What happened and what mattered in the Utah’s 41-28 win over USC?
Utah 41, USC 28
Just when it seemed like USC was about to reestablish its dominance over the Pac-12 South with an early 14-0 lead, Utah showed that it’s the star of the division this season.
The defense suffocated the USC offense until deep into the fourth quarter, and the offense exploded for 34 straight points for a commanding lead late. Tyler Huntley went off, completing 22-of-29 throws for 341 yards and four scores – with 33 rushing yards and a touchdown – and Zach Moss ran for 136 yards. But it was the D that took over, keeping JT Daniels to a 6-of-16 day, while stuffing the ground game for just 73 yards and a score.
The USC defense brought the house, but it didn’t matter. The five sacks – Christian Rector had himself a game – didn’t do nearly enough to slow down the avalanche. The Utes finished with 541 yards of total offense to USC’s 205, had the ball for almost 35 minutes, and came up with the performance Ute fans have been waiting years for in a game and situation like this.
It’s a shame the game was overshadowed by Washington State-Oregon in the Pac-12 and Purdue-Ohio State on a national scale. It didn’t help that this was on the Pac-12 Network, but that’s about to change. The Utes will be a big thing after this.
Three of the next four games are on the road, going to UCLA, Arizona State and Colorado, and with Oregon coming to Salt Lake City. There are already two Pac-12 losses, but they’re to the North – Washington and Washington State. There might be room for one loss, but that might only be allowable to the Ducks.
This is hardly a deathblow to USC’s Pac-12 chances. The one other loss in Pac-12 play is to Stanford, and it has home games against Arizona State and Cal to go along with Oregon State and UCLA. In other words, this was a massive moment for Utah, but if it loses once, USC is taking the Pac-12 South.