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

Published: Thursday, July 2 2015 6:04 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) 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.

Utah Utes warm up prior to Pac-12 football with USC in Salt Lake City  Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012.  (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Utah Utes warm up prior to Pac-12 football with USC in Salt Lake City Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

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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