PASADENA — UCLA entered the national spotlight last week. The lights will be staying awhile longer.
With a 42-32 win over No. 11 Utah on Saturday at the Rose Bowl, No. 18 UCLA notched arguably its biggest win in the Chip Kelly era, remaining undefeated and pushing for a potential top-10 ranking next week.
UCLA (6-0, 3-0 Pac-12) has won nine consecutive games, its longest winning streak since it won 20 in a row over the 1997 and 1998 seasons. Its balanced offense accrued more than 500 total yards – 299 yards in the air and 214 on the ground.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson was again superb, perhaps entering his name into Heisman Trophy conversations. He threw four touchdown passes to pass Brett Hundley for most in UCLA history with 76 and ran for another score, finishing the day 18 for 23 for 299 yards passing.
The record-breaking touchdown was a short completion to Logan Loya, but the speedster etched his fifth-year quarterback into the record books with a 70-yard catch-and-run, breaking away on the left side to give UCLA a 35-25 lead early in the fourth quarter.
The score was a quick counter to Utah quarterback Cameron Rising capping a 10-play, 75-yard drive by scoring on a 9-yard run to cut the Bruins’ fourth-quarter lead to three.
The play of the game, though, came soon after from the UCLA defense. On a 4th-and-1 run by Rising, Jaylin Davies scooped up a Rising fumble and ran it back 37 yards to the 1-yard line.
Zach Charbonnet ran the ball in on the next play to give UCLA a 42-25 lead with 9:26 left.
UCLA, which had lost five in a row to Utah, heads into a bye week with back-to-back wins against ranked opponents for the first time since 2015. It will face No. 12 Oregon on the road in two weeks.
Rising was 23 for 32 for 287 yards, facing a UCLA defense that bent but didn’t break.
The teams entered the game with the two best defenses and most efficient passing offenses in the Pac-12. Utah (4-2, 2-1 Pac-12) led the conference allowing just 278.6 yards per game and UCLA was second at 318 yards. Offensively, UCLA was second in yards per game (506.4 yards) and Utah was second in scoring at 42.0 points per game.
UCLA took advantage of a short field to start the second half following a 43-yard kickoff return by Kazmeir Allen, with Thompson-Robinson finding Kam Brown for a 5-yard score to give the Bruins a 21-10 lead.
Thompson-Robinson executed a near-perfect 97-yard drive at the end of the first quarter, dropping a pair of dimes to Michael Ezeike and Titus Mokiao-Atimalala to get the ball into the red zone, setting up first-and-goal on a quarterback keeper and scoring the game’s first touchdown on a run around the left side.
Zach Charbonnet had another highlight-filled game, with a touchdown and two long first-half runs. He finished with 198 yards on 22 carries. The first, a 44-yard run, led to a 7-yard pass from Thompson-Robinson to Jake Bobo, who kept one foot inbounds in the back of the end zone to give UCLA a 14-3 lead.
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Utah’s lone touchdown of the first half came on a 5-yard run by Tavion Thomas, with Rising completing eight consecutive passes after UCLA’s Darius Mausau intercepted him late in the first quarter.
The Bruins had a 14-10 lead at halftime. The game had started off a defensive battle, with both teams punting on each of its first two drives.