3 things Utah football can improve on after loss to UCLA
Utah dropped its first Pac-12 game of the season, losing 42-32 to UCLA at the Rose Bowl. Here are three things Utah football can improve on after the loss to UCLA.
Utah dropped its first Pac-12 game of the season, losing 42-32 to UCLA at the Rose Bowl.
It won’t be a pretty film session for the Utes on Monday.
Here are three things Utah football can improve on after the loss to UCLA.
Utah’s defense allowed 42 points and 511 total yards against UCLA.
Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw for 299 yards and four touchdowns and also rushed for a score in a masterful performance. He was 18-for-23 and only had one mistake all game — a pick-six with 50 seconds left and the game wrapped up in a situation where UCLA should have been running.
Utah also allowed UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet to rush for 198 yards — a career high for the senior — and a touchdown.
On the ground or through the air, UCLA mostly got what it wanted, especially in the second half, when the Bruins scored four touchdowns on their first four possessions of the second half — the only possession without a touchdown was the aforementioned pick-six at the end of the game.
Utah missed a few tackles, looked mixed up in coverage a few times and gave up too many big plays — including a 49-yard pass, a 49-yard run and a 44-yard run.
“We missed too many tackles and we had a few breakdowns. They had a bunch of big plays both in the receiving game and the rushing game. That really is what did us in was their big-play capability,” Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said.
Penalties at key moments
Overall, Utah didn’t have too many penalties — four for 29 yards — but one of them came when the Utes had the Bruins stopped and extended the drive at a key moment.
UCLA was leading 21-18 with 3:47 left in the third quarter and Utah appeared to force a three-and-out after Thompson-Robinson’s pass was incomplete on third-and-6. Utah was going to get the ball back with the chance to take the lead.
Instead, Utah linebacker Karene Reid was called for roughing the passer, giving UCLA a first down. The Bruins would score a touchdown on the drive and lead 28-18.
Utah can’t have that mistake when the defense was going to get off the field.
“The stop we did have (in the second half), we got roughing the passer, so that was really our chance to get right back in it and take the lead. We made that mistake and didn’t seem to recover from that. We couldn’t get a stop the rest of the way,” Whittingham said.
Kickoff coverage and special teams
Utah’s special team has been shaky at times this season, especially on kickoff coverage.
The Utes allowed 103 yards on kickoff returns as UCLA returner Kazmeir Allen had kick returns of 43, 33 and 27 yards.
Those returns set up a short field for the Bruins, who scored touchdowns after two of his returns.
Jordan Noyes was 1-for-2 on field goal attempts, missing a 43-yarder to end the first half. Noyes also wasn’t able to kick the ball out of the end zone, giving UCLA opportunities to return the ball.