Instant Takeaways From Utah’s 42-32 Loss To UCLA

Oct 8, 2022, 6:32 PM | Updated: Oct 11, 2022, 10:58 am

PASADENA, CA- #11 Utah had the opportunity to make a big statement Saturday afternoon against #18 UCLA and came up short. Very short. Untimely mistakes were the main culprit paired with a very talented Bruins team that is on the up-and-up.

There wasn’t much to like about this game if you cheer for the Utes, and far more things to dislike. Here are a few things that immediately stuck in Utah’s 42-32 loss to UCLA.

Tavion Thomas

Running back Tavion Thomas has largely been missing from the Utes offense since the start of the season. Head coach Kyle Whittingham had said it was due to a lack of accountability on Thomas’ part, but that he’s been working his way back to being a mainstay in the offense.

Thomas ended up being a big positive in a game that had few positives to draw upon. He had 18 carries for 91 yards and a touchdown for the Utes while being key in moving the chains. Utah moved away from using Thomas only because they got to place where they needed to start passing more.

Big Chunk Plays

This one is not so great, and honestly could be the biggest factor as to why the Utes lost. The defense would seemingly get a stop, only to get burned by big chunk plays later and it killed any momentum they may have had. Just look at these particular plays:

49-yard pass from Dorian Thompson-Robinson to Michael Ezeike.

44-yard rush Zach Charbonnet.

49-yard rush Zach Charbonnet.

70-yard pass from Dorian Thompson-Robinson to Logan Loya.

Too often the defense would get confused and be out of place leading to too many plays over 30 yards. It’s too difficult to make up that ground once it is lost and the Utes are going to have to get better about keeping these plays in front of them. It only gets harder from here.


This one also hurts, especially because both Utah turnovers came from a guy who literally was doing anything and everything he could to will the Utes to a win. Quarterback Cam Rising had an interception in the first quarter that ultimately set up UCLA’s first score of the game. He also had a costly fumble on fourth and one in the fourth quarter that set up UCLA’s final score of the day.

Whittingham has said time and time again that winning the turnover margin is one of the biggest predictors of a win versus a loss and that proved very true today. It just was not Utah’s day.

Clark Phillips III House Call

Cornerback Clark Phillips III has been playing out of his brain the past two games. While it came too little, too late, Phillips the III recorded his second pick six of the season and fourth of his career. It was also the Utes’ biggest, most explosive play of the game as he took it 80-yards for the score.

The “It” Factor

This one is tough to explain. Utah has the potential to be very good. It’s easy to see, but it hasn’t really shown up early on despite the fact they have won games. In many ways, it’s the same as last season. There is just something missing from this Utah team so far- passion, intensity, fire, desire. Whatever adjective you want to use, it hasn’t shown up yet.

This is also not to say that guys don’t care or aren’t playing hard. That’s not what this is. It’s more that the Utes have yet to really come together on the field and put together a complete team effort. It’s not too late, and can still happen, but Utah needs to take today as a wakeup call moving forward.


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