Wednesday, November 22

UCLA football falls 52-45 to Utah’s strong running game


The Bruins mounted a fourth-quarter comeback, but fell just short against the No. 19 Utes. Redshirt senior quarterback Mike Fafaul finished with five touchdowns, but also threw four interceptions in UCLA’s third straight loss. (Miriam Bribiesca/Photo editor)

The Bruins mounted a fourth-quarter comeback, but fell just short against the No. 19 Utes. Redshirt senior quarterback Mike Fafaul finished with five touchdowns, but also threw four interceptions in UCLA’s third straight loss. (Miriam Bribiesca/Photo editor)


UCLA had faith in Mike Fafaul’s arm with sophomore quarterback Josh Rosen still sidelined.

The good – 464 passing yards and five touchdowns. The bad – 30 incomplete passes. The ugly – four interceptions.

Regardless, the backup redshirt senior quarterback led the Bruins to 45 points against the Utah Utes Saturday. For a UCLA team that has relied on its stout defense for most of the season, it should have been enough.

But Utah’s running back Joe Williams broke free and ran wild time and time again, en route to 332 yards and four touchdowns.

In 52-45 shootout, Fafaul’s arm just couldn’t keep up with Williams’ legs.

Once again, the Bruins couldn’t muster anything on the ground. Sophomore running back Bolu Olorunfunmi rushed for 24 yards on nine attempts, but was able to break free for a short touchdown in the first quarter.

Fafaul himself took off for 23 rushing yards, but the standout of the game was the running back on the other side of the field. Williams took it 43 yards for his second touchdown of the game in the second quarter. Then another one for 64 yards in the third quarter before capping it off with a 55-yard touchdown run in the fourth.

While senior defensive lineman Takkarist McKinley broke free to Utah’s quarterback Troy Williams for three sacks, the Bruin defense just couldn’t close up the holes fast enough.

Fafaul did as well as anyone could have hoped for in his second start in place of the injured Rosen. But when the opposing running back has a four touchdown day and you have no support once again from your own running game, sometimes 45 points just isn’t enough.

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Derrek Li is a senior staff writer covering UCLA basketball. In the past, he has covered UCLA football, women’s basketball and men’s soccer. He also served as an assistant sports editor two years ago. Follow him on Twitter @DerrekLi.


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