Thompson-Robinson leads No. 18 UCLA over No. 11 Utah 42-32
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s knocked another item off his revenge list Saturday by leading No. 18 UCLA past No. 11 Utah 42-32.
The fifth-year senior said during the week leading up to the game that he had something to prove against the Utes, who had handily won five straight in the series by an average of 27 points.
Thompson-Robinson made sure that streak ended, passing for 299 yards and four TDs while also running for a score to lead the Bruins to their first 6-0 start since 2005, The fifth-year senior also became UCLA’s career leader in passing touchdowns.
“I definitely wanted this one. We all know the history between UCLA and Utah, the point differential has been crazy,” said Thompson-Robinson, who completed 18 of 23 passes. “So we knew the beast at hand coming in here, and I think my boys went out there and went to work.”
The Bruins also improved to 3-0 in the Pac-12 and picked up the biggest victory in coach Chip Kelly’s five years in Westwood. They have won nine straight dating back to last season, which is their longest streak since running off 20 straight victories in 1997-98.
After Cameron Rising’s 9-yard keeper got the Utes within 28-25 early in the fourth quarter, Thompson-Robinson connected with Logan Loya for a 70-yard touchdown. That score with 11:17 remaining was the 76th touchdown pass of Thompson-Robinson’s career, passing Brett Hundley for the most in school history.
“It’s pretty cool for what Dorian has done. He has invested a ton in himself and he’s reaping the rewards of that,” Kelly said. “Really happy for him, seeing how he has grown as a person and grown as a leader.”
Thompson-Robinson’s only mistake came late in the fourth quarter when he was picked off by Clark Phillips III, who returned it 80 yards for a touchdown. It was the second straight week Phillips had a Pick Six and the fourth of his career.
Zach Charbonnet had a career-high 198 rushing yards and a touchdown. It was the junior’s fourth 100-yard game of the season.
Cameron Rising passed for 287 yards and ran for a pair of scores for the Utes (4-2, 2-1), who had won five straight in the series by an average of 27 points.
Rising started slow, hitting just one of his first five throws for 14 yards and an interception before finishing 23 of 32. Tavion Thomas rushed for 91 yards and a score.
“We put bad ball on tape, and really not something that we’re looking to do,” said Rising, who also had 59 yards rushing. “There’s a lot of stuff that I need to clean up to make sure that we’re rolling as an offense to be better.”
Thompson-Robinson connected twice for scores with Jake Bobo. There was a 7-yard TD pass in the back of the end zone to extend UCLA’s lead to 14-3 in the second quarter and a 10-yard strike late in the third quarter to make it 28-18.
UCLA led 14-10 at halftime and scored on its first four drives of the second half as Utah could not keep pace. The Bruins got the ball to begin the third quarter and converted on Kam Brown’s 5-yard TD catch to push the lead into double digits.
“The whole problem really in the second half was we couldn’t get any stops,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. “They had a bunch of big plays both in the receiving game and the rushing game. That really is what did us in was their big play capability.”
UCLA linebacker Darius Muasau had an interception and forced fumble which would lead to a pair of touchdowns.
His first-quarter pick would later result in Thompson-Robinson’s keeper while the strip sack of Rising in the fourth quarter was recovered by Jaylin Davies and returned 37 yards to the Utah 1. Charbonnet barreled in up the middle on the next play to put the Bruins up 42-35.
Utah: Rising is missing his favorite target in tight end Brant Kuithe, who is lost for the year with a torn ACL. The Utes didn’t have any consistent receivers who could pressure UCLA’s secondary outside the numbers and most of the passes were on crosses to the middle of the field.
UCLA: The Bruins have to be considered a legitimate threat to reach the Pac-12 title game and Thompson-Robinson is making a bid to enter the Heisman Trophy picture.
UCLA should be in the top 15 for the second time in Kelly’s tenure. It got up to 13th last September before a loss to Fresno State. Utah will drop, but should remain ranked.
Utah: Hosts No. 6 Southern California next Saturday.
UCLA: Off next week before traveling to No. 12 Oregon on Oct. 22.
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