In a shocking turn of events, Utah jumped to a quick 14-0 lead in the first two minutes of the game, as USC had back to back turnovers on their first two possessions. On USC’s very first play of the game, QB Matt Barkley was caught off guard by Utah’s incredible defensive line, anchored by DT Star Lotulelei, and he fumbled the ball. Utah recovered it and ran back the 10 yards to score, putting Utah on top in 47 seconds. Then on USC’s next drive, C Khaled Holmes snapped the ball right into the ground, which again was recovered by Utah. John Hays connected with Kenneth Scott for the Utes’ second TD and the Trojans found themselves in a hole. DT Star Lotulelei has lived up to his namesake, smothering the USC offense and requiring at least two bodies on him at all times.
However, USC responded accordingly and on their third drive, settled down and methodically moving the ball. 75 yards and eight plays later, they added a touchdown of their own when Silas Redd carried it into the endzone from three yards out.
USC’s defense has been on it as expected, getting pressure on Utah’s receivers as well as QB John Hays, and preventing them from further damage. Safeties Jawanza Starling and T.J. McDonald both came up with stripped balls and laid some big hits on Utah receivers. Likely, this game will be a defensive slugfest as it seems USC’s offense is playing with a short memory and will indeed make it a game.
It was a quarter marred by Trojan mistakes that the Utes easily capitalized on, so it will be interesting to see how USC continues to respond to what Utah throws at them now that the Trojans are working on establishing a rhythm of their own.