Tom Smart
Utah Utes running back Devontae Booker (23) takes a handoff from Utah Utes quarterback Kendal Thompson (1) as the University of Utah plays UCLA in the Rose Bowl during NCAA PAC 12 football action Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014, in Pasadena.

The No. 19 Utah Utes play host to No. 20 USC Saturday night looking to improve to 3-1 in Pac-12 play and jump ahead of the Trojans in the Pac-12 South. Here's a recap of everything leading up to kickoff Saturday that you may have missed:


At the midway mark, Utes off to best start since 2010

At 5-1 overall, 19th-ranked Utah is off to its best start since 2010.

The Utes are just a 28-27 setback to Washington State away from being undefeated at the midway mark of the season.

Utah punter Tom Hackett says Australian wave could be coming to American football (+video)

Players coming from an Australian rules football background to American football could be a reoccurring trend, says Utah Utes punter and native Australian Tom Hackett.

Travis Wilson back in the saddle as Utes' starting quarterback

Unlike a week earlier, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham isnt keeping his starting quarterback a secret for the Utes' upcoming game.

Last week, he said he saw no reason to tip his hand in announcing a starter, and it wasnt certain until the day of the game that Kendal Thompson would be under center.

Whittingham said Monday that Travis Wilson had regained his status as the starter for this weeks game against USC, although he wasnt definitive beyond that.


Utah Utes video: Dirk Facer tells us what to look for as the No. 19 Utes host No. 20 USC

Deseret News Utes beatwriter Dirk Facer answers questions on Devontae Booker's workload, Travis Wilson's return as the team's starting quarterback, as well as how the Utes will stop USC's offensive attack. He also names his midseason MVP for the Utes, as well as the top Pac-12 player at the midway point of the season.

Beast mode: Utah running back Devontae Booker becoming 'The Beast' for Utes

Utah running back Devontae Booker is fast becoming The Beast. After three straight strong showings beauties, if you will, that netted 563 yards rushing over Pac-12 games against Washington State, UCLA and Oregon State the junior is taking on the moniker.

Utah offensive coordinator Dave Christensen, quarterback Travis Wilson confident pass game will improve

Utah offensive coordinator Dave Christensen acknowledges there have been some struggles in the throw game.


Dick Harmon: Utes climb on big stage; Cougars try and rebound (again)

Utahs clash with USC looms large in the Pac-12 South Division. Big enough for some friendly advice and its the same morsel BYU could use in Boise.

Utes optimistic passing game will get going

Through six games, the Utah Utes have completed 92 of 162 passes with nine touchdowns and two interceptions. The throw game has been especially anemic over the past two games, amassing just 100 yards against UCLA and 62 at Oregon State.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said the problem isnt just the quarterbacks, or the receivers making drops, or the offensive line needing to provide better protection.

Doug Robinson: A kick from the land down under

Whats going on here? The University of Utah football team is holding its weekly press conference and Tom Hackett, one of the Ute players, is surrounded by media. For 40 minutes, reporters pepper him with questions. He stays behind after teammates have left to answer more questions, and that includes the new running back sensation, Devontae Booker.


'Utah football notes: Nate Orchard is second in the nation in sacks he wants to be No. 1

Its my senior year and I obviously want to go out with a bang, said Orchard, who ranks second in the nation in total sacks, tackles for loss per game (2.2) and sacks per game (1.7).

Utah enemy camp: 5 questions with a USC beat writer

Utah welcomes USC for a Pac-12 South clash on Saturday night. In preparation for the game, the Deseret News caught up with Michael Lev, who covers the Trojans for the Orange County Register, to get some information on the Utes' next opponent.

No. 20 USC's defense out to reclaim name against Utah

Southern California knows how to stop the run, allowing just 93.2 yards rushing per game in Pac-12 play.


Best friends Norris and Kessler will square off Saturday night in Utah-USC game

Just before USC takes its first offensive snap against Utah Saturday night, Trojan quarterback Cody Kessler will gaze across the line and make eye contact with Utah linebacker Jared Norris. The two will nod at each other, perhaps share a brief smile. But after that?

Its definitely on, says Norris.

Were going to give it everything we have, says Kessler.

Utah football: Whittingham suspends Ofahengaue indefinitely

Utah defensive lineman Moana Ofahengaue has been suspended indefinitely by head coach Kyle Whittingham for an undisclosed violation of team rules.