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UCLA hopes to capitalize against struggling Utah

By in Press Enterprise on November 2, 2017

By Thuc Nhi Nguyen

Utah, with its four-game losing streak, suddenly porous run defense and dormant rushing offense, is not alone in its struggles. Jim Mora, with eight consecutive road losses, the nation’s worst run defense and an injured star quarterback, relates.

“We’re kind of wounded as well,” the UCLA head coach said. “We’re birds of a feather in that respect.”

The Bruins and Utes are two teams desperate to just scrape by with bowl eligibility now that hopes for a Pac-12 title are all but lost.

UCLA has to cobble together two more wins out of its remaining four games to earn bowl eligibility. After Friday’s road game against Utah at 6:30 p.m., the Bruins host Arizona State, play rival USC at the Coliseum and finish the regular season at home against California. Of the four teams left, only the Trojans have a winning record.

When UCLA has the ball

Soso Jamabo is not interested in talking right now. He’s more interested in winning.

“We can do the X’s and O’s as much as we want, but we’ve just got to out-physical and out-will and outplay the other team at this point,” Jamabo said this week after UCLA’s rising running game was stopped cold against Washington.

The Bruins averaged 4.3 yards per carry through the first seven games of the year. UW’s rushing defense, which ranks second in the country, held UCLA to just 2.2 yards per attempt and a season-low 62 rushing yards.

Regaining momentum on the ground against the Utes, who have allowed 224.4 rushing yards per game in conference play, will be critical for the Bruins. A reliable running game will be redshirt freshman Devon Modster’s coziest security blanket if he makes his first career start in the place of star Josh Rosen. Rosen is questionable with undisclosed injuries he suffered last week.

“To be able to run the […]    

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