"They have a lot of skill," said head coach Kyle Whittingham, who has yet to beat a ranked Pac-12 team since joining the conference. "The quarterback is playing well, the receivers are talented, and they're just a well-rounded football team overall."
Led by Heisman Trophy candidate Brett Hundley, the Bruins are averaging almost 53 points per game, so the Utes know they'll have to be on top of their games defensively.
"Our coverage needs to be a lot tighter," said linebacker Jared Norris. "We need to play more assignment sound football when you're playing a team like UCLA. Because if you make one mistake, they're going to capitalize on it."
The Utes (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12), are coming off a bye week, have won the two previous meetings at home by a combined 75-12 margin - including a 44-6 victory over the 11th-ranked Bruins on Sept. 15, 2007.
They'll try to avoid a second straight home defeat after bouncing back from a 51-48 loss to visiting Oregon State in their Pac-12 opener Sept. 14 with a 20-13 win at BYU a week later.
Quarterback Travis Wilson completed 24 of 35 passes for 273 yards and two touchdowns without an interception following his career-high three picks against the Beavers. The sophomore was named Pac-12 offensive player of the week.
"Travis had another great game," said receiver Dres Anderson, who caught eight passes for a career-high 141 yards. "He got hit a couple times, but he did his thing. Thank goodness he's healthy and we're progressing."
"Throughout the whole off-season, I was really trying to work on the mistakes I had last year," said Wilson. who started in a 21-14 loss to UCLA at the Rose Bowl last season. "I've really just been trying to play with more confidence and not be nervous before games, and I think that's worked out really well for me."
Anderson, the son of former NFL receiver and ex-UCLA star Flipper Anderson, seeks his fourth straight 100-yard receiving effort. He proved to be a difficult matchup for the Bruins last season when he finished with nine catches for 70 yards and a touchdown.
This time, Anderson will have to contend with a UCLA team that ranks 19th in the nation in pass defense - allowing just 177.0 yards per game.
"Dres has been a big plus this year for us and I've been waiting for Dres to step up and put up those kind of numbers for a couple of years now,'' coach Kyle Whittingham said.
James Poole has rushed for 304 yards and a score for the Utes, who rank 16th nationally with 504.8 yards per game and 19th in scoring by averaging 42.0 points.
Despite winning two of the last three meetings, Utah has dropped nine of 11 all-time matchups.
The Utes and Bruins kick off at 8:00 p.m. Thursday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium.