No. 8 Utah routs UCLA 49-3 to improve to 9-1.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah dominated yet another opponent on both sides of the ball.
The No. 8 Utes smothered UCLA on offense and shredded the Bruins on defense on their way to a 49-3 victory on Saturday night.
It was the largest margin of victory for Utah in a Pac-12 game.
Utah (9-1, 6-1 Pac-12, No. 7 CFP) also beat the Bruins for a fourth straight season.
On offense, the Utes totaled 536 yards and rushed for 201 yards. Their domination was equally pronounced on defense.
UCLA (4-6, 4-3 Pac-12) saw a three-game winning streak end after it committed five turnovers and averaged just 3.7 yards per play. The Bruins finished with 50 rushing yards after losing 81 total yards on sacks and tackles for loss.
“We certainly won the rushing battle and controlled both sides of the line of scrimmage,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said.
The Utes wanted to prove they were the more physical team and proved it over 60 minutes. Utah’s ability to be disruptive on every play caused the Bruins to unravel as the game progressed.
“We just laid one on them in the first series and we figured out who was the more physical team in this game,” defensive end Bradlee Anae said. It just lays the foundation for the rest of the things When you’re more physical, other things come along.”
Zack Moss ran for 127 yards and two touchdowns and added 65 receiving yards. Moss moved into second-place for career all-purpose yardage at Utah.
Tyler Huntley threw for a season-high 335 yards and two touchdowns on 14-of-18 passing. Brant Kuithe had a career-high 132 yards and a touchdown on five catches.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw for 219 yards for the Bruins, but he had a pair of interceptions and a pair of fumbles. Thompson-Robinson was also sacked five times.
Utah overwhelmed UCLA in every possible way starting in the second quarter. The Utes totaled 189 yards on 15 plays in that quarter alone and forced a pair of Bruin turnovers. UCLA drove deep into Utah territory on multiple drives only to see each drive end in a turnover or a flurry of sacks.
“It was a humbling moment for our team,” Thompson-Robinson said. “It was a learning experience for everyone.”
The Bruins took their only lead at 3-0 after JJ Molson capped their opening drive with a 43-yard field goal. Utah took the lead for good after Huntley capped off the Utes’ first drive with a 2-yard run.
Once the second quarter started, Utah ran away from UCLA. The Utes scored on four straight drives to take a 35-3 lead with 13:31 left in the third quarter. Moss accounted for two of those scores.
His second touchdown came on a four-play drive where Moss generated 95 yards of offense by himself. The senior took a short pass 50 yards to get Utah inside the UCLA 30. Then, following a pair of false starts, Moss raced 38 yards for the score.
“Everything was just gelling pretty well,” Moss said.
UCLA had a pair of promising second-quarter drives end in turnovers. Julian Blackmon intercepted a pass in the end zone to stop the Bruins’ second drive. Then, later in the quarter, he sacked Thompson-Robinson for an 18-yard loss on third down and forced a fumble. Mika Tafua scooped up the loose ball and rumbled 68 yards for the touchdown.
Utah’s initial scoring frenzy ended when Kuithe spun out of a tackle and took a pass 69 yards to give the Utes their fourth touchdown over four consecutive drives.
“We control how we play,” UCLA coach Chip Kelly said. “So we can’t blame the football gods or anything like that.”
After earning All-Pac-12 honors twice in his first three seasons at cornerback, Blackmon made the switch to safety before his senior season. Any doubt concerning his ability to adjust to the switch has been erased.
Blackmon totaled seven tackles, 1.5 sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble in the first half alone. He finished with a career-high 12 tackles.
“Julian is in the right spot,” Whittingham said. “He made that transition from corner to safety flawlessly. He’s drawing attention from the scouts and he’s going to have a chance to continue to play at that spot.”
Anae finished with two sacks and totaled 23 yards in sack yardage. The senior moved into second-place in career sacks at Utah with 27.0. He needs only three more sacks to overtake career sack leader Hunter Dimick (29.5). Anae did claim the career sack yardage record. He has 195 career sack yards, passing John Frank (177).
Utah could move up a spot or two in the AP and CFP polls after another blowout victory.
THE BIG PICTURE
UCLA: All of the progress the Bruins made on offense after struggling in non-conference play unraveled amid constant pressure from the Pac-12′s top defense. UCLA melted down and made one mistake after another over the final three quarters.
Utah: Utah averaged 10.0 yards per play in the first half alone and did not punt for the first time until 8:35 remained in the third quarter. Defensively, the Utes registered season-highs in sacks and turnovers.
UCLA plays at USC on Saturday.
Utah plays at Arizona on Saturday.