Karene Reid’s interception returned for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage set the tone for No. 11-ranked Utah, as the Utes defense overwhelmed No. 22 UCLA en route to a 14-7 Pac-12 Conference win on Saturday in Salt Lake City.
Utah (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) held UCLA to just 243 total yards, an average of 3.6 per play, and went until late in the fourth quarter without surrendering a point.
The Utes needed this stout defensive effort, struggling offensively in their own right. Utah managed only 219 total yards with 3.4 per play.
Quarterback Nate Johnson — starting with Cameron Rising still recovering from a torn ACL sustained in last January’s Rose Bowl Game — threw for Utah’s lone offensive score. He found Landen King for a seven-yard touchdown in the second quarter that gave the Utes enough cushion to hold off the Bruins.
UCLA (3-1, 0-1) leaned on the freshman quarterback Dante Moore with the run game rendered ineffective. The Bruins rushed for just nine yards officially, a byproduct of Moore being sacked six times.
Jonah Elliss led the charge with 3.5 sacks. Sione Vaki recorded one on the final defensive snap.
The pressure resulted in Moore finishing with -51 yards. Despite gaining positive yardage on a keeper inside the red zone as the third quarter ended, Moore lost a fumble caused by Logan Fano, keeping the Bruins scoreless.
Moore went 15-of-35 passing for 234 yards and denied Utah its first shutout since 2019 with a 17-yard pass to Josiah Norwood with 3:39 left.
UCLA forced a punt and regained possession with an opportunity to tie, but Vaki’s sack closed a four-and-out turnover on downs.
Johnson finished 9-of-17 passing for 117 yards. Jaylon Glover rushed for 86 yards on 25 carries to lead the Utes. Along with his interception, Reid made nine tackles and broke up a pair of passes.
Kain Medrano had 2.5 tackles for loss and two sacks for UCLA.
–Field Level Media