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Jeffrey D. Allred,
Utah Utes running back Zack Moss (2) celebrates his score against the Stanford Cardinal in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017.


The basics


No. 23 UTAH (4-1, 1-1) at No. 13 USC (5-1, 3-1)

Kickoff: SATURDAY, 6 p.m. MT

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (93,607)

Natural grass

TV: ABC

Radio: ESPN 700AM

Series: Trojans lead 10-5

Weather: Sunny with temperatures in the high 70s.


The stakes


For UTAH … As was the case in 2015 when the teams tied for the Pac-12 South title but the Trojans advanced to the conference title game because of a head-to-head win, the Utes may once again need the tiebreaker.

For USC ... The Trojans can take another step forward in meeting preseason expectations as the division favorites, They could improve to 4-1 in Pac-12 play and have no ranked conference foes left on the schedule,


The trends


For UTAH … The Utes won last season’s meeting at Rice-Eccles Stadium, 31-27 — giving them two victories in three years over the Trojans.

For USC ... The Trojans haven’t lost a home game to the Utes since 27-12 decision on Oct. 21, 1916. They’ve prevailed in seven straight since then.


The edge


UTAH will win if ... The Utes are able to fix their offensive and special teams woes that proved costly in last week’s loss to Stanford.

USC will win if ... The Trojans are able to repeat what Stanford did and blank the defensive-minded Utes in sacks and takeaways.


Player to watch


SAM DARNOLD, USC quarterback: The highly-touted redshirt sophomore is considered a Heisman Trophy candidate and a potential No. 1 overall draft pick.


Key matchup


UTAH’S DEFENSE VS. USC’S DARNOLD: The quarterback is due for a breakout game against a quality opponent this season. Will it come against Utah’s restocked secondary?


Quotable


“They are a talented football team, as they are every single year. ”

— Utah coach Kyle Whittingham

"Our hallmark here has been to improve in the month of October and take big leaps.”

— USC coach Clay Helton


Next up


Both teams are in action again on Oct. 14. Utah heads home to face Arizona State, while USC takes a break from Pac-12 play to visit Notre Dame.


Utah schedule


Aug. 31 — NORTH DAKOTA, Won 37-16

Sept. 9 — at BYU, Won 19-13

Sept. 16 — SAN JOSE STATE, Won 54-16

Sept. 22 — at Arizona, Won 30-24

Oct. 7 — STANFORD, Lost 23-20

Oct. 14 — at USC, 6 p.m. (ABC)

Oct. 21 — ARIZONA STATE, 1:30 or 2 p.m. (FOX or FS1)

Oct. 28 — at Oregon, TBD

Nov. 3 — UCLA, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)

Nov. 11 — WASHINGTON STATE, TBD

Nov. 18 — at Washington, TBD

Nov. 25 — COLORADO, TBD

All times Mountain