Utes Not Looking Past UCLA

Oct 25, 2018, 12:16 PM | Updated: 12:17 pm
Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham gestures during victory over USC in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oc...
Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham gestures during victory over USC in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. The Utes take their three-game winning streak on the road to UCLA for a Friday night contest. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)
(Ravell Call, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah football team will look to secure its fourth straight win Friday night on the road against UCLA.

The Utes were rewarded for their strong play of late by climbing to the No. 23 ranking in the AP polls. But being the only team in the Pac-12 South division to not play for the championship, they still have unfinished business.

‘Everything Is Centered On The Bruins’

Now that they’re in the driver’s seat in the Pac-12 South following Saturday’s win over USC, it’s imperative that the Utes win the games they should win. UCLA began the season 0-5, the worst start in 75 years for the Bruins.

Despite the Bruins’ inferior record, they are still motivated to win and are still mathematically in the race for the South title.

That said, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham isn’t going to overlook UCLA.

“We have UCLA and that is our challenge right now. You can’t look past anyone in this conference,” said Whittingham. “Our guys do a great job of not looking past any team. So, I couldn’t even tell you who we play next week. We have all of our focus, all of our attention, everything is centered on the Bruins.”

Huntley Playing His Best Football

The Utes have played extremely well over the last three weeks, especially on offense. They’ve scored 40-plus points in each of their wins over Stanford, Arizona and USC. Quarterback Tyler Huntley has come on strong, completing 76.8 percent of his passing attempts in the three wins. He was honored as the Pac-12 offensive player of the week after throwing for four touchdowns in the win over USC.

When asked at his weekly press conference Monday if Huntley had played his best football against the Trojans, Whittingham responded, “Probably so.”

“He has had some really good games for us. His passing rating was outstanding, it was right in the 200s, which is as good as you are going to find. He took care of the football. He ran the football effectively and got out of some really tough spots in the pocket a couple of times,” said Whittingham.

Kelly Impressed With Utes, Hansen

It’s not just the offense that has been playing well. Going into the game at UCLA, the defense is the No. 1 ranked unit in rushing defense, holding opponents to just 74.6 yards per game.

As for what makes Utah’s defense so good, UCLA head coach Chip Kelly says it’s the personnel and the schemes, led by linebacker Chase Hansen.

“Kyle’s always been there for a long time and has always done a really good job schematically,” said Kelly. “But he’s got some really good players there with Hansen being the No. 1 guy and is as good a linebacker as I’ve seen this year.”

The game between the Utes and the Bruins will kick off Friday at 8:30 p.m. at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. It will be broadcast on ESPN.


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Utes Not Looking Past UCLA