It’s a key PAC-12 showdown Saturday night in Salt Lake City when No. 7 USC (6-0) faces No. 20 Utah (4-2).
USC is coming off a solid performance in a 30-14 win over Washington State at The Coliseum and hasn’t been challenged that much this season except for a close one at Oregon State. Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams has been sensational.
Last week Utah was clipped by UCLA, 42-32. Utah also lost its opener to Florida, 29-26. The Utes are defending PAC-12 champs. This is an important game for both teams. Another Utah loss could knock them out of a real chance to defend their title. USC wants to continue its momentum.
Williams has thrown for 14 touchdowns and has just been magic for USC. Trojans wide receiver Jordan Addison is averaging more than 15 yards a catch and has six touchdowns. Travis Dye leads USC with 571 yards on the ground.
You know Utah, they like to run the ball. Quarterback Cameron Rising has been around forever. He’s passed for 1,440 yards while Tavion Thomas leads a strong running back group with 386 yards and five touchdowns.
USC leads the overall series 13-7, while Utah has won three of the last five games played in Salt Lake City.
How To Watch
Kickoff: 5 p.m. local time.
Screens: This is a FOX primetime game for the country. So this game will be on FOX TV and the FOX Sports app.
Announcers: It will be Jason Benetti doing the play-by-play, former Washington star quarterback Brock Huard as the color man and Allison Williams the sideline reporter.
What Do The Oddsmakers Say?
Despite coming in undefeated and ranked higher, USC is 3.5-point underdogs to the Utes. FanDuel has the Over/Under figure set at 64.5, while Caesars has it at 65. Williams has made a huge jump in the Heisman race according to the sportsbooks. He’s +800 to win the Heisman at Caesars, only behind Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud. USC is still +400 to make the College Football Playoff.
Key Numbers – Spread Talking
Both teams have been favored it every game it has played this season – up to now. Utah is 4-2 against the spread, same for USC. Games between these two teams are usually one-sided one way or the other.
Since Utah joined the conference in 2011, the two teams have played 11 times, 8 times the winning margin has been more than a touchdown.
Key Numbers – Talking It Over
Both teams are 3-3 against the over/under total. If you’re looking at 65 points, two games for Utah this year have gone over that figure. Three USC games. In those last 11 meetings, four times these two teams have combined for over 65 points.
Last Five Meetings
With USC dropping off the last few years nationally and in the PAC-12, Utah has filled the void. The two schools have played some memorable games.
Oct. 9, 2021 – Utah 42, USC 26: The Trojans were in total disarray at this point last season. Interim coach Donte Williams was in charge. Rising threw three touchdowns and ran for a score. It was the Trojan’s third straight loss at home, and it wasn’t as close as the final score as USC scored two late touchdowns.
Nov. 21, 2020 – USC 33, Utah 17: This was COVID football season and Utah’s first game of the year. The Utes committed five turnovers in Salt Lake City and USC quarterback Kedon Slovis threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns.
Sept. 20, 2019 – USC 30, Utah 23: The Matt Fink Game. Fink, the Trojan’s third-string quarterback, came in on the game’s third play when Slovis got rocked. He kept throwing the ball to Michael Pittman Jr. and it worked. Pittman had 10 catches for 232 yards and a score. Fink was a hero.
Oct. 20, 2018 – Utah 41, USC 28: The Trojans jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead, but the defense fell apart. Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley threw for a career high 341 yards and four touchdowns and the Utes defense held USC to 205 total yards. JT Daniels was limited to 89 yards through the air.
Oct. 14, 2017 – USC 28, Utah 27: One of the best games of the series came down to a two-point try by the Utes with 42 seconds left. USC defensive back Ajene Harris tripped up scrambling Utah quarterback Troy Williams (he probably wouldn’t have scored anyway) and USC recovered the onside kick. Trojans QB Sam Darnold passed for 357 yards and three touchdowns.
Supposed to be a perfect night for football in Salt Lake City Saturday with temperatures right at 70 degrees for kickoff and a slight wind.
The Key Match-Up
Its funny to see Utah as the favorite when USC has played so well halfway through the season, but the Utes may have USC right where they want them. Utah likes to take control of the game and the clock by running the football. The Utes average 201.5 yards per game on the ground (Rising is also a threat to run), and that could be the Trojans weak spot on defense. The Trojans have allowed over 150 yards a game.
If Utah can run the ball and keep Williams and the Trojans offense off the field, it’ll be a good night for Utah.