Quarterback Dante Moore shined in his first three games for the No. 22 UCLA Bruins, leading them to a 3-0 record. But on Saturday, the No. 11 Utah Utes shut down his offense in a 14-7 loss.
And it started ugly.
Moore threw a pick-six on the game’s first play, giving the Utes an early lead. Then, the Bruins had six three-and-outs in the rest of the first half. On one drive in the first half, Moore found receiver Josiah Norwood open near the endzone, but Norwood dropped the pass. The Bruins went for it on fourth down and failed to convert, keeping them scoreless.
The Bruins’ struggles continued into the second half. Late in the third quarter, in the red zone, Moore fumbled after missing receiver Logan Loya down the field a few plays before.
The Bruins were scoreless through three quarters and trailed 14-0. Luckily for them, they played outstanding defense. They allowed only one touchdown, led by the efforts of linebacker Kain Medrano, who had ten total tackles, two sacks, and 2.5 tackles for loss (TFL).
The Medrano-led Bruins defense limited the Utes to 219 yards. In the first quarter, Medrano punched out a fumble, and defensive back John Humphrey recovered to get the ball back for the Bruins. But, like much of the day, the Bruins failed to convert on offense.
The Bruins finally got their offense going in the fourth quarter when Moore found tight end Carsen Ryan between a pair of Utes defenders on a fourth down, keeping the Bruins alive. Shortly after, with 3:39 remaining in the fourth quarter, Moore threw a 17-yard touchdown to Norwood, making it a 14-7 game.
The Bruins got the ball back with 3:14 left, but the Utes sacked Moore three times in the final drive, forcing a turnover on downs.
Moore finished with 234 yards on 15-of-35 passing, with one touchdown and one interception. He did not have much help either, as the Utes sacked Moore seven times, and the rushing duo of Carson Steele and T.J. Harden combined for 60 yards on 22 carries.
The Bruins move to 3-1 with the loss and 0-1 in PAC-12 Conference play. Next, they have a bye week, where they can regroup before playing the No. 21 Washington State Cougars.