Friday night at the Rose Bowl was simple for the Bruins of UCLA. The Bruins had a galore of mistakes and missed tackles which resulted in an emphatic 43-10 blowout loss to the Utes of Utah in front of a season-low crowd of 41,848.
“We didn’t tackle well in the first half, didn’t tackle well in the second half,” UCLA coach Chip Kelly said.
“It was our worst game from a tackling perspective.”
The Bruins led 7-3 through the first 15 minutes of play behind a Joshua Kelley 25-yard rushing touchdown, however the Utes responded with 28 unanswered points as part of a 38-3 scoring run.
“I feel we got outplayed today,” UCLA safety Adarius Pickett said. “We had some dropped balls on offense. Our special teams had a few penalties, and we didn’t play too good.”
The Utes (6-2) showed why they’re the 16th-ranked team in the nation, as they handed the ball off to their star junior running back 26 times, with UCLA (2-6) never having an answer for Zack Moss at the line of scrimmage.
Moss gained a career-high 211 yards on the ground and scored three touchdowns on a night where he went on to break tackle-after-tackle.
“Some of those runs Zack made were sheer toughness and willpower,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. “He’s like a sledgehammer in between the tackles.
“Everyone is just flowing in the right direction and we need to, especially at the back end of the year,” Moss said on his team’s chemistry. “It’s like we’re fresh and everyone else is dead right now because we’ve worked so hard.”
As for the Bruins offensive struggles at quarterback, Wilton Speight made his first start since sustaining a back injury in the season opener against Cincinnati.
Speight completed 50 percent of his passes on 20-of-40 attempts for 164 yards, but winded up throwing two interceptions that crippled the Bruins chances of staying competitive.
“I missed a few throws tonight,” said Speight.
“We weren’t firing on all cylinders tonight, but it wasn’t due to lack of effort and that’s the biggest thing to take away from this.”
Ultimately, the Utes finished with 470 total yards compared to the Bruins only having 291, as it was obvious UCLA never was able to get in rhythm on either sides of the ball.
“I just think we have to tackle better, our guys were there at times but there was way too many missed tackles,” added Kelly.
“We’ll go back to a normal week and get back to our two full days in pads and make sure we’re continuing to tackle,” Kelly said, “but you’re not gonna win games if you tackle that way and we have to correct that.”
Up next for UCLA is a road trip to Eugene, Oregon, as the Bruins will take on the Oregon Ducks on Saturday, November 3 at 4:30 PM Pacific time.