Brad Rock: Heart wasn't the Utes' problem, it was their heads

Published: Friday, Oct. 5 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

In its place were the new and improved Utes. It started on the first possession when Nate Fakahafua swarmed in, stripped the ball from USC quarterback Matt Barkley, and scored. Next possession, USC bungled the snap. That time Utah's Star Lotulelei moved heaven and earth — not to mention most of the USC offensive line — to recover the ball. Soon after Utah was in the end zone on a pass to Kenneth Scott for the two-touchdown lead.

But when you're playing the Trojans, you don't get backsies. The Trojans finally took the lead, 24-21, near the end of the half, thanks to a Utah fumble. On the final possession of the half, two things became apparent. First, Utah offensive coordinator Brian Johnson has more than just a rudimentary approach. He ordered a double-reverse pass, which produced a 44-yard touchdown. But it was called back due to an ineligible receiver. That was compounded when Coleman Peterson's 47-yard field goal try was deflected.

The scoring didn't change until Barkley hooked up with Marquise Lee on an 83-yard score in the fourth quarter, followed shortly by a 38-yard pick six. Utah managed a respectability touchdown to end the scoring.

The good news for the Utes is that they have some heart. They didn't concede early. The bad news: They still have no offense. Also, 122 yards in penalties — one that cost them a touchdown — added up. USC had problems of its own, not the least being fumbles. Utah had three of its own, plus an interception.

Thus, Utah's biggest problems weren't in the heart, but the head.

email: rock@desnews.com

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