HC Kyle Whittingham (USA Today)

Game Week: UCLA v. Utah Facts and Factors

Oct. 18 -- While UCLA dominates the all-time series with Utah, the series is tied at 3-3 in the last six meetings. Mike Fafaul is the first former walk-on QB to start a UCLA game since 1999...

• UCLA hosts the Utah Utes Saturday at the Rose Bowl, with kickoff scheduled for 1:00 p.m. PST.

•  Fox will televise the game, with Gus Johnson, Joel Klatt and Shannon Spake calling the action. 

• The Bruins are 3-4, and 1-3 in the conference, which is the worst start for UCLA since 2011, Rick Neuheisel's last season as head coach, when the Bruins finished 6-8 overall.   

•  Utah is 6-1 overall, 3-1 in the Pac-12, and are ranked #18/#19 in the two national polls.  It's the third-straight 3-1 Pac-12 start for the Utes, with its best Pac-12 run to date being the 5-1 last season.

•  Utah is tied for the Pac-12 South Division lead with Colorado, both with 3-1 league records. 

• Although UCLA leads the series with Utah, 11-3, the Utes are 2-3 against the Bruins since joining the Pac-12 in 2011 and are 3-3 in their last six meetings. 

• Last year, UCLA traveled to Salt Lake City to face the Utes. Coming off a disappointing loss to Washington State, in which the Cougars pulled out the game in the Rose Bowl in the last minute, the Bruins bounced back to beat Utah, 17-9.  

•  Two years ago in the Rose Bowl, UCLA was 4-0, ranked #8 in the nation, and had national title aspirations when it lost to Utah in the Rosel Bowl, 30-28. Looking back, the game decided the Pac-12 title.  

  The win for Utah in 2014 in the Rose Bowl was Utah’s first ever win against UCLA in Los Angeles.  UCLA won the first eight games of the series before Utah beat the 11th-ranked Bruins in 2007, 44-6, in a series that goes back to 1933. 

•  Despite last season's win, UCLA hasn’t generally played Utah well since they joined the conference. There was the devastating loss in 2014, then,  in 2013, UCLA won in Salt Lake City, but it took a big effort from Brett Hundley to defeat the Utes, who ended up going 5-7 (2-7 in the Pac-12) that year.   In 2012, Utah also wasn’t very good, going 5-7 (3-6) on the season, and UCLA just got by them, 21-14.  In 2011, in Utah’s first year in the Pac-12, it dominated UCLA In Salt Lake, 31-6. 

• Utah is led by Kyle Whittingham (56), who is in his 12th year as Utah’s head coach.  He has the second-most wins in school history (101-47).  He has spent 23 seasons on the Utah staff, working his way up from defensive line coach, to defensive coordinator, to head coach in 2005 when he replaced the departed Urban Meyer.  Whittingham is considered an excellent defensive coach, with the rep of getting the most out of his talent on the defensive side of the ball.  After Utah joined the Pac-12, the Utes and Whittingham got knocked for not being able to win at the Pac-12 level, going 17-19 and 9-18 in his first three Pac-12 conference seasons. But in the last three, he pretty much has dispelled that notion, posting records of 25-8 and 14-8, and finishing the last two seasons ranked 20th and 16th and sharing the Pac-12 South title last season.  In the off-season, Utah signed Whittingham to a contract extension through the 2020 season, paying him $3.3 million per year.

•   UCLA has posted a 13-8 overall record against ranked opponents under Coach Jim Mora and has won seven of the last nine.  

•  Last week, Washington State gained 356 yards of total offense, marking the sixth straight game that a UCLA opponent has failed to crack the 400-yard mark. The last time UCLA held six straight opponents to less than 400-yards of total offense was in 2010, and the last time it held more than six straight opponents to that number was in 2002 (8).

• UCLA’s Jim Mora is 3-1 against the Utes.  

• SInce the beginning of October, 2015, UCLA is 7-9. 

• Some great walk-on UCLA quarterback trivia: Mike Fafaul starting last week against Washington State marks the first time a walk-on or former walk-on quarterback started for UCLA since 1999 and Drew Bennett.  Bennett went on to play in the NFL, as a wide receiver, for 7 seven seasons  (2001-2008). McLeod Bethel-Thompson was a walk-on when he got playing time in 2007, but never started, and then transferred to Sacramento State. Bethel-Thompson made a few different NFL teams for parts of nine seasons, but never actually threw a pass in the NFL. 

Drew Bennett (Getty)

• Under Mora, an unranked UCLA team has beaten a top-20 ranked team three times.  It happened twice last year, when it beat #20-ranked California and #17-ranked Utah.  Mora's Bruins also beat #17-ranked Nebraska in the second game of his tenure, in 2012.  

• Because of the uncertainty of UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen's availability, there is no betting line on the game from Las Vegas oddsmakers. 


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