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Week 7 - Utah at UCLA
Posted Oct 10, 2012

Week 7 Fearless Predictions & Game Preview - Utah at UCLA

Utah (2-3) at UCLA (4-2) Oct. 13, 3:00, Fox

Here’s The Deal: Now that UCLA has experienced genuine adversity, how will it respond? The Bruins lost for the second time last Saturday, but this latest one had a much different feel than the one last month to Oregon State. This time, Jim Mora’s squad was mauled by Cal, 43-17, a reality check for a program that began the game ranked. UCLA must now figure out what it plans to be in the second half, because there’s still plenty at stake for this program. Utah is in a bit of a funk as well, losers of back-to-back games to Arizona State and USC. The Utes are at a crossroad in the season, with consecutive road games likely to determine whether or not they earn an additional trip in December. They exploded out of the gate against the Trojans last Thursday night, but were unable to sustain in a 38-28 home loss.

Why Utah Might Win: Although it hasn’t worked in the last two games, the Utes will once again rely on a formula of sound defense and the running of John White. While White hasn’t been able to approach last year’s production, he’s still one of the Pac-12’s best backs. A shaky UCLA offensive line will have all kinds of problems with the Utah defense. NT Star Lotulelei will require a double-team, as if that makes a difference, creating space for LB Trevor Reilly and DE Nate Fakahafua to get into the backfield. The underrated, Brian Blechen-led secondary should come up big versus a marginal group of Bruins receivers.

Why UCLA Might Win: The Bruins are balanced on offense … the Utes are not. Utah has White to match up with RB Johnathan Franklin, but UCLA QB Brett Hundley is an upgrade to visiting QB Jon Hays, who is at best a journeyman. Hundley is an effective runner and passer, giving defenses one more thing to be concerned about. The Bruins have also boasted a terrific pass rush fueled by DE Datone Jones and LB Anthony Barr. Not only has Hays been poorly protected in the pocket, but his marginal athleticism and questionable decision-making could result in takeaways for the UCLA defense.

What To Watch Out For: This is a crucial game for all of the Bruins, but especially rookie QB Brett Hundley. He threw four picks in last week’s loss, putting forth the kind of effort that can have a lasting effect on a young and fragile player. Mora will want to get his franchise at the position on track as quickly as possible without having to heap too much pressure upon him. Franklin will continue to be the focal point of the attack, but a handful of safe throws to enormous TE Joseph Fauria will be a part of the gameplan in the first few series.

What Will Happen: UCLA is about to get back on track. Mora will make sure of it, yet another indication that Rick Neuheisel is no longer calling the shots. Neither team has played especially well in recent weeks, but the Bruins are better balanced with the ball, and entertaining a team that has not looked good outside of Salt Lake City. Hundley will get back on the rails, with help from the Utah defensive backs, while Franklin will play through pain to help guide his team to a narrow victory.

CFN Prediction: UCLA 28 … Utah 24
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) UCLA -8 O/U: 52
Must Watch Rating (5 – Argo, 1 – Pitch Perfect): 2.5