Game Week: Utah Facts and Factors

SEP. 30 -- UCLA dominates the all-time series with Utah, but has struggled in recent years with the Utes...

UCLA opens its home Pac-12 schedule this Saturday, Oct. 4 against Utah, with kickoff set for 7:36 p.m., and the game being televised on ESPN.

• UCLA is 4-0 (1-0 in the Pac-12) and ranked #8/#9.

• Utah is 3-1 (0-1) on the 2014 season. The Utes won their first three games, at home against FCS Idaho State (56-14), at home against Fresno State (59-27) and on the road at Michigan (26-10). They lost their Pac-12 opener last weekend at home to Washington State, 28-27.

• UCLA leads the overall series, 10-2, and are 6-0 in Pasadena against the Utes. UCLA has won the last two meetings between the teams – since Utah has been in the Pac-12. In 2012, the Bruins won at home, 21-14, and in 2013 won in Salt Lake City, 34-27.

• While statistically it appears UCLA has dominated Utah in the all-time series, the Utes have been a bit of a problem for the Bruins. In 2007, Utah destroyed #7-ranked UCLA in Salt Lake City, 44-6. UCLA played perhaps one of its worst games of the season in 2011 against Utah, losing on the road, 31-6. In the last two years UCLA has beaten the Utes but has struggled in doing it, winning by a combined total of 14 points.

• It’s the first time in 9 years UCLA will play a home game in the Rose Bowl as a top-ten team. The last time was in 2005, when #8-ranked UCLA beat Oregon State, 51-28.

• The Bruins have now played as a ranked team for 23 straight games. UCLA was ranked in 25 straight contests in 1997-99.

• Before Jim Mora arrived at UCLA, the Bruins went from the beginning of the 2007 season through the beginning of the 2012 season without being ranked. In 2012, UCLA was ranked under Mora in his first year in his third game (#22 against Houston). UCLA was unranked from Sept. 15th, 2007, to the third week of Jim Mora's first season, Sept. 15th, 2012, so exactly five years to the day, encompassing 61 games. The game that knocked them out of the ranking in 2007 was the huge loss at Utah.

• UCLA currently has its longest win streak under Jim Mora, at six games. The last time UCLA had a longer win streak was in in 2005 when it began the season 8-0.

• If UCLA beats Utah, it will be the first time since 1966-1967 it began two seasons in a row 5-0.

Brett Hundley became the first Bruin ever to throw for a score, run for a touchdown and catch a touchdown pass in a game last year against Utah.

• Under Mora, UCLA is 18-3 when scoring first, 10-0 when doing so at home, and is 20-0 when leading at halftime.

• Utah has 35 Californians on its roster, including 31 from Southern California.

• In games when a ranked UCLA team faced Utah, UCLA is 4-1, going back to 1956. The only upset was 2007 game in Salt Lake City, 44-6.

• Utah is 85-139-6 all-time against Pac-12 schools. The Utes only have a winning record against Arizona (20-17-2) but are either tied or trail every other Pac-12 school in their respective series.

• Utah is coached by Kyle Whittingham (54), in his 10th season at the helm of the Utes. After taking over in 2005, he pretty swiftly built Utah into a formidable program, going 13-0 in 2008, 10-3 in 2009 and 10-3 in 2010. The pinnacle came in 2008 when he led the Utes to that perfect record and finished the season ranked #4/#2. Since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, though, Utah hasn’t done well, going 21-20 overall and 9-19 in conference. A former defensive coordinator, Whittingham has always fielded good defensive Utah teams, but the offenses have been spotty and inconsistent. It got pretty bad when he hired former UCLA Offensive Coordinator Norm Chow in 2011. The Utes have basically been a program in search of an offensive coordinator, hiring another former head coach, Dennis Erickson, for the 2013 season and this year former Wyoming Head Coach, Dave Christensen. Starting the 2014 season 3-0, with the road win against Michigan, was creating some hope in Salt Lake City, with many of the Utah faithful believing this could be the year Whittinghame regains some of that late-2000s magic. But the heart-breaking loss last week at home against Washington State have revived some of the criticisms of Whittingham’s program this week. You’d have to think that, if Whittingham doesn’t post a winning record this season, making it three losing seasons in a row, his seat in Salt Lake City could get hot.

• Last week, Utah jumped out to a 21-0 lead against WSU, but socred just six points the rest of the way in the 28-27 loss.

• Utah is out-scoring its opponents 103 to 31 in the first half, but just 65-48 in the second half.

• UCLA is favored by 13 points.

• The weather could be a factor. Saturday looks like it could have San Bernardino-like heat, with a high of 100 degrees, while probably still in the low 90s by game time.

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