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Pasadena, Calif. • Say this for the Utah Utes — they are capable of playing some compelling football this season in the Pac-12 and still surviving, making a habit of falling behind and climbing back into contests, and usually winning.

They did the same on Saturday at the Rose Bowl against UCLA, going ahead, trailing, going ahead, trailing, going ahead, and, ultimately, winning 52-45. The optimist would point to the Utes' resiliency. The pessimist would ask, what the heck happened to Utah's defense? And both would be justified.

Saturday's game was all Utah for 12 seconds. For three minutes. For what seemed like would be forever. And then, it wasn't. Then, it was. Then, it wasn't. It was. It wasn't. It was. It wasn't.

You saw what happened.

Cory Butler-Byrd returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a score, putting the Utes up early, about as early as you can get. Utah followed with a four-play, 59-yard scoring drive at the 11:38 mark of the first quarter. It was 14-0 and the Bruins looked like dead bears walking.

And then … hold it, it was all UCLA.

The Bruins scored on a 71-yard drive, boosted by penalties against the Ute defense, making it 14-7. Another drive, ending in a touchdown pass from backup QB Mike Fafaul to Nate Iese with six minutes left in the first quarter leveled the thing. Next, UCLA caused a Ute turnover at Utah's 14-yard line, and running back Bolu Olorunfunmi — love that name because it sounds like some kind of exotic verb — Olorunfunmi'ed into the end zone for the lead.

And then … a Utah touchdown was nullified by a chop-block penalty, but Andy Phillips salvaged the effort with a 46-yard field goal. Score with 14 minutes left in the opening half: 21-17, Bruins.

So, it went. And went. And went.

Joe Williams ran three times for 52 yards for a TD, 24-21, Utah. A Phillips field goal closed the scoring in the first half.

Back and forth. Forth and back.

UCLA's Iese caught a 50-yard pass from Fafaul, stumbling into the end zone to give the Bruins a 28-27 lead. Williams led a 78-yard TD drive, punctuated with a two-point conversion. A Fafaul-to-Jordan Lasley 75-yard touchdown pass tied it at 35. Phillips for three tipped it Utah's way. Williams' 64-yard TD run put it on full tilt. UCLA got a subsequent field goal. As for the rest, we're running out of space here.

All told, Utah put 539 yards on UCLA, held on for dear life — and upped its record to 7-1.