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Postgame Notes: Utah vs. UCLA

Oct 31, 2021
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Postgame Notes
(at) Utah 44, UCLA 24
Salt Lake City, Utah (Rice-Eccles Stadium)
Sat., Oct. 30, 2021
Kick: 8:15 p.m. MT | End: 11:38 p.m.
Attendance: 51,922


  • Utah is 4-1 in the Pac-12 for the first time since 2019.
  • Utah has won six straight games inside Rice-Eccles Stadium and 17 of its last 18 games inside the home confines.
  • Utah has won five in a row over UCLA, including three straight at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
  • The Utes have won 15 of their last 18 games in Pac-12 play.
  • Head coach Kyle Whittingham recorded his 139th career win at the helm of the Utes, and is now three victories away from surpassing Ike Armstrong (141) as the winningest leader in program history. Including Whittingham's prior tenure as an assistant coach (1994-2004), he has contributed to 224 victories, more than any coach in program history.
  • Utah has sold out Rice-Eccles stadium in 68 consecutive games, dating back to the 2010 season opener. Saturday's official attendance of 51,922 was a record for Rice-Eccles Stadium and reset the facility's previous record of 51,724 in Utah's last home game vs. Arizona State (Oct. 16).
  • Prior to the start of the second quarter, Utah retired the No. 22 jersey, most recently worn by the late Ty Jordan (2020) and Aaron Lowe ('21). It is the first time in program history that a jersey has been retired.
  • Utah won the coin toss, elected to receive and defended the North goal to start the game. It was the first time this season that the Utes elected to receive after winning the toss.


  • Sophomore running back Tavion Thomas tied the Utah single-game record with four rushing touchdowns, the eighth such performance by a Ute (all since 1980) and first since Joe Williams accomplished the feat at UCLA during 2016.
  • It is the second straight week that a Pac-12 player has rushed for four touchdowns, but only the third time in the conference since 2019. Oregon's Travis Dye accomplished the feat last week at UCLA, and the Bruins' Joshua Kelley did so vs. Arizona State back in '19.
  • Thomas' 160 rushing yards reset a career-high, surpassing a 141-yard effort vs. Alabama A&M during 2018, when Thomas played at Cincinnati. His 24 carries were Thomas' most as a Ute and most by a Utah player since Ty Jordan carried the ball 27 times vs. Oregon State in 2020.
  • It was the most rushing yards in a game by a Ute since Jordan had 167 in that same Oregon State game last season.
  • Thomas carried the ball 20-plus times for the third straight game.
  • Thomas' four scores on the ground were a career-high and his third multi-rushing-touchdown game of the season (2 vs. Weber State, 2 at Oregon State). Thomas now owns four such collegiate performances, including a two-touchdown game vs. Alabama A&M during 2018.
  • With Thomas' 10-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, Utah capped a streak of touchdowns on eight straight possessions while playing at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Seven of those eight drives saw the Utes march at least 68 yards downfield.
  • Thomas' second quarter 10-yard scamper also capped a scoring drive that lasted just 35 seconds, the quickest for Utah this season. It came in just under the previously-quickest scoring drive which was a 38-second trip to the end zone against Weber State (Sept. 2).
  • Thomas surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark in the third quarter. It's Thomas' third such performance this season, fifth by a Ute this season, and fifth of Thomas' career (two at Cincinnati).
  • For the third time this season, sophomore quarterback Cameron Rising both rushed and passed for a touchdown in the same game.
  • Fittingly on the night that Utah retired the No. 22 jersey in honor of the late Ty Jordan and Aaron Lowe, Thomas is the first Utah player since Jordan in 2020 both to rush for three touchdowns in a game, and also do so in a half. Jordan accomplished the feat in the second half of the 2020 season finale, a victory over Washington State.
  • In that same theme, Utah scored a touchdown on the first play of the second quarter following the jersey retirement; as well as on the first play of the fourth quarter following the Moment of Loudness in tribute to Jordan and Lowe.
  • Utah amassed 146 rushing yards in the first half, surpassing the second half vs. Arizona State (145) for the most by the team in a half this season.
  • The Utes eclipsed the 35-point mark for the fourth time this season and also produced 40-plus points for the fifth straight time against UCLA.
  • Utah scored a touchdown on its opening drive for the third straight game.
  • 469 yards of total offense were a season-high for the Utes. It was the fourth straight game and fifth time this season that the Utes amassed 400-plus yards. It was the most since Utah recorded 528 total yards in the 2020 season finale, a win over Washington State.


  • UCLA, which entered Saturday's game averaging 206 rushing yards per game, was held to 146 yards on the ground, the second-fewest for the Bruins this season.
  • Junior linebacker Nephi Sewell recorded a career-high 14 tackles, passing his previous high of 11 which he last reached at BYU (Sept. 11).
  • It was Sewell's second double-digit tackle game this season and included his fifth career interception, third as a Ute, and first since Dec. 12, 2020 at Colorado.
  • Freshman defensive end Van Fillinger surpassed his career-high with six tackles in the win.
  • Senior defensive tackle Hauati Pututau took down UCLA quarterback Ethan Garbers for a safety in the fourth quarter, the first safety recorded by Utah since a 2016 game at Oregon State.
  • After missing the first half due to a targeting call last week, junior linebacker Devin Lloyd entered the game on the first series of the second half and proceeded to contribute three tackles, all solo, including a sack plus a pass breakup. Lloyd now owns 71 tackles, 14.0 TFLs and 6.0 sacks on the season, all team-highs.


Special Teams

  • Cameron Rising attempted the first two punts of his career (35 yards, 43 yards) for an average of 39 yards per punt. It was the first punt attempt by a Utah non-kicker since Eric Weddle (2005 at BYU) and first by a Utah quarterback since at least 1996. In that 2005 game at BYU, Weddle attempted two punts for 46 yards, including a 34-yard long.