Pasadena, Calif. • The Utah Utes put it all on the table against UCLA on Saturday by starting a freshman quarterback, taking big shots downfield and going for it on fourth downs.
But even an all-out, high-risk attitude couldn't change the result for the Utes, who lost their third game in a row, falling 21-14 to the Bruins in the Rose Bowl.
Utah freshman quarterback Travis Wilson made his starting debut for the Utes, becoming just the fourth freshman to start at the position for the Utes since the NCAA restored freshman eligibility in 1972.
His debut was mixed. While he did nothing directly to lose the game for the Utes, Utah's offensive showing was similar to past weeks as it failed to get many points on the board.
The Utes opened the offense as promised but failed to put together consistent drives.
Utah's early touchdown came on a fumbled punt return by the Bruins that was recovered in the end zone by Ryan Lacy in the first quarter.
Defensively, the Utes once again were manhandled by an opponent.
The game's back-breaking drive for the Utes came in the third quarter when Utah failed to convert on fourth-and-2 when Wilson was stopped short at UCLA's 34-yard line.
The Bruins responded with a 14-play, 66-yard drive which took 5 minutes, 47 seconds off the clock and ended with a 3-yard touchdown run by UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin.
That score gave the Bruins a 21-7 lead, but it might as well have been 50-7 because the Utes couldn't muster much of an offensive threat.
Utah did score late on a pass from Jon Hays to Dres Anderson with 4:29 left to cut its deficit to 21-14.
The schedule doesn't get any easier for the Utes, who travel to Oregon State in a week.
Utah's past freshman starting QBs and the results in their debuts
Ken Vierra • 1981: W, Northwestern, 42-0
Scott Cate • 1982: L, San Diego State, 21-17
Jordan Wynn • 2009: W, New Mexico, 45-14