Travis Wilson had thrown five interceptions yet somehow had Utah driving late with a chance to tie the game.
But pick No. 6 was one too many.
Just after a near touchdown pass to Jake Murphy was confirmed out of bounds on replay, Wilson tried to force the ball on fourth down and was intercepted by Myles Jack at the UCLA 12 with 16 seconds remaining and the 12th-ranked Bruins escaped with a 34-27 win over the Utes on Thursday night.
"We just had way too many mental errors, but ultimately, they were my fault. Some were deflected and were off receivers' hands, but it happens so we just have to keep on playing," said Wilson, who was 22 of 44 with two touchdowns, along with those six interceptions.
Despite all the turnovers, Utah's defense enabled the offense to have more than its share of chances.
"Our defense was dominant in the second half except for one play — the QB draw that went for a touchdown," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said.
That 36-yard run by Brett Hundley gave UCLA (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) a 34-24 lead not long after Utah's Keith McGill took advantage of Hundley's one mistake by returning an interception 19 yards to tie the game at 24.
"The quarterback was scrambling. I just took a look inside and I saw the ball and seized the opportunity," McGill said.
With the game tied, Hundley followed with a meticulous, 13-play, 48-yard drive — completing a pair of passes to convert third downs, then scrambling for 8 yards to set up the go-ahead field goal.
Then, shortly after Anthony Jefferson's second pick of Wilson on the night, Hundley beat Utah on the quarterback draw. He scooted through the Utah defense despite blurry eyesight after losing a contact lens earlier in the game.
"To be honest, I just saw some black jerseys and I was trying to run away from them," Hundley said.
Utah (3-2, 0-2) made a field goal to pull within seven, then recovered an onside kick. Wilson moved the Utes to the UCLA 23 with less than a minute left, but Jack ended the game with pick No. 6.
"The defense stepped up," said UCLA running back Paul Perkins, who finished with 92 yards on 16 carries. "And the offense knew they were going to do their job."
Moments after the game ended, a snow squall began over Rice-Eccles Stadium, where UCLA has had no luck in the recent past. This snapped a two-game losing streak at Utah that spanned six years and two coaches. More importantly, the Bruins established themselves as the early team to beat in a Pac-12 South division in which every other team has at least one loss and their cross-city rivals, Southern California, has two — along with a new coach.
"They're a good team. Could be the class of the South," Whittingham said. "Time will tell."