Let’s take a look at who has the advantage on special teams and which coaching staff has the edge over the other coaching staff in this match-up.
Special Teams: Tie
Utah kicker Cole Becker’s only miss in 2023 came from 50-plus yards, a range that RJ Lopez has yet to be tested from. Both kickers have been extremely reliable through the first three weeks of the year.
Overall Edge: Utah
Kyle Whittingham’s squad is just more proven this year. These teams are very similar in a lot of statistical categories, but Utah has done so against higher-level opponents. This is UCLA’s first major test of the year, and the slight edges at many position groups, especially defensively, make this a daunting one for the Bruins.
The Utes are 4.5-point favorites on Saturday, and that’s a fair number, especially in Salt Lake. UCLA is the more explosive offensive team, however, and all it takes is a missed coverage here or there for the Bruins to turn this game on its head.
Also, this is a huge Dante Moore moment. We know he can be great against San Diego State and Coastal Carolina, but there’s still a question mark next to his name. He could go into Salt Lake, poised and calm, and truly announce his presence as one of the top quarterbacks in the nation. He has the talent. If he rises to the occasion, it won’t just be a big Pac-12 win that we’re talking about. A victory here could set the Bruins on track for conference title hopes, and maybe even more than that.