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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / No. 11 Utah’s dominant defense secures 14-7 victory over No. 22 UCLA

No. 11 Utah’s dominant defense secures 14-7 victory over No. 22 UCLA

Publish Date: 09/24/2023
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster
Video: No. 22 UCLA vs. No. 11 Utah Football Highlights | Week 4 | 2023 Season

No. 22 UCLA vs. No. 11 Utah Football Highlights | Week 4 | 2023 Season

Karene Reid’s interception for a touchdown on the opening play set the tone for the Utah Utes. The Utes’ defense dominated the No. 22 UCLA Bruins, resulting in a 14-7 Pac-12 Conference victory in Salt Lake City on Saturday.

Utah (4-0, 1-0) limited UCLA to 243 total yards, averaging just 3.6 yards per play. The Utes held their ground until late in the fourth quarter, not allowing a single point.

The Utes will face the Washington State Cougars next Saturday in this collegiate athletic conference. Meanwhile, UCLA will be seeing Oregon State Beavers on Friday.

Strong defense carries Utah’s lacking offense

The Utes relied on their strong defense as their offense struggled. Utah gained only 219 total yards, averaging 3.4 yards per play.

Quarterback Nate Johnson started in the game due to Cameron Rising’s recovery from a torn ACL in the Rose Bowl Game last January. Johnson threw the Utes’ sole offensive touchdown and connected with Landen King for a seven-yard touchdown in the second quarter. This became the necessary cushion to fend off the Bruins.

With the run game rendered ineffective, UCLA (3-1, 0-1) relied heavily on freshman quarterback Dante Moore. However, Moore faced immense pressure as he was sacked six times, leading to the Bruins gaining just nine rushing yards officially.

Jonah Elliss spearheaded the defensive effort with 3.5 sacks, while Sione Vaki added one on the last defensive snap.

The relentless pressure led to Moore finishing with -51 yards. Even though he got the ball into the red zone before the end of the third quarter, a fumble caused by Logan Fano prevented the Bruins from scoring.

Moore completed 15 of 35 passes for 234 yards and prevented Utah from experiencing its first shutout since 2019 by connecting with Josiah Norwood on a 17-yard pass with 3:39 remaining.

UCLA pushed for a tie, but Vaki’s sack sealed a four-and-out turnover on downs.

Johnson, with a 9-of-17 passing record, accumulated 117 yards. Jaylon Glover led the Utes with 86 rushing yards on 25 carries. In addition to his interception, Reid contributed nine tackles and broke up two passes.

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