PASADENA, Calif. — The University of Utah let its Pac-12 opener slip last week at home after Washington State roared back in the second half, but the Utes claimed all week that their focus was now on winning the Pac-12 South.
A thrilling victory over the 8th ranked Bruins of UCLA at the Rose Bowl was a great start for achieving that goal.
Not one, but two missed field goals by Bruins’ kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn as time expired sealed the 30-28 upset to shake up the conference hierarchy.
On the other end, Utah kicker Andy Phillips did his part, splitting the uprights for the third time Saturday, including a 29-yarder for the lead with 34 seconds left. It left enough time for Bruins’ quarterback Brett Hundley, to get UCLA into range, but Fairbairn missed from 55 yards out.
However, Utah was ruled for interference with the kicker, only to watch Fairbairn miss from 50 yards on his second try.
The Utes led most of the game.
It began with a 27-yard Tevin Carter interception return in the first quarter. Oklahoma transfer Kendall Thompson entered the game early for starter Travis Wilson, and it didn’t take long for Thompson to have success.
He found Dres Anderson in the corner of the end-zone early in the second quarter, and just like they did against Wazzu, Utah carried a lead into the half.
The lead expanded to 24-14 after Devontae Booker found the end zone to end the third quarter.
Booker completed his second consecutive 100-yard game, but the Heisman candidate, Hundley, had a couple of answers in the fourth — first, 93 yards to Devin Fuller, followed by a 40-yarder to Eldridge Massington with four minutes and 50 seconds left in the game.
The extra point gave UCLA their one and only lead of the game.