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UCLA Takes First Road Loss at Utah, 44-24

Oct 30, 2021
Ethan Garbers

Salt Lake City - UCLA dropped its first road contest of the season, allowing a season-high 290 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns in a 44-24 loss at Utah.

In his first collegiate start, Bruin redshirt freshman quarterback Ethan Garbers was 27-for-44 with 265 yards and threw for two touchdowns. He also rushed for 36 yards on 14 attempts and led UCLA to seven of nine fourth down conversions. Zach Charbonnet was UCLA's top runner with 65 yards rushing and one touchdown.

Utah running back Tavion Thomas rushed for four touchdowns and totaled 160 yards on 24 carries, while quarterback Cameron Rising was 17-for-29 with 179 yards passing and one touchdown.

Both teams scored on their first two drives, with Utah taking an early 7-0 lead after a 20-yard Thomas touchdown rush on the first drive. The Bruins responded with a 16-play drive that resulted in a 28-yard field goal by Nicholas Barr-Mira. Garbers helped keep the drive alive by scrambling six yards for a first down on 4th and 2 at the Utah 41.

Thomas scored again for the Utes in the second quarter, an eight-yard run that put Utah up 14-3, but UCLA came right back with a 12-play drive that saw the Bruins convert a pair of fourth downs. Garbers gained three yards on 4th and 2 on the Bruins' 45, and Charbonnet took it into the end zone on 4th and 1 from the Utah 30 to trim the Utes' lead to 14-10.

Utah (5-3, 4-1 in the Pac-12) took over from there, however, scoring on a four-yard touchdown pass from Rising to Dalton Kincaid and then nabbing an interception two plays later at the UCLA 30 on a tipped pass by Garbers. The Utes quickly scored on a 10-yard rush by Thomas to go up 28-10 with 4:27 to play in the half.

The Bruins (5-4, 3-3) began a comeback late in the third quarter, with Garbers executing a six-play touchdown drive that culminated in a six-yard touchdown pass to Michael Ezeike. The score was Garbers' first career touchdown, and it cut Utah's lead to 28-17 with under five minutes to play in the third. But Utah answered back with a 12-yard rushing touchdown by Rising at the start of the fourth quarter to bring the lead back to 18.

A nine-yard touchdown reception by Greg Dulcich with 11:04 to play brought UCLA within 11 once again, and the defense produced a third down stop, with the Utes falling one yard short at the UCLA 49. On 4th and 1, Rising punted 43 yards to the UCLA six, and on the first play of the drive, Hauati Pututau sacked Garbers in the end zone for a safety. The Utes scored again on Thomas' fourth touchdown of the night, a 24-yard run with 4:40 to play.

The Bruins will have a bye next week before hosting Colorado at the Rose Bowl on Nov. 13.