SALT LAKE CITY (AP)—After starting the season 0-2 and facing No. 11 UCLA, Utah was ready for any breaks the Utes could muster.
UCLA gave them plenty and Utah took advantage almost every time in a 44-6 upset on Saturday. The Utes forced five turnovers and kept the Bruins from scoring a touchdown for the first time in four years.
“Everything went right for us,” said Tommy Grady, who passed for three touchdowns and a career-best 243 yards and no interceptions.
Darrell Mack ran for 107 yards, becoming Utah’s first 100-yard rusher since 2005. Safety Robert Johnson made two interceptions and forced a critical fumble that turned a sure touchdown for UCLA into a touchback that really got the Bruins’ meltdown going.
Utah outscored UCLA 30-0 in the second half.
“We kept them off-balance,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. “We never let their quarterback get comfortable in the pocket and get a rhythm going.”
The Bruins (2-1) committed 10 penalties and unraveled in the second half of their first-ever loss to Utah (1-2). The Utes had been 0-8 against UCLA, including a 31-10 loss in the season opener at the Rose Bowl last year.
UCLA shut out Utah in the second half of that game and the Utes hadn’t forgotten.
“We prepared to win and we expected to win,” said Martail Burnett, who had one of five sacks for the Utes.
Louie Sakoda kicked three field goals and Mack became the first Ute to rush for 100 yards since Quinton Ganther gained 120 in the 2005 Emerald Bowl against No. 24 Georgia Tech, which was also Utah’s last win over a ranked team.
“This whole week we practiced to be a whole different offense—something they’ve never seen,” Mack said. “They didn’t know what to expect.”
Mack ran for a touchdown and caught passes for two more in Utah’s biggest offensive outburst of the season.
It was even a bigger day for the defense, which pressured UCLA’s Ben Olson all game. Olson completed 20 of 40 passes for 290 yards and was intercepted three times during his first game in Utah, the state where he started his college career at Brigham Young.
“I take responsibility for making poor decisions and not taking care of the ball,” Olson said. “I need to play better.”
The Bruins hadn’t been kept out of the end zone for an entire game since beating Illinois 6-3 on Sept. 13, 2003. That was UCLA’s first win under coach Karl Dorrell, who appeared to have the Bruins bound for a top-10 ranking before they imploded Saturday.
“There is not even enough time to discuss all the issues we had today,” Dorrell said. “We did not even play close to our potential and we were never in sync.”
The Bruins’ biggest blunder was in the third quarter. Behind 17-6, UCLA was on the verge of a touchdown that never happened thanks to Johnson. Marcus Everett caught a pass from Olson and was on his way to a 52-yard touchdown, but he stumbled and then lost the ball when he tried to stretch it across the goal line as Johnson hit him.
The ball bounced straight out of the end zone for a touchback.
“That really killed any momentum we had gained,” Dorrell said.
Instead of cutting the margin to four or possibly three, the Bruins fell behind 24-6. Utah drove 80 yards—getting help with a pass interference call along the way—and scoring on a 12-yard pass from Louks to Dallin Rogers.
Grady was making his second start for Brian Johnson (separated shoulder). He was 17-for-30 for 246 yards, including a 53-yard touchdown to Marquis Wilson that gave Utah a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
The Bruins had to settle for field goals by Kai Forbath twice after penalties stalled drives deep in Utah territory. Forbath was good from 45 yards and 52 yards in the first half, then didn’t get another chance in the game.
His second kick cut the lead to 7-6, then Utah answered with another touchdown. The Utes surprised the Bruins with a fake field goal from the 34 and holder Bradon Godfrey took it up the middle 5 yards for a first down.
Grady scrambled away from trouble and dumped a short pass to Mack for 16 yards to the 12. On first down, Grady threw to Mack again in the flat and Mack went untouched for a 12-yard touchdown with 23 seconds left in the half.
UCLA is the highest-ranked team Utah has beaten since a 45-31 win over No. 12 Colorado State in 1994.