UCLA could not stop Utah’s running game, nor protect quarterback Brett Hundley in their 30-28 loss at the Rose Bowl. (96458)
UCLA could not stop Utah’s running game, nor protect quarterback Brett Hundley in their 30-28 loss at the Rose Bowl. Credit: OW Photo courtesy of Jason Lewis.

This past Saturday, both UCLA and USC had opportunities to win their respective games as time expired, but fans of both teams left the games pretty heated. USC allowed a last second “hail Mary” against Arizona St., which led to the 38-34 loss, and UCLA had two opportunities at a game-winning field goal on consecutive plays against Utah, but they were unable to connect on either try, giving Utah the 30-28 victory.

UCLA trailed for the bulk of the game before quarterback Brett Hundley rallied them back from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit. They trailed for the most part because they could not stop Utah’s running game, as UCLA gave up 342 yards on the ground.

UCLA’s other issue was protecting Hundley, who was sacked 10 times. That has been an ongoing problem, as he is the most sacked quarterback in the nation over the past three years. The blame has gone to UCLA’s offensive line, but Hundley and head coach Jim Mora Jr. have a different take.

“I take a lot on myself. I have to get the ball out of my hands,” Hundley said. “Sometimes I have to change protections and once or twice I missed it. I take responsibility on that and we have to be better on that.”

“I’ll say it again and until the day that I die or get out of football: Sacks are a component of all 11 (players),” Mora said. “Sometimes it’s a rush, sometimes you get beat and sometimes the quarterback holds it for too long. It’s a function of all of those things.”

Where ever the blame should go, if UCLA cannot protect Hundley better, they will continue to have an inconsistent offense.

As for USC, their defense gave up too many big plays in their loss to Arizona St. USC led by nine points late in the fourth quarter when they gave up a 73-yard touchdown pass. On the final play of the game Arizona St. connected on a 46-yard bomb, which shocked the entire stadium.

The losses for UCLA and USC were very costly, but neither team is out of the PAC-12 South race. For both teams it was only their first conference loss. But dropping home games to programs that they are both supposed to be better than is a sign that neither team is going to compete for anything meaningful this season.

UCLA, who dropped to No. 18 in the rankings, can get back on track if they can knock off No. 12 Oregon this Saturday at the Rose Bowl. USC, who is unranked, travels to No. 10 Arizona, and somehow USC is favored by three points in the game.