UCLA knew long ago that outside linebacker Anthony Barr was its defensive cornerstone, but the Bruins might have identified their next crop of leaders on that side of the ball in their 34-27 win at Utah on Thursday night.
Barr was his usual disruptive self, posting three tackling for loss with two sacks, while redshirt junior defensive back Anthony Jefferson and true freshman linebacker Myles Jack combined to pick off three of the six interceptions thrown by Utes quarterback Travis Wilson (22-of-44 passing for 288 yards, two touchdowns).
Jefferson intercepted Wilson twice, leading to 10 UCLA points. Jack, who had six tackles and two pass breakups, ended the final Utah threat by picking off Wilson at the UCLA 12-yard line with 16 seconds remaining.
Quarterback Brett Hundley also had his share of highlights, throwing for one touchdown, rushing for another, and catching a score on a 7-yard pass from wide receiver Devin Fuller.
Hundley finished up 17-of-27 passing for 211 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 85 yards on 20 carries, but nearly threw the game away with a careless interception early in the fourth quarter. Under heavy pressure from the relentless Utah pass rush, Hundley tried to throw the ball away, but it was intercepted by corner Keith McGill and returned it 19 yards to tie the game at 24.
The win came at a heavy cost for UCLA, which faces Stanford in two weeks. Starting left tackle Torian White broke his ankle and is out indefinitely. Hundley was sacked twice and was repeatedly hit and hurried after White was hurt in the second quarter.
Running back Jordon James (12 carries for 39 yards, one touchdown) missed the second half with an ankle injury.
Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.