Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Thursday, Oct. 3, 10 p.m. ET | FOX Sports 1
UCLA is scoring a staggering 52.7 points through three games. Utah is the best defense the Bruins will have seen to this point in 2013, but the Utes can certainly be had.
Oregon State scored 51 points—45 in regulation—in Utah's first conference foray.
Defensive-minded head coach Kyle Whittingham obviously wants to avoid a repeat, but that means containing one of the conference's best quarterbacks.
UCLA sophomore Brett Hundley is hurting opposing defenses in a variety of ways, unleashing a dangerous dual-threat attack and spreading the ball among a vast array of receivers.
Twenty different Bruins have catches this season, with only Shaquelle Evans and Devin Fuller breaking into double digits. Utah will not have the option of keying in on one target in particular in the passing game.
That leaves Ute pass-rush specialites Nate Orchard and Trevor Reilly responsible for the cumbersome job of limiting Hundley at the line. The sophomore quarterback will get yards, but their job is limiting the impact.
Utah has its own offensive punch this season, behind sophomore quarterback Travis Wilson.
Wilson's individual statistics mirror those of Hundley: Wilson has 1,118 yards passing and nine touchdowns, with another 251 and five on the ground through four games. Hundley's passed for 848 yards and eight touchdowns with 157 rushing yards and two more scores.
However, he must limit his freelancing Thursday. This Bruin defense thrives on blowing up the quarterback in the backfield, and linebackers Anthony Barr and Myles Jack are particularly adept at doing so.
Bubba Poole's ability to parlay the tenacious Bruin blitz defense into gains with the rush can alleviate pressure on Wilson. Poole was effective against the similarly aggressive look offered by BYU in Week 4, rushing for 5.3 yards per carry.
That allowed Wilson to complete 24-of-35 pass attempts with two touchdowns.
Utah can keep it close, but UCLA's tendency to blow away teams in the second half should overwhelm the Utes.
My Prediction: UCLA 42, Utah 27