Thursday night football is enjoyable football, especially when it's cold and wet football and you get to watch it from the warm, dry confines of your house. It's also fun when it's your team out there and the cold and suffering becomes communal. The weather report from Utah looks miserable, so be prepared for a boisterous crowd in Salt Lake City.
Head coach Jim L. Mora is hoping to lead his high-powered UCLA Bruins to their first 4-0 start since 2005. To do that, he'll have to contend with that cold, that rain and that crowd. Oh, and that Utah squad, which has a penchant for fourth-quarter heroics.
Rankings and records: No. 12 UCLA comes into the game at 3-0 and the only member of the Pac-12 South division to not have a loss in conference play (UCLA is also the only team in the division that hasn't played a conference game yet, so that may have something to do with it). Utah, meanwhile, is still 3-1 with wins over in-state foes BYU, Utah State and Weber State; only a heartbreaking 51-48 loss to Oregon State in conference play mars the Utes' record.
Vegas: UCLA is favored by 6.5 points, according to OddsShark.com, and the over/under is 60.
Weather: Mostly cloudy with rain likely and temperatures dipping into the 40s. Hey, it's October.
Three names to know
UCLA's Brett Hundley is one of the best quarterbacks nobody's talking about, with over a thousand yards of total offense in his first three games of the season. His efficiency — specifically in yards per attempt — is way up over last season, and he's rounding into form as a legitimate dual threat.
The man in charge of Utah's effort to shut down Hundley is LB/DE Trevor Reilly, who leads the team with 26 tackles and 5.5 tackles-for-loss thus far. Reilly is a former walk-on who has grown into (and thrived in) his role on the edge. Don't be surprised if he forces a fumble or two: his 7.5 forced thus far are third in school history.
Utah has an offense too, and QB Travis Wilson is at the helm. Wilson has almost 1,400 yards of total offense this year and 14 total touchdowns through the air and on the ground. Utah needs to find a way to stop Wilson, especially in the red zone, or he'll devour the shaky Bruin defense.
Two things at stake
UCLA would get itself into the driver's seat for the Pac-12 South crown with a win here; picking up a road win and staying the only team with an unblemished conference record, even in October, matters. As for Utah, it's facing the teeth of its schedule with six straight games against Top 25 competition and/or on the road. The Utes can't afford to lose all of them, and they might not be favored in any of them. Getting a win by any means necessary is important, and this is as good an opportunity as any.
How to witness
TV: This game is on Thursday night at 10 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1, which you probably get. Announcers are Justin Kutcher, Joel Klatt, Petros Papadakis and Kristina Pink.
Online streaming: None available.