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Oregon beat USC. After a one-sided first quarter, Utah's defense clamped down on UCLA's prolific offense. But without its leading rusher and after losing its leading receiver, Utah's offense ended the school's bid for a Pac-12 South Division title on a sour note.

"It's difficult when you have something in your grasp and you let it slip away," said junior kicker Andy Phillips, whose three field goals were the extent of Utah's scoring in a 17-9 loss to UCLA. Had Utah prevailed, a win over Colorado would have earned it a trip to Santa Clara to face the North champ — the road to the Rose Bowl.

Battered by injuries in recent weeks, the No. 13 Utes can still win 10 games. But when Jayon Brown pounced on a botched play fake between Travis Wilson and Joe Williams, he snuffed out the embers of Utah's conference title hopes.

"The table was set," Kyle Whittingham said, "but we didn't take advantage of it."

The Utes were without senior running back Devontae Booker — lost for the season due to a meniscus injury, Whittingham clarified. And they were without true freshman wideout Britain Covey, who hopped from one sideline to the other and soon after re-entered the game, only to leave for good.

They'll be without both next year, as Booker pursues a pro career and Covey serves an LDS mission.

"That's probably 80 percent of our offense," Whittingham said.

Williams rushed for 121 yards in relief of Booker, a breakthrough performance that was marred in part by two fumbles. Wilson rushed for 67 yards, circling backward on fourth-and-8 and eluding diving tacklers to pick up a clutch first down on Utah's final series.

That effort, though, was doomed, and it was preceded by four straight three-and-outs.

The Utes started the second half as they had ended the first, riding the legs of Wilson and Williams for 71 yards and ending a third consecutive drive a Phillips field goal — Phillips 21-for-23 since going 1-for-3 against Michigan in the opener.

But UCLA followed with a dose of Utah's own medicine, marching 69 yards and scoring when Paul Perkins' dove across on his second effort for a 17-9 lead, the last of few fireworks Saturday.

After the third of Utah's four consecutive three-and-outs, UCLA's Ka'imi Fairbairn threw the Utes a lifeline by pushing his 49-yard attempt wide right.

Then, after Wilson took a 16-yard sack on third down and Utah punted again, Utah defensive end Jason Fanaika twice dragged Perkins to the turf for a loss.

And Utah's offense, at least temporarily, looked like it might make the most of its fifth chance. They drove 48 yards. But with the fumbled fake, the dream died.

Williams said it was his fault; his elbow was high. Wilson, likewise, tried to bear the blame: "I've got to do a better job throwing the ball and throwing guys open," he said, finishing 13-of-26 for 110 yards.

Whittingham cited missed opportunities in the red zone and turnovers — Utah's two fumbles to UCLA's clean sheet — as the keys.

But whoever was at fault, Utah was never able to undo the damage UCLA did early.

Utah's smaller cornerbacks had struggled to cover imposing Wildcat wideout Cayleb Jones last weekend in Tucson, and UCLA made it clear their intentions mirrored Arizona's on the game's first play.

True freshman Josh Rosen challenged tight coverage to find the hands of 6-foot-2, 225-pound wideout Thomas Duarte for a 33-yard gain — a precise throw to an unreachable target.

Later on the same drive, Rosen dropped 28-yard touchdown pass over Duarte's shoulder for the game's first score. Rosen led off the next series with a 37-yard jump ball to 6-foot-2, 220-pound Jordan Payton.

Sophomore defensive tackle Lowell Lotulelei may have saved his team four points when he dragged down Perkins for a loss of four, forcing a third-down heave from Rosen that was bobbled by junior cornerback Dominique Hatfield and caught out of bounds.

The Bruins settled for a 33-yard field goal from Fairbairn and an early 10-0 advantage, Rosen passing for 140 yards in the first quarter to Wilson's 16. Rosen finished with 220 yards passing.

Williams squandered Utah's first series when Kene Orjioke made him cough it up and Randall Goforth recovered to end an 11-play, 60-yard drive.

The Utes were held scoreless until six minutes were left in the half, Phillips capping a 14-play, 66-yard jaunt with a 39-yard field goal, and then repeating the feat with 38 seconds remaining.

Utah possessed the ball for almost 20 minutes in the first half, its best defense a plodding but effective offense that managed 14 first downs on 194 total yards.

UCLA finished with only 325 yards, its offense slowed, former Bruin and current Ute Kylie Fitts said, after the Utes began to play more zone defense.

It was for naught, though.

"It's hard," Fitts said. "But I couldn't be more proud of this team. I really do love this family. … We're going to move on, and we're going to finish it strong."

UCLA controls its destiny, and will visit the crosstown rival Trojans for what is essentially a Pac-12 semifinal next Saturday.

"It was a good win, obviously, against a very good opponent," said Bruins coach Jim Mora. "A really tremendous team. Utah, the way they play defense, just the way they play football, you really respect it."

Whittingham highlighted the chance to win 10 games, a strong showing. But he signed off: "Enjoy the rest of your Saturday. I won't."

Twitter: @matthew_piper