PASADENA, Calif. — Now, maybe No. 18 UCLA will get more love in Los Angeles.

The Bruin football program has been mostly an afterthought, or a rumor, for quite a while, flying under the radar in a city that boasts cross-town rival USC, as well as the Dodgers, Rams, Lakers, Kings, Clippers, Galaxy, etc.

But perhaps L.A. — and the rest of the country — will take notice. 

UCLA knocked off defending Pac-12 champion and No. 11-ranked Utah 42-32 Saturday afternoon in front of an announced crowd of 42,038 at the Rose Bowl, and in the process, shook up the Pac-12 race.

“We had confidence going into the game. It was based on our demonstrated ability,” said coach Chip Kelly.

“They trained at a really high level this week. When you’re playing six games into the season and it’s your best week of training, those are the results.”

After the Bruins (6-0, 3-0) faced a lightweight nonconference schedule featuring the likes of Bowling Green, Alabama State and South Alabama, it looks like they’re for real. 

UCLA remains unbeaten and is now 6-0 for the first time since 2005 after back-to-back victories over ranked opponents. 

The Bruins snapped the Utes’ four-game win streak and handed them their first Pac-12 loss of the season. 

UCLA also ended a five-game losing streak to Utah dating back to 2016. 

Yes, it was a sweet victory for the Bruins. In the previous four meetings between the two programs, Utah had outscored UCLA 182-54.

Saturday, UCLA erased six years of frustration against the Utes. 

The swagger’s back in Westwood — and the Bruins’ offense Saturday was impressive.

“It’s a really good football team we played today,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. “They deserve a ton of credit. They’re athletic, they’re fast and they have a lot of length.

“They were as advertised. … They’re a good team. They’re 6-0 for a reason.” 

Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson completed 18 of 23 passes for 299 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Zach Charbonnet gained 198 yards on 22 carries and scored a TD. Wide receiver Jake Bobo had just three catches for 22 yards but added a pair of touchdowns.

The Bruins finished with 511 yards of total offense. 

“Again, credit them. They have really good athletes,” Whittingham said. “Chip’s done a good job putting that thing together. He’s got a fifth-year quarterback and this is a year where they can really flourish.”

3 takeaways from No. 11 Utah’s loss to No. 18 UCLA
Highlights, key plays and photos from No. 11 Utah’s 42-32 loss to No. 18 UCLA

Meanwhile, the Rose Bowl is turning into a House of Horrors for the Utes (4-2, 2-1). 

Ten months after suffering a 48-45 setback to Ohio State of the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl Game on New Year’s Day, Utah fell again — this time, to a future Big Ten team in UCLA. 

And the Utes’ quest to repeat as Pac-12 champs just became much more difficult. 

Some of the issues that reared their ugly heads in a season-opening loss at Florida showed up again at the Rose Bowl.

No, Thompson-Robinson didn’t eviscerate Utah’s defense like Gator quarterback Anthony Richardson did in Gainesville. Whittingham said the problems were different this time around.

“That wasn’t a big deal like the Richardson kid did in Florida,” Whittingham said, “but it was big plays. I don’t know how many plays they had of over 30 yards. More than we usually give up, I can tell you that.”

Indeed, the Utes had too many missed tackles and allowed too many big plays and gave up too many rushing yards (212 for UCLA).

The Bruins had receiving plays of 49 yards and 70 yards and gave up a 49-yard run to Charbonnet. 

“Man, we just made a lot of mistakes today,” said Ute cornerback Clark Phillips III. “They capitalized. They made more plays than we did. That’s why the score was the score.”

Added Whittingham: “Our run defense was pretty good for the most part. It was big plays that killed us. We’d lose a gap and whenever we lost a gap, they exploited that.

“But overall, just carry by carry, we weren’t that bad, but we missed too many tackles and we had a few breakdowns. They capitalized on that. They had a bunch of big plays both in their receiving game and their rushing game. That’s what did us in with their offense — their big-play capability.”

Utah also had red zone struggles. 

In the first quarter, quarterback Cam Rising was picked off at the UCLA 9-yard line, and in the second quarter, the Utes had to settle for a field goal and they missed a field goal late in the period as Jordan Noyes’ 43-yard attempt sailed wide left. 

Meanwhile, the Utes, once again, got off to a slow start. In the first quarter, there were dropped passes that kept them scoreless. 

“They’re drive-killers,” Whittingham said of those drops. “It puts you off schedule.”

“We put bad ball on tape. It’s not something we’re looking to do,” said Rising, who completed 23 of 32 passes for 287 yards and an interception and rushed 13 times for 59 yards and two touchdowns.

“There’s a lot of stuff that I need to clean up to make sure that we’re rolling as an offense to be better.”

Even with all those issues, Utah managed to hang around and gave itself an opportunity to come back.

In the third quarter, trailing 21-18 after a six-yard Rising touchdown run, the Utes held the Bruins on 3rd and 6 from the UCLA 29, but a roughing-the-passer penalty on Utah linebacker Karene Reid gave the Bruins new life.

UCLA ended up scoring to go up 28-18. 

“The whole problem in the second half was, we couldn’t get any stops. We had a stop. The stop we had, we roughed the passer,” Whittingham said.

“That was really our chance to get right back in it and take the lead at that point, but we made that mistake and we seemed to never recover from that and couldn’t get a stop the rest of the way.” 

Still, Whittingham put that penalty in perspective.

“That one play didn’t cost us the game. I don’t want to paint that picture, but we had momentum. We had complete momentum there,” he said.

“Had we got that stop, we would have gotten the ball back, coming off a touchdown drive, you never know. But did that one play cost us the game? No. It never comes down to one play, but at that point in the game, that was a critical play.”

Later, with Utah down 35-25 on a 4th and 1, Rising gained four yards but fumbled. UCLA’s Jaylin Davies scooped up the ball and returned it 37 yards to the Ute 1-yard line. 

Charbonnet barreled into the end zone one play later to make it 42-25 with 9:26 remaining.

Phillips III had a pick six for the second straight week to make the score seem less lopsided — with 31 seconds remaining. 

Too little, too late. 

So in the end, it was another painful loss at the Rose Bowl. 

Now the Utes have a hole to climb out of as they host No. 6 USC next Saturday.