The UCLA Bruins come into the game with the Utah Utes as six point favorites on Thursday night via CBSsportsline.com. This is sure to be the Bruins toughest contest to date as they play their first conference opponent since losing to Stanford in back to back games. It’s official that running back Damien Thigpen will take the field for UCLA in a must win game.
Utah has been stronger than expected early in the season. At (3-1), the Utes are three points away from being undefeated, but they lost a shootout to Oregon State in September. A win tonight, and it’s conceivable to see Utah playing in the PAC 12 Championship game. However, if they lose, then their conference championship aspirations are almost dead.
UCLA vs. Utah
When: Thursday October 3, 10:00 p.m.
Where: Rice Eccles Stadium
TV: Fox Sports 1
Brett Hundley is one of the most dynamic playmakers in the college football game. While he is not heavily considered for the Heisman race right now, Hundley has plenty of opportunities to stomp on the competition. He gets his first crack to lead the Bruins’ offense against Utah.
Offensively, UCLA has started slowly in some games, but really came on strong in the second half. Against Nebraska, they scored 38 straight points to turn an 18 point deficit into a 20 point blowout.
Right now, the numbers are astronomical and the Bruins use balance. They pass for 330 yards a game and rush for over 280 yards on the ground. Utah’s pass defense will be put to the test early and often on Thursday. If Utah can’t get pressure on the quarterback, then the Bruins will have a field day against the Utes secondary.
Utah’s offense has some explosiveness, but they aren’t on the level of UCLA. They will need to get some defensive stops and turnovers. Even that might not be enough when it’s all said and done.
Both defenses will be dealing with two of the top 17 offenses in the country. This game has “track meet” written all over it, but one of the defense will need to make multiple plays.
It could be Anthony Barr on the edge that has the biggest impact. He is a terror with his ability to disrupt the opposition.
The Verdict: Utah certainly has to keep it close in the first half, but they need to look out for a second half run that the Bruins are capable of. With that said, the UCLA Bruins are on a mission to win the PAC 12 South and get back to the title game. Losing in this spot won’t be allowed with their upcoming schedule.
For more Sports, check out Top 10+1 Sports Blog.