Utah Utes football: USC leads Utah 24-21 after wild first half

Published: Thursday, Oct. 4 2012 8:51 p.m. MDT

Utah Utes tight end Jake Murphy (82) is upended by USC Trojans safety T.J. McDonald (7) and USC Trojans linebacker Lamar Dawson (55) during Pac-12 football in Salt Lake City Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Fueled by turnovers, Utah got off to a quick start against USC tonight at Rice-Eccles Stadium, but the Trojans came roaring back to take a 24-21 lead at halftime.

It would have been hard to script a better start for the Utes. On just the second play, USC quarterback Matt Barkley recovered an errant snap — only to have the ball ripped away from him by Ute defensive lineman Nate Fakahafua, who then returned it 8 yards for a touchdown.

On USC's next possession, defensive lineman Star Lotulelei recovered another errant snap to give Utah the ball on the Trojan 13-yard line. Two plays later Jon Hays hit Kenneth Scott in the corner of the end zone to put Utah up 14-0 with 12:57 remaining in the first quarter.

USC responded with an eight-play, 75-yard scoring drive that was capped off with a Silas Redd 3-yard touchdown run. The Trojans then added a field goal from Andre Heidari at the 12:53 mark of the second quarter to cut the definict to 14-10.

The Utes then responded with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Hays to DeVonte Christopher at the 8:54 mark. The scoring drive covered 81 yards in just eight plays.

The next score came with USC tight end Randall Telfer making a spectacular one-handed grab in the end zone at the 7:54 mark. The touchdown cut Utah's lead to just four points, 21-17.

USC ended the first-half scoring with a 6-yard pass from Barkley to Robert Woods to give the Trojans the lead, 24-21, entering the half.

USC finished the half with 190 yards of total offense to Utah's 188.

Email: bgurney@desnews.com

Twitter: @BrandonCGurney

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