The University of Utah came out strong against USC in a Pac-12 South battle and was within three points of the Trojans — until the fourth quarter.
That's when USC pulled away to ultimately post a 38-28 victory over the Utes.
It's not always how many turnovers a team can create — it's when a team creates them. Thursday night's clash with the Trojans of USC is testament to amassing a consistent attack and staying the course. The Utes come out of the gates firing, with Nate Fakahafua stripping Matt Barkley at the 8-yard line and walking into the end zone to give Utah a 7-0 lead.
On the very next posession, defensive end Star Lotulelei bull-rushed USC's hobbled center, Kahled Holmes, and caused a fumble. Oh yeah, he recovered it as well. A few plays later, John Hayes hit Kenneth Scott on a fade route for an 11-yard touchdown. The play was reviewed and although it looked like the ball may have come loose, the play stood and so did the lead — now 14-0.
But the Trojans didn't get rattled and eventually got some turnovers of their own.
Later, Dallin Rogers was stood up and had the ball knocked loose, potentially giving possesion to the Trojans. He was originally ruled down, but after review the fumble was given to USC, which quickly capitalized by scoring a touchdown to cut into the Ute lead.
After USC scored on an 83-yard touchdown to Marqis Lee to put the Trojans up 31-21 in the fourth quarter, Hayes made a bad read and threw into tight coverage resulting in a pick-six and a 17-point deficit. That was an insurmountable hill to climb.
As is the case in every game, penalties affected both teams. That was demonstrated by both teams having over 100 yards in penalities. Whats kills a drive and can quickly turn the momentum of a game is timing. In the second quarter, the Utes were flagged for a late hit on Barkley that prolonged a drive and resulted in points on the board for USC.
Another thing that will sting was an inelligable receiver-downfield penalty that brought back a 50-plus yard touchdown. Utah went with the wildcat formation running a simple option, but the QB pitched the ball to a receiver for a reverse who then pitched the ball to Hayes, who had lined up as a wide out. He heaved the ball into the end zone, and Scott caught it. The play would be waived off, however, and the Utes would not get any points out of the drive.
Lee, Robert Woods and Silas Redd were just too fast for the Utes. Lee finished with 192 yards and a touchdown, Woods picked up 69 yards and a touchdown and Redd 77 yards on the ground with a touchdown.