Josh Rosen (Steve Cheng, BRO)

The USR staff makes their picks for Saturday's South elimination game

Can the Utes take down UCLA without Booker? The USR staff makes their selections


The loss of Devontae Booker is going to prove too much for the Utes against the Bruins. At times the offense will look great, as I expect a creative gameplan from Harding and A Rod, but Utah will ultimately fail to pick up crucial first downs due to not having Booker in the backfield. The Ute defense will do a good job at keeping Utah in this game, but the offensive firepower just won't be there for the Utes to pull out the W. 

UCLA 27 Utah 20


This is the first time I'm picking the Utes to lose this season and here is why. The offensive coaching is just too predictable and conservative, combined with the loss of Booker it'll just be too much. I trust Williams will still have a good day, and the defense will show up, but the inability of the coaches to trust their players enough to open up the playbook seems to have really hurt this team. If the offense is allowed to play then I think the Utes win. 

UCLA 27 Utah 24


The loss of Booker is obviously a huge reason UCLA will win the game. Wilson will have to play a perfect game in order for Utah to win & that usually means he will force passes, which is never a good thing. The Utah defense will be able to keep it close for the 1st half but will eventually tire out.

UCLA 30 Utah 23


This is a tough one to call. If the injury to Booker doesn't happen then I pick Utah in a close one, but Booker is injured and thus here we are. Booker is the ultimate safety blanket where you are fairly certain that if you give the ball to him in a crucial situation that he is going to get you at least a first down and is a threat for a touchdown whenever he gets the ball. If Utah comes out and opens it up in the passing game and allows Joe Williams some space in the run game then you may have a different story, but with the conservative and predictable nature of the Utah offense from the last several weeks it's tough to see things going any other way than what we all have seen so far this season outside of the Oregon win. I think everyone feels fairly certain that Utah's defense will come out and play solid, but the inability of the offense to mix things up and catch their opponents by surprise will be Utah's downfall in this matchup. 

UCLA 27 Utah 21


Now that Booker can't go for Utah, this changes things. UCLA has been better on the road under Mora than at home, but the cold weather on Saturday will be new sledding for them this year. Rosen is playing as well as any true freshman in the country and with Perkins in the backfield, UCLA has a back that can patiently do damage against a Utah defense that hasn't been playing at its peak in recent weeks. Wilson will keep Utah in the game with his legs, and Andy Phillips and Tom Hackett will help the Utes own the special teams game, but it won't be enough. Booker plays and I go Utah. He's not, so the Bruins knock Utah out of the South race.

UCLA 30 Utah 20

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