Fellow Bruins QB Ethan Garbers is 64-for-94 for 786 yards with six touchdowns and three picks, while Collin Schlee has operated primarily as a ball-carrier when he has been under center.

“They all can throw the ball very well, so that’s not a problem,” UCLA wide receiver Logan Loya said. “Sure, maybe the timing’s a little different, you can say the same thing for the quarterbacks about each receiver, too.”

USC quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams, meanwhile, is tied with Oregon’s Bo Nix for the second-most passing touchdowns in the country this season with 29. Williams has also rushed for 11 scores.

–Field Level Media

Oct 28, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Ethan Garbers (4) throws the ball against the Colorado Buffaloes in the first half at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA, Arizona State meet amid quarterback scrambles

UCLA is bowl eligible, although any chance to make the Pac-12 Conference title game is most likely gone as a result of an anemic offense.

The Bruins (6-3, 3-3) get a chance to regroup after a loss to Arizona last Saturday, and play host to Arizona State (2-7, 1-5) Saturday night at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

UCLA fell behind 14-0 in the first half against Arizona last Saturday despite its elite defense and couldn’t recover. The Bruins trailed by a touchdown going into the fourth quarter then lost 27-10 as quarterbacks Ethan Garbers and Dante Moore both were injured in the defeat. The Bruins turned to Kent State transfer Collin Schlee, who also appeared to be ailing late in the game.

The painful defeat dropped UCLA from the College Football Playoff rankings this week.

Garbers and Moore were limited early in the week but both participated in practice Wednesday, with Garbers reportedly showing a limp following a right foot injury Saturday. Schlee and fellow QB Chase Griffin each took part in all practices this week.

“It’s definitely hard, especially being an offensive lineman,” UCLA center Duke Clemens said, per the Orange County Register. “You kind of put that on yourself. You wish you could keep these guys (quarterbacks) up and things like that, but I guess that’s the nature of the game.”

The Sun Devils know all about injuries. They have had at least 29 players miss time due to injuries in head coach Kenny Dillingham’s first season, which is a major reason for the struggles for the team on the field.

Arizona State had shown signs of improved play with a 15-7 loss at then-No. 5 Washington on Oct. 21, followed by a 38-27 home win over Washington State, the first conference victory of the season. But last Saturday, ASU was crushed 55-3 at then-No. 18 Utah and lost quarterback Trenton Bourguet to a left leg injury early in the game.

Jacob Conover took over, but the Sun Devils managed just 83 yards of total offense.

With Bourguet still ailing mid-week, Conover could get the start against UCLA. He is the fourth quarterback to play for Arizona State this season.

“Some fluke things happen and we’re not getting muscular issues, we’re getting elbows popping out of a joint. It’s unfortunate but it is what it is,” Dillingham told the Arizona Republic.

–Field Level Media

Oct 28, 2023; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats quarterback Noah Fifita #11 makes a pass down the field agaisnt Oregon State Beavers defensive lineman Joe Golden #95 during the first half at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Zachary BonDurant-USA TODAY Sports

No. 19 UCLA can’t let its guard down vs. Arizona

Arizona is looking for its third consecutive victory over a ranked team but will have to solve No. 19 UCLA’s chaos-creating defense when the teams meet Saturday night in Tucson, Ariz.

The Wildcats (5-3, 3-2 Pac-12) will be trying to make a claim of their own for the Top 25 if they knock off the Bruins (6-2, 3-2), who are 10th nationally in total defense (277.5 yards allowed per game), third in sacks (3.88 per game) and fourth in tackles for loss (8.2).

This will be the toughest defensive test for Arizona redshirt freshman quarterback Noah Fifita, who so far has been up to the challenge while starting the first four games of his career against ranked teams, including Washington and Southern California. He has been calm and accurate, completing 111 of 149 passes for 1,152 yards with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions in those four starts.

Fifita has earned the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week award in each of his past three outings, which includes wins at then-No. 19 Washington State and vs. then-No. 11 Oregon State.

“He’s continuing to go out there and impress,” Arizona coach Jedd Fisch said. “Noah certainly has gotten the accolades and that’s fantastic for Noah; he deserves it. He’s completed over 70 percent of his passes in each game, and I expect him to continue to get better.”

Fifita will have to navigate a UCLA defense that includes defensive ends Laiatu Latu (9.5 sacks, 13 tackles for loss) and Gabriel Murphy (five sacks, 11 tackles for loss).

The Bruins remain a bit of a mystery at quarterback. Ethan Garbers has started the past two games against Stanford and Colorado, replacing true freshman Dante Moore. Garbers has completed 40 of 55 passes with 509 yards, with four touchdowns and an interception in the past two games.

UCLA coach Chip Kelly said early in the week that he wasn’t ready to commit to naming Garbers a starter against Arizona.

“We analyze everything during the week. We don’t make anything rash after a game and say, ‘Hey, this is what tomorrow is going to be like, or what Wednesday is going to be like.’” Kelly said. “We won’t finalize anything until we get to the game day next week.”

No matter who is at quarterback, UCLA can lean on a strong running game, led by Carson Steele and T.J. Harden. Steele has rushed for 674 yards and six touchdowns on 124 carries. Harden has 466 yards and five scores on 88 attempts.

UCLA’s two losses — at Utah and at Oregon State — were by a combined 19 points. Arizona’s three losses — at Mississippi State (overtime), Washington, at USC (triple overtime) — were decided by a total of 16 points.

“They’ve done a really good job,” Kelly said of Arizona. “We’re very well aware of what Arizona’s doing, but I think a lot of people in the country are too.”

For sure, Arizona won’t catch UCLA by surprise. The Wildcats, in something of a foreshadowing for this season’s surge, upset the then-No. 9 Bruins 34-28 in Pasadena, Calif., on Nov. 12, 2022.

–Field Level Media

Oct 13, 2023; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders calls out in the first quarter against the Stanford Cardinal at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado looks to rebound at No. 23 UCLA

Colorado will begin another tough two-week stretch of Pac-12 play when the Buffaloes travel to No. 23 UCLA on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

Colorado (4-3, 1-3) will follow its game against the Bruins by hosting No. 11 Oregon State on Nov. 4 in another nighttime matchup.

The most recent time the Buffaloes faced back-to-back ranked opponents, they were exposed in several ways, losing last month to then-No. 10 Oregon and then-No. 8 Southern California. Colorado fell out of the Top 25 after the loss to the Ducks.

After a narrow win at Arizona State on Oct. 7, Colorado blew a 29-0 lead against visiting Stanford on Oct. 13 and lost 46-43 in double overtime, further eroding a 3-0 start that included a season-opening win against then-No. 17 TCU.

Colorado had a week off to shake the shocking loss to the Cardinal and begin preparing for the Bruins, who are coming off a 42-7 win against Stanford last weekend.

First-year Buffaloes coach Deion Sanders is challenging his players to be better against UCLA while not placing any blame on the recent losses.

“I’m not going to point fingers. That’s not what I’m here for,” Sanders said. “I let the coaches; that’s what they’re here for. They’re here to guide us, so I can’t really say that and throw no teammate under the bus, because that’s not the type of player I am.”

UCLA (5-2, 2-2) faced three straight ranked opponents before playing the Cardinal, and the Bruins went 1-2 vs. those ranked teams.

An injury to UCLA freshman quarterback Dante Moore early last week limited his repetitions in practice, so coach Chip Kelly started redshirt junior Ethan Garbers against Stanford. He performed well, completing 20 of 28 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns.

Garbers also had 51 rushing yards on eight carries.

Moore came in for one series late against the Cardinal, demonstrating he was healthy enough to play, and Kelly said Monday he had not settled on a starting quarterback for the Colorado game.

“We make our decision at the end of the week, so I couldn’t tell you who’s going to be up or down by (then),” Kelly said. “When we get to the end of the week, we sit down as a staff and we’ll go through it.”

In addition to Moore and Garbers, junior Collin Schlee could be an option under center against the Buffaloes. Schlee was injured earlier this month as well, which took him out of the running to start against Stanford.

“We’re one of the fortunate teams in the country; we have depth at quarterback,” Kelly said. “I believe Ethan’s a starter at the Power 5 level, Dante’s a starter at the Power 5 level, and Collin Schlee’s a starter at the Power 5 level, so that’s a luxury that not a lot of people have.”

Whoever starts at quarterback, he’ll have one of the top wide receivers in the Pac-12 in J. Michael Sturdivant, a transfer from Cal who leads UCLA with 407 receiving yards. He also has three TD catches.

There’s also no mystery which running back will get a majority of carries for the Bruins: Carson Steele, who is averaging 109 rushing yards over the past three weeks, with four touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

Sep 9, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Stanford Cardinal quarterback Ashton Daniels (14) throws the ball against the Southern California Trojans in the first half at United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford carries momentum into clash with No. 25 UCLA

Stanford tries to build off the largest comeback victory in program history when it hosts No. 25 UCLA in a Pac-12 Conference game Saturday night.

The Cardinal (2-4, 1-3) rallied from a 29-0 deficit to stun Colorado 46-43 in double overtime last Friday in Boulder, Colo.

The victory ended a seven-game conference losing streak for Stanford and instilled a level of confidence that first-year coach Troy Taylor has been hoping to see.

“We’re going to get it done here, there’s no question,” Taylor said. “I think we got a chance to see a little bit of what we can do here. We have a long way to go, there’s no question about that. The things that are really important: the resolve, the tenacity, the courage, the willingness, and the need to be great at something we have, we have all that now. We just have to continue to improve and get better.”

UCLA (4-2, 1-2) is looking to get back on track after facing three straight ranked teams and going 1-2.

The Bruins most recently lost 36-24 at then-No. 15 Oregon State last Saturday. UCLA coach Chip Kelly blamed the defeat on his team’s three turnovers, which led to 13 points.

“With a 12-point game, we have to do a better job offensively, in all phases, especially in the turnover deal,” Kelly said. “You can’t lose the turnover battle on the road in this conference and expect to win the football game.”

Cleaning up the turnovers will require better pass protection, crisper route running and greater accuracy from freshman quarterback Dante Moore, who has completed just 45.5 percent of his passes in the past three games.

Kelly said Moore has the resiliency and maturity to quickly put poor performances behind him.

“He has the ability to live in the present,” Kelly said. “He doesn’t live in the past. He doesn’t live in the future. He lives in the present, and that’s a real special quality for people to have. I think in every situation he learns, and he’ll grow from it.”

Taylor has witnessed that quality in his team as well.

The Cardinal lost four straight games earlier this season, including 30-23 to Sacramento State, and then fell behind 29-0 in the first half against Colorado.

“I’m really happy for our guys; they’ve been through a lot,” Taylor said. “Early in the year, we had a couple of tough games and we had a couple of losses where we could have won easily. I was really worried about how demoralized it gets, so I spent a lot of time meeting and talking with them, but after about three or four weeks, I realized that these guys are never going to quit. They’re never going to stop preparing and competing.”

Ashton Daniels showed he’s the person to lead Stanford after passing for 396 yards and four touchdowns against Colorado. Daniels completed 27 of 45 passes in the win after combining to go 23-for-44 in the previous four games.

“This is an inspiring group,” Taylor said. “I’ve never been around this quality of a group of men that just give everything they got regardless of what they’re going against.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 16, 2023; Corvallis, Oregon, USA; Oregon State Beavers quarterback DJ Uiagalelei (5) warms up before the game against the San Diego State Aztecs at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

No. 18 UCLA continues tough stretch at No. 15 Oregon State

No. 18 UCLA will face its third consecutive top-15 opponent when the Bruins visit No. 15 Oregon State on Saturday in Pac-12 Conference action in Corvallis, Ore.

UCLA (4-1, 1-1) opened that stretch with a 14-7 setback at then-No. 11 Utah on Sept. 23. The Bruins returned from a bye week to beat then-No. 13 Washington State last Saturday, 25-17.

Despite the diverging results, UCLA allowed only one offensive touchdown to both the Utes and Cougars.

The Cougars came in averaging 45.8 points per game and had not scored less than 31 points in any of their four previous contests. Meanwhile, the 17 points Washington State finished with were the most the Bruins have allowed this season.

“Our defense played outstanding. The effort that whole group played the entire game, and it was at all levels,” UCLA coach Chip Kelly said Monday. “Our guys did a great job containing a very mobile quarterback.”

The Bruins allowed just 216 total yards of offense, including 12 rushing yards.

UCLA heads into Saturday’s matchup ranked third nationally against the run at 64.6 yards allowed a game, and eighth in points given up at 12.2 a contest — though the latter statistic is skewed by both Utah and Washington State scoring touchdowns off of interceptions by Bruins freshman quarterback Dante Moore.

Oregon State (5-1, 2-1) will counter UCLA’s standout defense with an offense scoring an average of 38.5 points per game.

The Beavers rebounded from a 38-35 loss at Washington State on Sept. 23 by winning their lowest-scoring game of the season thus far, a 21-7 grinder Sept. 29 at Utah, then held off Cal 52-40 last weekend.

Oregon State ran for 203 yards against Cal with the running-back tandem of Damien Martinez and Deshaun Fenwick combining for 165. The Beavers average 205 rushing yards per game, good for No. 16 in the country.

However, D.J. Uiagalelei set the pace last week with his best passing performance of the campaign. He completed 19 of 25 attempts for 275 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions against the Golden Bears.

“Not just completing the pass, but hitting them in stride. You see some of the catches and the yards gained after it — thinking about the two third-down throws to Anthony Gould, how accurate down the field those were,” Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith said Monday.

Protecting Uiagalelei against a UCLA defense that Smith described as “long, athletic” with “as good of pass-rushers as we’ve seen” should prove crucial in this conference matchup, the last between the programs before the Bruins join the Big Ten next season.

UCLA defensive end Laiatu Latu has five sacks this season, with linebacker Darius Muasau boasting four. The Bruins rank No. 14 nationally in total team sacks with 18, and No. 12 in tackles for loss with 44.

Oregon State has allowed only six sacks in six games but has given up 30 tackles for loss.

–Field Level Media

Sep 23, 2023; Pullman, Washington, USA; Washington State Cougars quarterback Cameron Ward (1) throws a pass against the Oregon State Beavers in the first half at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA braces for No. 13 Washington State’s air attack

UCLA must find a method to stop quarterback Cameron Ward when the Bruins host No. 13 Washington State in a Pac-12 game on Saturday afternoon at the Rose Bowl.

Ward has completed 106 of 142 passes for 1,390 yards and 13 touchdowns without an interception this season.

He came into the week ranked 22nd in the FBS in passing yards, 10th in completion percentage (74.6) and tied for 11th in touchdown passes.

Thanks to him, the Cougars (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) rank second in the nation in passing yards per game (405.8).

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for him,” UCLA coach Chip Kelly said of Ward. “He should be in the conversation for the top quarterbacks in the country. He’s athletic, he is sharp, (and) he throws an extremely accurate ball. I think he’s got great ball location and accuracy. It seems like he’s doing a great job decision-making this year. He can obviously beat you with his legs. He is right up there with the top quarterbacks in the country.”

The Cougars have been idle since their impressive 38-35 win against then-No. 14 Oregon State on Sept. 23.

Ward threw for 404 yards and four touchdowns against the Beavers, finishing with just six incompletions on 34 pass attempts.

The success of Washington State this season has helped circulate rumors that coach Jake Dickert could be a candidate for one of the higher-profile job openings, such as Michigan State, but he insisted that speculation is just a product of the program’s success.

“We wouldn’t be talking about these things if we were 0-4,” he said. “I love my job. I love being here. We’re focused on right here, right now. Not on the past, not on the future.”

Washington State leading receiver Lincoln Victor sustained a high-ankle sprain in the first half against the Beavers and is doubtful for the matchup against UCLA, but Dickert said Monday that Victor is making better progress than anticipated.

Cougars safety back Tanner Moku is also expected to make his season debut after missing the first four games with a foot injury.

“We feel fully invested that he’s going to be out there running around on Saturday,” Dickert said of Moku.

A win Saturday for UCLA (3-1, 0-1) would certainly boost its chances of climbing into the Top 25.

The Bruins have also been off since Sept. 23 and their 14-7 loss at then-No. 11 Utah.

Bruins quarterback Dante Moore completed just 15 of 35 passes against the Utes and UCLA was just 3 for 17 on third downs.

On the bright side, the Bruins had four sacks against Utah and hope to put similar pressure on Ward.

“I think we’ll try and limit them so they run the ball,” UCLA defensive lineman Keanu Williams said. “They don’t want to run the ball, so we just got to get them doing what they don’t want to do. If we do that we will be in good shape.”

UCLA and Washington State have not played since 2019, when the Bruins won a 67-63 shootout in Pullman, Wash.

The past five matchups between the teams have been decided by a touchdown or less.

–Field Level Media

Sep 9, 2023; Waco, Texas, USA; Utah Utes defensive tackle Keanu Tanuvasa (57) tackles Baylor Bears running back Richard Reese (29) during the second half at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

No. 22 UCLA looking to dent No. 11 Utah’s defense

With starting quarterback Cameron Rising sidelined as he continues to recover from a torn ACL, No. 11 Utah has had to rely on its defense through the first three weeks of the season.

That unit has held its own so far, but it will face its biggest challenge Saturday when the Utes face No. 22 UCLA in Salt Lake City in the Pac-12 opener for both teams.

Utah (3-0) ranks 17th in total defense in the FBS — an average of 270.7 yards allowed per game — after a suffocating performance in last weekend’s 31-7 victory over Weber State. The Utes held the Wildcats to 127 yards of total offense while coming away with a pair of turnovers.

“We got a lot of confidence in that defense, and they’ve performed very well through three games,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. “We know that we’re not gonna have to score … 40 points to win.

“The defense has done a nice job of keeping teams out of the end zone and points off the board.”

But now the Utes will be tasked with slowing a high-octane Bruins offense that just racked 614 total yards in a 59-7 drubbing of North Carolina Central last Saturday.

The Bruins (3-0) got a pair of touchdowns and 182 yards on 8-of-12 passing from Dante Moore, but they did most of their damage on the ground, as five players rushed for at least 60 yards and a score. Anthony Adkins led the pack with 96 yards on 10 carries.

UCLA will look to replicate that performance as it attempts to win at Rice-Eccles Stadium for the first time since 2015.

“Rice-Eccles is a difficult venue. They got a great home-crowd advantage,” Bruins coach Chip Kelly said. “I think winning on the road in the Pac-12 is difficult anywhere.

“But I think the crowd in Utah is awesome. They have great support for their football program, and they’re a really good team and they’re really well-coached.”

If Rising is able to make his season debut, that atmosphere will be even more intense, but if he doesn’t, Nate Johnson will be under center. Johnson got his first collegiate start against Weber State, completing 13 of 21 passes for 193 yards and a TD. He also rushed for a team-high 71 yards and a score.

Kelly knows his team has to be prepared for whatever Utah throws its way.

“There’s probably a little bit more quarterback-driven run when Nate’s in there, but that doesn’t mean Cam can’t. Cam’s beaten a lot of teams with his legs too,” Kelly said. “Their offense is their offense; you gotta prepare for it all.”

Whittingham hopes his team can stay on an even keel as conference play begins.

“Every week’s the same to me. Every game counts the same, every game is darn important,” Whittingham said. “I think that’s been one of our strengths through the years, is to not get on the roller coaster, just be at a high level every week and prepare the same way.”

–Field Level Media