It was another last second heartbreak for the No. 20 USC Trojans as the No. 19 Utah Utes scored in the waning seconds win the game 24-21.
Travis Wilson found Kaelen Clay in the flat with just eight seconds remaining to score the go-ahead touchdown.
Cody Kessler finished with 264 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Nelson Agholor logged ten catches for 110 yards while JuJu Smith reeled in six catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. Buck Allen carried the ball 27 times for 101 yards.
Wilson led the Utes with 194 yards and the winning touchdown, while Devontae Booker ran for 102 yards and a touchdown.
The game started disastrously for USC as Darreus Rogers dropped a lateral pass from Kessler and Utah picked it up for a 53-yard score after just 33 seconds.
The Trojans responded with a 10-yard touchdown pass to JuJu Smith. Then it was the USC defense coming up with the big play as they forced fumbles on consecutive rushes at the goal line, recovering the second to preserve their record of not allowing an offensive touchdown in the first quarter this season.
Utah kicked a 24-yard field goal in the second quarter to take the lead, but they did not get to enjoy it long. Adoree’ Jackson took the ensuing kick off 100 yards for a touchdown.
Both defenses took center stage in the third quarter punts traded back and forth.
When Utah finally got a drive going thanks to a long punt return from Clay, Jackson provided the spark by stripping his receiver just before the end zone. The electric three-way player picked up the ball in the end zone and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown, but the refs had blown the play dead. Replay ruled that the play was indeed a fumble, but by rule USC could only be awarded possession, not the return.
That proved costly as the Trojan offense stalled and on the next drive Utah found it’s own spark from Booker, who ran home a 24-yard score.
USC opened the fourth quarter with a much needed response to Utah’s lead-taking touchdown, moving down the field with more urgency. Kessler found Rogers in the back of the end zone for the go-ahead score after Allen came out with an injury.
The Trojans generated a defensive stop and were able to run the clock down late into the fourth quarter, but with two minutes remaining Kessler missed a pass for the third down and short conversion. Going for it on fourth down, Agholor appeared to have the conversion but he had stepped out of bound just before the marker.
Utah got the ball back and Wilson engineered a drive forward, running the ball himself to nearly score the go-ahead points. However, it was ruled that his leap for the pylon failed to break the plane of the end zone and the ball was placed at the half yard line.
USC stuffed Booker on his first attempt up the middle with 12 seconds remaining. The Utes found the touchdown on the next play with a pass to Clay in the flat.
It was the Trojans third loss of the season and effectively takes them out of the running for the Pac-12 south title. Utah moves to 6-1 on the season.
Stay tuned to Reign of Troy for more USC vs. Utah score updates and post-game content.